“What is the object of this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must have a purpose or the universe has no meaning and that is unthinkable. But what purpose? That is humanity’s great problem to which reason so far has no answer.”
– Sherlock Holmes in The Cardboard Box
I’ve been meaning to make a post about this quote for some time, but never, until now, have I felt just quite brave enough to give it a whirl.
Here, in this quote, Sherlock Holmes asks the question that every person in their right mind has been asking since the dawn of time, and will go on asking, no doubt, until the end of time – what is the meaning of this seemingly meaningless life?
The first time I read The Cardboard Box I was either 14 or 15, I am not quite sure. I remember clearly enough how very disturbed I was by the whole story. The story is a rather macabre one, really – the two severed ears of the victims being sent, by the murderer, to the woman he blames for causing the trouble that ended in the killing of his wife and her lover. And then the quote at the end, where Sherlock Holmes, one feels almost speaking directly from the mouth of his creator, questions the meaning of life. I remember I felt very gloomy after reading it, and endeavored, by trying not to think about it or watch or listen to any of its adaptations, to forget about the story entirely. But I found that was not possible. It seemed to me no matter where I went in the Sherlock Holmes’ fandom that quote was not far behind. I could not escape it, and I wondered why. Then it occurred to me – they all sympathized with it, with those ever nagging questions of “why are we here?” and “what is it all for?” But why didn’t I sympathize with it? Well, that caused me to think quite a bit. But then, after a time, I realized the answer had been right under my nose the entire time. Because I know the answer. But what was so special about me, that I knew the answer and no one else seemed to? Well, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing special about me. In fact it doesn’t have anything to do with me at all. It’s Jesus. It’s all Jesus. Jesus is the meaning of life. He is the reason we’re here. He is what it’s all for. To glorify Him, to worship Him, and to share the Good News of His salvation with all of humanity.
It says it in some pretty cool ways in several places in the Bible. In Ecclesiastes 12:13 it says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter (sounds pretty Sherlockian, doesn’t it?): Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Puts it pretty succinctly, doesn’t it? Another place is in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, where it says, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Here’s another one, Jesus actually said this one, in Luke 10:27. “And He answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” And of course there are more and more I could go on with, but I don’t want to go on for too long.
So that is why when I read that quote now I feel like grabbing the person who posted it in a hug and saying, “But there is, there is, there is a meaning in life! And I can show it to you! If you only believe!” If you only believe, that’s all it takes. And you will be so amazingly blessed, and you’ll know, you’ll really know, the meaning to life. I know I do.
I care that the majority of the people in Hollywood are taking drugs.
I care that they probably never heard the beautiful name of Jesus as anything but a swear word.
I care that they don’t know Who gave them their wonderful talents.
I care that they make fun of Christianity and pastors and priests in their comedies.
I care that they believe lies and promote them in their films.
I care that the people in them don’t know Jesus as their savior from sin and death.
How many times have you watched a movie and not thought about the people in it?
I care about the young men and women who are told that the only way that they’ll ever get good parts is if they showcase their bodies in their early films.
I care about the men who lay with men and the women who lay with women who don’t care or don’t know what they are doing is wrong and love to promote it in their movies.
I care about the woman who gets pregnant with her co-star and breaks up with him before the baby is born.
I care about the man who writes sex scenes into his movies to fulfill his own lust.
I care about the actor who can’t speak a sentence without swearing.
I care about the six-year-old who plays the part of the child in the sex and drug and swearing and violence filled R rated movie.
I care about the people who don’t care.
I care about the guilt-laden, the sorrowful, the angry, the heartbroken, the rebellious, the profane, the ones who think their doing it right, the ones who act happy.
I care about the Godless people who make the movies we watch.
I care so much that I cry myself to sleep, my heart breaks for them, because they don’t know.
I care all the time, every second of every day, while I’m doing school, while I’m drawing, while I’m reading, while I’m driving down the road, while I’m shopping, while I’m sitting in my house, while I’m laying in my bed, while I’m with family, while I’m with friends, they are always on my heart.
I must take to them the gospel so they can know the truth – so they can know where true happiness lies.
I wish I could have started caring sooner. I did not know, but now I want you to.
So next time you watched a movie, you can care too.
I was sort of hesitant to post this here, but then I remembered Phillips P. Bliss’s words “Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone! Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known.” And I knew I had to.
Up to now my experience with Doctor Who has been almost entirely a pleasant one. (Aside, of course, from that one episode Gridlock, but that was more ignorance than arrogance. The hymn The Old Rugged Cross meant nothing to them, so why would it bother them to have a huge bunch of people who obviously did not believe it singing it?) But this – this was just uncalled for. I was watching the episode with the 11th Doctor entitled A Town Called Mercy, and I was actually surprised by how the pastor and the people’s Christian faith was shown in such a positive light at the beginning. Of course, I knew the Doctor obviously did not believe that they were praying to the real god, but he didn’t say anything about it (he usually doesn’t say anything against people’s religious beliefs, even if he doesn’t agree with them), so I was pretty much okay. And then it came. The Doctor wanted to borrow the pastor’s horse (or rather he said he was going to borrow it, without really giving the pastor a chance to say he could or not). As the Doctor jumped up onto the horse’s back the pastor says, “He’s called Joshua. It’s from the Bible; it means ‘the deliverer,’” and the Doctor looks back at him and says, “No he isn’t. I speak horse; he’s called Susan and he wants you to respect his life choices.” I was quite taken aback. I mean, was that really necessary? All that was was a cheap shot at Christians, disrespectful and uncalled for.
Think about it this way. In a previous episode, The God Complex, one of the characters is Muslim. Just as many Muslims are against gay marriage and things like that as Christians are – as a matter of fact, some Muslim gays have actually been beheaded because of their practices. But when the Doctor found out that the character was Muslim, he didn’t say a thing against her beliefs, no indeed; in fact, he smiled and seemed pleased with the idea. Now I’m not saying he should have said anything against the Muslim faith, in my opinion in a show like this I’d rather they just keep religion out of it completely, that way no one has to be put through stuff like this and the show doesn’t have to be that controversial. And up to now the writers of Doctor Who had been very good with this. But I’ll just say it right out; this was not right. Why make fun and, yes, even insult one religion because it believes something when you show favor to a different religion that believes the exact same thing?
This just shows again how people always say, “we tolerate and accept all religions,” but when it really comes down to it, they don’t. Christianity is always the faith they take a swing at first. What does that say to you? It’s the religion that they are the most scared of. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, and I really shouldn’t be angry. Christians should expect things like this, and accept them, but still, that doesn’t mean I’m very happy when it happens. I can tell you one thing, I won’t ever be watching The Town Called Mercy again, which is kind of too bad, because the rest of the episode was pretty good. I guess this could be a warning to the writers of Doctor Who – keep in mind, if you keep putting things like that in your episodes, it’s possible you’ll lose a fan. I love Doctor Who, a lot, but my faith is far more important to me than anything else. I can’t watch a show and love a character that frequently jibes and makes fun of Christianity. Does that make sense? I don’t mean to be overreacting, but it’s just that Doctor Who has done so good with this sort of thing in the past I’m worried that now that they did it once, they’ll do it again. I certainly hope that that never happens.
I had found this song some time ago, but only recently re-discovered it, and found it so utterly fantastic that I knew I had to post it. It is so incredible to me that this song Peaked at #4 on Billboard AC Chart, in 1969. One would think that the 60’s of all years would be against all that is made to be wonderful in this song. I admit, you might not like it if you’re not a particular kind of person – but still, take the time to listen to it, and even if it doesn’t become one of your favorite songs, also take the time to get all the good you can out of it.
I was reading Peril at End House yesterday when I was startled by some very sage wisdom (keen insight) on the part of the aged detective, Hercule Poirot. While discussing the murder of the innocent young woman Maggie Buckley, Poirot begins to blame himself. In an act of kindness, his good friend Hastings murmurs, “Providence.” Poirot, somewhat hotly, replies with this:
“Ah! Mon ami, I would not put on the shoulders of the good God the burden of men’s wrongdoing. You say that in your Sunday morning voice of thankfulness – without reflecting that what you are really saying is that le bon Dieu has killed Miss Maggie Buckley.”
Well wow… will you look at that? A fictional Roman Catholic detective has a whole lot more sense on this issue than most Protestant pastors I’ve heard. For some reason, I’m not all that surprised. As a matter of fact, I do believe I could say that quote back to many things I’ve heard coming from the pulpit. Sometimes, we as Christians are so caught up in “providence,” the “sovereignty” of God, that we forget this world is cursed and full of sinners. We look at something absolutely horrible and say, “Well, that is a very bad thing, but God is sovereign! 😀 ” Yes of course, God is sovereign, but sometimes, bad people do bad things, and it’s bad, really, really, really bad, and there’s nothing good about it. Yes, God can teach us things through the bad that happens, but it’s still really bad.
I remember, a little while ago, two horrific things happened in my life that I thought I would never get over – everybody said, “God is sovereign! This must actually be a good thing!” I always thought, “no, this is not a good thing. It’s a bad thing. God may easily be able to teach me something through this, and good things may come out of it, but this is still a bad thing.” I only wish now I could have had this quote to say back to them when they said that to me.
Sometimes I wonder about us, Christians… a fictional detective oughtn’t to have more wisdom about God’s sovereignty than our pastors and theologians.
Thanks, Andy. 🙂