Are we so sure tomorrow exists?

11 Mar

Last week a friend shared this link to a recent twist on a classic moral conundrum after I posted a few times about Christians’ need to commit to and defend moral realism. I’ve talked it over with a few people and ultimately I think two of the strongest Christian ethics are mutually exclusive in this artificial scenario. Motivated by love and the value of all humans we should protect human life actively and also do no harm. Any scenario that means abandoning one of those values to pursue the other is ultimately going to leave the protagonist haunted in real life – and I think that’s the answer: there is not answer. Choose and may God have mercy on all of us. (I may be missing something here, but for now I’m satisfied with my conclusion).

Related to this, I couldn’t help tweaking the scenario in my own mind. My imagination supplied me with a vivid cliff scene where I was holding someone up who had fallen over and then I saw my 1 year old daughter walking to the edge. I teared up imagining her small body falling over, even imagining myself diving over just to comfort her while we fell…I’m tearing up now just writing this! I don’t know why my mind went there, and again there is no good solution, but reflecting on this has reminded me of two things that often become cliché over time but which are of vital importance for the believer:

1)      We are not in control of our time and it IS limited.

While we are allowed (even called) to enjoy our lives here on Earth, Jesus reminds us to build with sturdy materials and to cultivate treasure in heaven. For me I survey my life and wonder if I’m doing that, I wonder if there’s room for more. Obviously since none of us are our risen Lord we’ll fail at this and there will always be areas of improvement. I still think this concept is repeated so often for a reason: we ought to be mindful. If we got a receipt each day for our time like we get for purchases, would we be able to show it to other people – much less God?

2)      This is also true of our friends who don’t recognize Jesus

We are not Platonists: the spiritual isn’t the ultimate good while the material is the source of evil. However, we also acknowledge that we are not mere mortals and that our fates are eternal. This blog exists to help you learn how to more effectively engage people in conversations about Jesus. Part of my strategy is not overwhelming them and not pushing them to the point of exhaustion. I still believe these things are important, but I also know that it is vital to communicate the truth wholly and frequently. Part of our time receipt from the point above should show us loving our friends and family who don’t know Jesus by trying to introduce them to Him.

These two points have become almost like air for me – so commonplace that I don’t know they’re there. The Lord used the idea of the moral dilemma to reawaken me to the fleeting nature of our time here and the critical importance of knowing Him during that time. In some situations the correct choice is difficult to discern (and may not even exist!) but in this situation, the choice is clear: Love God fully and love people well, in part by sharing the Good News of Jesus with them.

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3 Responses to “Are we so sure tomorrow exists?”

  1. kstedman March 11, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Makes me think of three things:

    1) The 2nd and 3rd Star Trek movies are essentially obsessed with a similar question, #2 suggesting that one person’s death is okay when it saves many others, and #3 suggesting that there’s still something wonderful about many people risking their lives for a single person.

    2) Ursula K. Le Guin’s most famous short story touches on the question of if we would want to live in a perfect society whose existence relies on the suffering of a single person: http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt.

    3) The last chapter of Derrick Bell’s book Faces at the Bottom of the Well explores the possibility that aliens come to Earth and promise all sorts of technological and medical advances as long as the U.S. gives them all of its black citizens to take away forever. He suggests that if this actually were proposed, we would actually make the trade.

    I know, I know: these are all kind of random. But I’m a random sort of fellow.

    • stevewimmer March 11, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      hahaha – ok, well thanks for that. =) at the very least I’ll check out the short story!

  2. amphomma March 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    God reminds me of ideas in clusters. Right now, the reminders are about living more for the “not yet” instead of the “now”. It’s a fine balance, to be obedient and faithful in what’s in front of us, but remembering that this isn’t all there is.

    As for one person suffering so another does not, I believe the only cut and dry example is that of our Savior Jesus taking our place so we could have eternity with our Father God!

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