Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why Deal with the "Big" Questions?

In the video I posted a link to yesterday, I was intrigued by one of the questions asked by a student during the Q&A time following the professors' presentations. 

Paraphrased, the question basically boiled down to: why should we as students deal with these big questions now?   Can't we just wait until we are settled down, working, married, raising children, etc.?

I actually was a bit disturbed by the profs' answer which basically boiled down to: you don't know when you are going to die.  Better get this stuff handled now.

While essentially their statement is true--we do not know how much time we indeed have on this earth, I personally would handle the question in a much different manner.  For the driving motive to then think on such matters revolves around fear.  Get this thinking done, or you might be gone tomorrow!  I'm not one who likes to use fear as the proper motivation.

To begin with, I would have gone after a major assumption made by the young woman--that she would eventually get "settled" into a job and family and suddenly find time to think about such matters.  This is a major, major assumption--one that I believe is a fallacy.  I do not know too many people who find much time once they begin careers and have children. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case.  Once a person graduates from college and begins working and then starts a family, time shrinks.  Work demands anywhere from 40-70 hours from a person per week.  Children suck down much of the rest of that time.  The desire to get away for any sort of down time means traveling on weekend getaways.  Of course, as children grow, then comes school, homework, extra-curricular activities, weekend sports, etc.  And after the kids move out, then comes time to volunteer at the things one is passionate about.  Then comes retirement, and if the indications I get from most retired folks, they are actually more busy after they retire than when they were working!  Time has a way of slipping away from us.

So, given that you may never find yourself "settled down", when is it time to think about the deep questions of life: why am I here?   What is my purpose?  Why do good?  What do I do when I cannot find answers?  What is the meaning of all of this?  What am I willing to give up to be successful?

Is being busy just a way of avoiding such questions?

I have heard at least one person say they had no desire to examine these questions.  This person was quite content to live an unexamined life.  But I don't sense this to be the case for many others.  There seems to be a general hunger for purpose, meaning, and authenticity at least in the U.S.  And from what I have read and seen, people are having a horrid time discovering such things.

And I wonder if it's because they are too busy?  I wonder if it's because there is tremendous pressure put on us to be moving, working, playing, shopping, engaged, connected, online, social networking, and what have you?  I wonder if we have lost our ability to contemplate and think, lured by a false sense of identity found through cyberspace and technology?

I do not believe one finds meaning, purpose, and authenticity in the cyber-world.  Nor do I believe it is found in staying busy.  Or work.  Or flying around from activity to activity.  Or in having fun and partying.  I believe it is found in allowing life's big questions to drive one to the ultimate source of reality--and I believe that ultimate source is the creator God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps one reason people fear those big questions is that eventually they are forced to deal with Jesus, and He's unsettling.  He makes you confront your shortcomings, but He also gives you strength, purpose, meaning, and authenticity.  If you want to wait until you have time to finally discover such things, then be my guest; however, if you want those things now and the fulfillment they bring now, don't wait.  Take time to deal with the big questions. 

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