I had a conversation recently that brought me back to thinking about those first few moments when I first accepted that I had been wrong about God all along. I remember those were some pretty scary thoughts. My whole life, I had always thought that God was watching over me, protecting me. I'm not saying that I felt invincible. But, I really did think that there was a God that had a plan for my life. And, that made me feel safe.
If you don't want to be spoiled about the movie, Crash, feel free to skip over this paragraph. But, I'd like to use an important scene from it to explain a point. Since, it's been out for several years, I feel comfortable talking about the movie. In the movie, there's a little girl who's afraid when her dad leaves for work. Her dad wants her to be brave and strong. He, then, takes off an invisible cloak from his back and wraps her in it. He tells her that this cloak will keep her safe. Near the end of the movie a man pulls a gun on this little girl's dad. The girl, realizing that her dad isn't wearing the cloak, runs in between the gun and her father. When I saw this, it felt as though my heart froze. It's almost a silly thing for little girls to believe in things like invisible cloaks. But, in this moment, that belief made her think she could stop a bullet. Since the writers of the movie aren't cruel people, the gun misfires, and everything turns out ok. But, I realized, the moment that I no longer believed in God, I was the little girl. I had been believing in an invisible cloak. And, all these times that I thought that God's cloak would keep me safe. I, very easily, could have been killed.
The first few days that I lost my belief, I pictured myself waking up on a plane and realizing that there's no pilot Think about it, we're on this rock flying through space at millions of miles an hour. What's to keep us from simply slamming into something? I mean it didn't work out to well for the dinosaurs. Or, could we blow ourselves up with nuclear warfare? Could we kill ourselves off in other ways, damage to the environment ... disease?
I also felt small ... insignificant. Space is big. Compared to space, the earth is just a microscopic dust particle. And, I'm just a little piece of organic matter that happens to be growing on it, not much different than moss, really. If were all so small and insignificant, how do our lives even matter? And, who does it matter to? Scientists say that In a couple billion years the sun will become a red dwarf and engulf the earth. If we're not off this rock by then, every piece of evidence of our existence will be gone. Sure, maybe voyager will be picked up by some alien race somewhere. But, even if that happened, would they even care. We'd just be another extinct species.
So, if our purpose isn't to impress some eternal God. Why are we here? At some point in the future even our universe will fade into nothingness. I'm not saying I was ever really depressed by all this. But I did think about it for a long time. After a year of these kinds of thoughts, I realized that my purpose has never really changed. It's the same now as it was before. I live my life on the day to day basis by taking care of those around me, and sharing my life with family and friends. When I die, the sum total of my life will be the impact I had on those around me. Was I a good person? Was I bad? Others can decide for themselves. But, that's all any of us really have. Christians think that because they believe that there's a higher power that has designed some life for them, that their lives have more meaning. But, it's a make believe pretend purpose. The purpose I have for myself has a solid quantifiable effect, and I think that that's better because I know it's real.