Is Heaven All There Really Is?

A post at Parchment and Pen about “Why Nathan Left Christianity” has got me thinking.  http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/09/why-nathan-left-christianity/

My downtrodden perspective radically changed when I realized that this may be the only life I will ever have. I realized that when you die, you really are dead! Life on earth is all I will ever get. Through this perspective, I was no longer suicidal. I wanted to live, and experience this life for whatever its worth. Then and here, I truly shed my faith once and for all (an act I was never truly able to do before).

You know there’s something seriously wrong with your message when it makes people feel suicidal.  I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the idea that you often hear reverberating through church walls, “The only reason we are on this earth is to tell people about Heaven,”  and so much the more when I read things like that.  What is it that gives our afterlives so much more dignity than the life we are in now?

We need to realize that if everyone were a traveling evangelist, we wouldn’t have modern medicine or technology.  What good is technology, you say?  Well, it helps us reach the world.  It helps us communicate back home from “the field”.  It helps us save peoples’ lives.  If all we were meant for were heaven, we wouldn’t have a world universe full of scientific discoveries awaiting us, or ways of expressing ourselves through art, or choices between ultimate good and ultimate evil. In Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t so much “tell people how to get to heaven when they die,” He told them how to live their lives here, and eternal life would come afterward. He met peoples’ needs.

Is the message important?  Absolutely.  But living life is important, too.  Showing “the gospel message” through our actions, not just in words.  We need to be an example of how to live a balanced life, able to enjoy and “suck the marrow” out of every day living, but without falling into the trappings of this world.  I think if Nathan had been taught to live life to its fullest inside the bounds of his faith, he wouldn’t have looked to leave that faith.

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Wall-E: It’s not about the message!

Wall-E.  It’s one of those movies where you can really say either you love it or you hate it.

I loved it.  I have yet to actually meet a person who agrees with me.

Yes, it’s subtle.  There’s not a lot of dialog in the first part of the movie, and yes, Wall-E himself is not a big talker.  Neither am I, maybe that’s why I’m not turned off by that?  Who says that there has to be a lot of dialog in the movies?  The people at Pixar made up for it by making Wall-E and EVE so interesting and expressive.  If you pay attention to the details in the movie, you will have more than enough information to figure out what’s going on, and maybe that’s the problem: as movie-goers, we have gotten used to being force-fed and have lost the ability to pay attention and really understand a movie.

I have to admit, maybe my favorable opinion is colored by the fact that I was in total awe of the talent of the CG animators.  This was the best-looking CG movie I have ever seen.  I was in awe of the music, too… Very simple and beautiful.

Here’s another thing: it’s not about the environment!  Liberals love the movie and conservatives hate the movie  because of some kind of perceived “message”.  What is the message?  Don’t cover your planet with junk?  Any idiot knows that.  It’s not a “message”, it’s a plot element.  Did anybody pick up on the fact that technology made people more like robots, and meanwhile, robots had gotten more like humans?  And that Wall-E was an instrument to bring about a reversal to that?  Did you notice where that change started happening?  I haven’t heard anybody talking about this.