Answers

Ours is the generation in which expecting answers—let alone having any!—is no longer in vogue. That puts Christians in the crosshairs, of course. We who claim to have found a "Way" are frowned upon as "smug", "arrogant", "presumptuous". You can't help wondering how we got this way as a nation. 

Well, I saw it coming back in my college days. During my very first week, a philosophy professor stood up before us and announced, in a very scholarly tone: "The purpose of this class is not to answer questions, but to question the answers." 

Oh! We thought that was so profound! "Of course," I remember thinking to myself, "Why didn't I think of that? There are no answers in life! And we're here to question those who foolishly think they've found them!" 

That was perfectly okay with me: at that age I was already fully committed to tilting at the windmills of religion. 

But a deep sense of disenchantment was beginning to come over me, as I pored over the great books. The world's finest literature—the soaring philosophies of western civilization—offered no real affirmative answers to life's most troubling questions. This Liberal Arts major of mine was teaching me simply to "question everything". But...was there really no "Truth" to discover? 

I remember a frustrating discussion I once had with a philosophy professor whom I truly admired: Walt Russell. The class he taught was Existentialism and together we had pored over every page of Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness. (Talk about a title that tips its hand, by the way!) Man! I was in love with that thing! Being and Nothingness was the Bible of my unbelief back then. I dog-eared my copy from cover to cover. 

But on that particular evening after the class, I was at a little pub with a few other students when Prof. Russell came in and joined us. We were all having a good time tossing profound ideas around with him, when finally I turned to him and, in front of everyone, just asked him the question: "Professor Russell, what is the reason for living?" 

I will never forget the look on his face: it was like "C'mon Schorr! How could you be so stupid? Nobody knows that!" The rest of the students looked pretty aghast too. I remember thinking: "Oh great! I just asked for an answer! I'm supposed to be questioning answers. How could I forget? Now I'm going to get a 'D' in the class." 

I laughed it off and dismissed the whole thing, of course, and we all went on to other topics. But is there really any other topic? 

Later that evening, alone in my room, it started to make me angry. "Wait a minute," I said to myself, "Life is supposed to have answers. And living this life without knowing why? Well, that's insane! I'm not going to spend 80 years doing that!" 

That was my very first baby step toward a new life in Christ. 

"Insane" doesn't begin to describe the hopeless condition of modern man. "Life is a short journey from nothingness to nothingness," Ernest Hemingway once protested: "There is no remedy for anything in life. Man's destiny is simply to busy himself like ants upon a log." 

Henry Kissinger once dismissed his entire life as worthless and without accomplishment. "History is a tale of efforts that fail, of aspirations never realized and wishes unfulfilled. Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately failed. As a statesman, one has to act on the assumption that problems can be solved, but as a historian, one must learn to live with a sense of unavoidable tragedy." 

That is one bleak picture! 

George Norman Clark, the great English historian, speaking to a gathering at Cambridge University, once observed: "There is no secret, no plan in human history to be discovered." 

How sad! And how untrue! 

And how wonderful to know Jesus, who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life!" Jn 14: 6 "He regulates the Universe by the power of His command," we read. Heb 1:3 

Oh, there's a plan all right! There are answers to the questions! When you find Jesus Christ, answers are what you get! Real answers! The right answers! Answers that no one will ever successfully question. Praise God for it: 

"You will know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." Jn 8:32

By the way, years later, from over in Taiwan, I wrote to Professor Russell and told him: "You're one of the reasons I came to Christ." I explained how his class had driven me to find answers. He wrote me back: "You're not the first student to tell me that." 

 

I love it!  See you Sunday!   RAS

You Hold the Rope!
This Awesome Book of God