You Can Survive Almost Any How If You Have a Why
Yesterday’s episode of The Walking Dead entitled Self Help nicely illustrated the work of Victor Frankl. We learn Abraham’s backstory and what created his bond with Eugene. It illustrates what Frankl learned in the Nazi death camps. You can find a how to survive if you have a why.
I’m also rereading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy and am up to the section on treasures.
Everyone has treasures. This is an essential part of what it is to be human. To have nothing that one treasures is to be in a nonhuman condition, and nothing degrades people more than to scorn or destroy or deprive them of their treasures.
Willard, Dallas (2009-02-06). The Divine Conspiracy (p. 203). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
One’s treasure of course may be material or immaterial. If it is material or even immaterial but connected with something material (like Abraham’s faith in Eugene) it is vulnerable to the age of decay. If one loses their treasure they will lose their life.
To Be Human
This of course accounts for the strangest behaviors not associated with any other in the animal kingdom.
In The Matrix Mr. Smith tells Morpheus that unlike every other mammal we don’t find equilibrium with our natural environment. Why not? Because we have treasures and our drive for these treasures pushes us to out-multiply or out-produce beyond what our ecological environment can handle.
Human beings commit suicide. We want to dismiss suicide as merely a medical dysfunction, which often it is, but the drive to kill ourselves over relational matters between us is not different from the drive to kill each other over other relational matters. Will we find another medical diagnosis for our capacity to murder? Murder and self-murder are not further from each other as we imagine. They can both often be accounted to treasures.
Why Religion Will Not Pass Away
Given the ferocity and ubiquity of the age of decay humanity will always have the need to off-shore our “treasures” in the age of decay. This seems most obvious and the most critical flaw of the atheist, materialist worldview. While atheists will continue to try to find treasures in a more Platonic fashion in virtues of beauty, goodness and truth they will again and again be shown to be weak competitors in the offshore, worldview competition. The weakness in that competition will have its ramifications in the competition between the human communities that support competing worldviews and this competitive liability will repeatedly be evidenced as a liability.
Probably the single most defeating point of hubris in the atheist, materialist scheme is the asserting that NOW is the moment that we have evolved beyond the need for religion. Religion’s competitive advantage, clearly displayed throughout human history has run its course so that TODAY belief in no God will outshine belief in a god or the gods or an enchanted universe where we don’t simply pass away. This is of course a bitter irony since in their worldview it is not the truest that survive but rather the best competitor.
Pity the atheist who can’t locate their treasure beyond the people they love or the things they want or the ideas they can conceive. They will always be subject to despair and their best hope always cold and dark.