Chuck died a few years back. Somebody writes to the mailing list
“Just wanted to remember you Chuck, take it easy wherever you are.”
Listen. If you’re a materialist, then Chuck is gone and there is nothing of him left to “take it easy.” If you’re a Christian (or Jew or Muslim), you believe that Chuck has moved on to either reward or punishment – so the sentiment is either meaningless (if Chuck’s doing well) or cruel (if Chuck can’t take it easy). If you’re into reincarnation, then Chuck has his own concerns as an infant or horse or cockroach or whatever and doesn’t have opportunity to kick back and drink a beer. If Chuck has gone on to melt into some new age “great mind of the universe,” then there again is no Chuck to address your good feelings toward. If he has achieved enlightenment and detachment, then “take it easy” makes no sense to him.
I suppose it’s possible to believe Chuck’s now a disembodied spirit, listening to your kind sentiments and kicking back to watch a ball game. But that’s just fatuous – nobody who’d given half an hour’s serious thought to the end of man could believe it. It might make you feel better to express it; it almost certainly isn’t anything true.
Chuck’s doom has overtaken him, for better or worse. Yours is coming. Pay attention! Don’t let yourself be distracted by sentimentalism – figure out what you’re going to believe. If you know what you believe and why you believe, and particularly if you’re sincere about it, then if you’re wrong you at least have the opportunity to figure it out before it’s too late. If you don’t know what you believe, if you don’t care that you don’t know, then what will save you from the morass?
And if you don’t bother? Would it be wise to stand before the judgment seat at the end of all things and say “Um, I never really thought about it?”
The fate of man is inconceivably bad. There is only one hope, and that in Christ’s forgiveness and conformity to him. Don’t be deluded. Don’t be silly.