Monday, March 12, 2012

Rediscovering lost opportunities

Awake is a new TV drama. A husband, wife, and son are involved in a fatal traffic accident. The husband survives. But when he comes out of a coma, he finds himself shifting between alternate realities. In one reality his wife survived, but his son died–while in the other reality, his son survived, but his wife died. At the same time, when he discovers in one reality is a clue to the other reality, and vice versa. He isn’t sure which one is real–assuming either one is real.

In one alternate reality, the psychiatrist tries to talk him out of his illusion. The psychiatrist says this is a dangerous state to be in. he’s on the brink of losing his mind. But, understandably, the man would rather cling to his illusion (if that’s what it is)  than have to choose between his wife and son. The “illusion” is better than the real world–assuming there’s a difference.

This raises interesting questions. Atheists think the Christian worldview is illusory while Christians think the atheist worldview is illusory. Yet they’re not symmetrical.

Suppose (arguendo) atheism is true? But suppose the illusion is better than reality?

Take one of those Matrix-like scenarios where a man in the “real world” lost everyone and everything he cares about. Lost all the things that make his life worthwhile. Suppose he’s offered a chance to trade “real life” for an illusion in which he’s reunited with everyone and everything he ever cared about. If you were in that situation, which would you choose? Would you choose a life of unremitting misery, or would you disappear into the illusion? Enter the illusory world and slam the door the real world you left behind?

Atheists say Christians should face facts. Yet that reflects a residual idealism which is a relict of the Christian worldview. Atheism has no leverage.

I’m not saying that’s a reason to be a Christian. Rather, that’s a reason not to be an atheist.

Of course, I absolutely think Christianity is true–which brings me to the second question raised by the TV drama. The drama reflects the frustration of life in a fallen world. Where we’re sometimes forced to choose between two or more things we equally need or want.

But Scripture has a restoration motiff, as well as a reversal-of-fortunes motif. What if, among other things, heaven is a place where lost opportunities come true? What if that’s where we find the opportunities we thought we lost in this life?

In this life we can’t go back and do it over. But what if we can do it over by going forward?

There are Christians in this life who lead very disappointing lives. In this life they never get what they long for or hope for. Indeed, that’s a running theme in Hebrews 11.

Some people in this life tell you they wouldn’t change a thing. But others seem as if they need to run through the entire lifecycle to find out what’s worth repeating, and when to take the road not taken. But by then it’s too late. Life is linear. You can’t circle back.

One of the frustrations of a timebound existence is that you gain insight through hindsight, yet hindsight isn’t nearly as useful as foresight. Like walking backwards into the future.

But for Christians, suppose this world’s lost opportunities are the next world’s newfound opportunities? Mind you, sometimes the road not taken was best not taken. It’s good to put some things behind us and never look back. Consider Lot’s wife!

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciated this post. Asks a great question. Thanks, Steve. :-)