His life could be better, if he took the time to actually focus on it. Unfortunately he was too busy to prioritize his health. He had high blood pressure and cholesterol but did not exercise or watch his diet as he should. He battled anxiety and took medication every day to keep it in check. I recommended counseling and he agreed that it would be helpful but did not see how he could fit it into his schedule.
I wondered if he had people in his life who could encourage him and help him with his priorities so I asked him about other sources of emotional and spiritual support, if he had any faith or was a member of any church. He told me he had been raised Catholic but had left the church many years before in the wake of a scandal involving one of the parish priests. He didn't have much use for faith any more and didn't give God much thought. He was too busy going through life, doing his job, raising his children and supporting his family.
He told me that he went through life with blinders on. He figured that he was a pretty good person, that he was doing his best and that he was therefore confident that he would be okay with God, if there was one, when the time came. He didn't believe in an afterlife but thought if there was one it would be good to see bad people get what they deserved.
As he spoke I realized his words embodied the majority of American’s religious thinking. His theology was completely his own, an individualized belief based on personal opinion and unfounded hope. He had never tested his opinions or explored his beliefs. His worldview was convenient, comfortable and superficial. It could not withstand even superficial scrutiny, which did not matter because he never allowed it to be scrutinized. It was what he chose to believe and no one had the right to challenge it.
I tried to encourage him to think a little more deeply about life by sharing with him the observations of Ravi Zacharias, a leader in Christian thought and apologetics. Ravi says that for any worldview to be valid it must answer the four great questions of life, the questions of Origin, Meaning, Morality and Destiny.
Origin- Where did we come from? What is the source of matter, energy and life?
Meaning- Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? What are the goals of existence?
Morality- How do we define good and evil? Why does evil exist and where does it come from?
Destiny- What happens to us when we die?
I should not have been surprised that these questions had no impact on him. It is a lot easier to go through life pretending there are no questions than it is to search for answers. The problem he will face is that these questions do have answers, truths that exist independent of his interest or belief, truths for which all men, including him, will one day have to the give account.
His refusal to address his physical issues may result in serious harm later in life. His refusal to address spiritual issues will impact him in the life to come.
Someday, the blinders will come off.
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