I was watching a TV show a few weeks ago on a regular broadcast network. In the show’s episode, one of the story arcs is that a character discovers he no longer has to worry about things being broken or dangers out there. He no longer has to worry about this because he has discovered Buddhism, and its attendant philosophies. He says (paraphrased), “I don’t have to worry about this cup, because to me, it’s already broken.” The idea is that since everything is already subject to entropy (in its final form of nothingness), you might as well regard any particular object, thing, or person as being in that state, so that you do not despair that final state.
There’s something seriously wrong with that philosophy: it’s irrational. In a way (and to a certain extent), it embraces the ideas of Nietzsche—that there is no ultimate state, that things ultimately just die (there are, of course, notable and major differences). But while Nietzsche (or other existentialists) conclude that the only real question is whether or not to kill yourself when facing this bleak reality, this philosophy says just create your own meaning and treat it as though it were objective. More precisely, it is this idea: there is no ultimate redemption and everything dies, but treat this as though it is a good thing. It’s absolutely baffling. This pretending does nothing but show us we can be immediately happy, even in long-term frustration and death.
This immediate happiness is illusory, however. While we may be happy for a time, we cannot ever really shake the feeling and knowledge that what we have will amount to ruin. Even the accolades some of us may receive after death will only last so long, and only mean so much to so many people. At the end, at bottom, without God, we know there is no ultimate meaning. Like those who engage in risky behaviors shouting, “YOLO!,” so too the Buddhist will want to shrug off this truth and say, “But we should enjoy life anyway.” Why? There is no Purpose to enjoy; there are only purposes we pursue to fulfill our fleeting desires. And when those desires are met—then what? Then we die: a vaporous steam of existence against the vast cosmic expanse of space and time. And it matters not if you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy your time.
Yet at the same time, we recognize that the above paragraph cannot be lived out. It is fundamentally absurd. We recognize that there is such a thing as Purpose. It is one part of the reason we pursue our own individual purposes: our individual powers to purpose and will and to do were given to us to help fulfill objective Purpose. There is something strangely innate to human behavior and psychology concerning Purpose, and how our purposes, when used rightly, contribute to Purpose. That Purpose is best fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If that is so, then it follows that there is Purpose, and an objective reality in which all of the purposes of the world are to be grounded. That objective reality is God. He is a person (tri-personal in fact), and he is a being. He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; he is the great three-in-one. He revealed his image in the person of Jesus Christ, who was sent down to this earth to live a sinless life, pay for sins by dying on the cross, and was raised to life again. His Purpose was the story of redemption. Those who take part in this story are the only ones who take a positive role in using their purposes to fulfill objective Purpose. What will you do with this? It’s not enough to intellectually believe these facts about the Gospel message. Nor is it enough to add the will to be saved from your sins to eternal life. To these, you must add the trust in God for this salvation. What will you do with Jesus?