Would We Need the Bible if We Could Just Be and Not Be?

October 4, 2010

I don’t understand why so many people remain “friends” with their exes. Even if that person is a good person what, exactly, is the value of the friendship?

Five years after my wedding (anniversary is Oct. 9, cheers!) and halfway through the Bible and I think I’ve figured it out why I have no desire to hold onto those who scooted through and ran out of my dating favor. I live my life according to David’s son, the Philosopher, an influential and often morbidly pessimistic man who doesn’t allow for clinging to what was and grasping for what may be. He’s the closet the thing the Bible has to a Buddhist and he’s second only to Job in my heart.

The Philosopher is a bit grim. The heading, “Life is Useless,” tips off his musings on the complete meaninglessness of life and our miserable fate as human beings, but when his edge is removed, he and I are completely on par.

The Philosopher talks about four basics ideas that I would say, set the foundation for how I live my life:

1. “Everything that happens was determined long ago.”

2. There is no way for us to know what happens to us after we die.

3. The same fate comes to both good and bad.

4. All we can really do while we’re alive is do the best we can and be happy.

The Philosopher takes this to mean that God has laid a miserable fate on us but, for the first time in my life, I’m going to push back with optimism and suggest something is allowing each and every one of us to experiment, play and experience for a finite amount of time. This is a gift.

I try to live in the moment. It’s a struggle. I imagine it always will be. But I believe I am much more capable than most of finding peace in life because I also find peace in death. Incidentally, I do not believe in heaven and hell or God or Satan as defined by the Bible. My belief is linear. I am here now, I’ll be here as long as I’m supposed to be, I’ll be as good as I can while I’m here, I’ll be as happy as I can while I’m here and then I’ll die. Done.

If more people adhered to this idea — and it is not a negative one, hence my commitment to enjoy life —would organized religion start to fall apart? If humans were less concerned about where they came from, what they’re meant “to do” and what will happen when they cease to exist in the frame in which they recognize existence, would they spend as much time reading the Bible? Looking to a higher being for guidance and assurance of things they can’t control? Really, I’m curious. I’m enjoying this read and the Bible provides a lot of good insight into human nature, but it’s really hard for me to hold onto the greater thing — in this case, God — when the thing itself is right in front of me, soon to be behind.

Why, if a relationship has run its course, does either party hold on to it? Some of my friends say it’s because they don’t feel any resentment toward their ex. Others say it’s because they like the person. But what is the point of putting effort behind something no longer relevant? Why hold onto things that used to be or place hope in something intangible that may never be, such as an afterlife?

I love this quote from The Philosopher:

“This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.”

Stopping Point: The Book of Isaiah


5 Responses to “Would We Need the Bible if We Could Just Be and Not Be?”

  1. aforcier said

    just to say hello.it was a good read.

    as to reading the bible… i prefer to hear what people have to say today. we are the examples that matter.

    long ago did not determined an unalterable present. unless we let it be so. (not being religious… you do not follow, you pre-determine.)

    it is more fun to be optimists.


  2. Mike Cope said

    I like how you picked up on this “joy-in-the-moment” theme of Ecclesiastes (2:24-26; 3:12-14; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-9). I’ve been wondering what you’d think of this book and am not surprised you connected with it (as do I).

    I’m enjoying your reflections. Keep em coming.

  3. […] to be grateful for what I have.” Etc. I also believe in something greater than myself, embrace my own mortality and am fascinated by the spiritual world, but that’s only because I have Irish […]

  4. […] God expects his people to patiently wait for the end of the world. We don’t hear from the people, but we hear from the prophets who swing between Dr. M and The Dude. None of them are in the middle. None of them are “just waiting.” They’re either freaking out (type A) or calmly relaying God’s message (pixie). If the prophets can’t balance Dr. M and The Dude, how am I supposed to? Just wait? […]

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