On Manilow and Myths

The second moment came when a member of the audience asked how she, a homeschool mum struggling with depression, could be satisfied.  I answered that the Bible (and Augustine) indicate that life is tragic, a struggle in a fallen world, marked by moments of satisfaction but much frustration.  Sometimes life is just miserable, I said, but the hope of the resurrection will make all things right.

My interlocutor then answered that Russell would give a much more sensitive answer, that he would have stressed the value of what the lady was doing and that, in twenty years time she might well be satisfied when she sees what she has achieved.  He thus earned one of the few spontaneous rounds of applause of the night.

This answer went to the heart of the problem which the evening highlighted: my interlocutor had spent much time deriding Christianity as providing a fairy story to make life bearable through its metaphysical myths, its ‘pie in the sky when you die.’  Yet here he was, providing just such a fairy story.  The audience member may not live twenty years. She might be hit by a bus today or die of a heart attack or cancer next year.   She might live to a ripe old age but see her children grow up to be massive disappointments or to predecease her.  Why is ‘pie in twenty years’ time on earth’ more plausible than the heavenly variety when it comes to satisfaction today?

via On Manilow and Myths – Reformation21 Blog.


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