So, this might trigger some Christians (you’ll be ok), but the last couple of days I’ve been watching Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, and thanks to the guys over at Wisecrack I got thinking about Nihilism and how it seems to permeate our culture. First, a quick rundown on what Nihilism is for my more ill-informed readers. Nihilism, championed by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), is the idea that everything in life is a series of random, chaotic, and purposeless events. What you do doesn’t ultimately matter, there is no meaning to life, and things like religion and spirituality are attempts to bring sense to a meaningless existence. Let me get real with you. Sometimes life feels this way. Sometimes Christianity feels like a vain attempt to bring meaning to a meaningless existence.
Sometimes I wonder if being a Christian is worth it. Sometimes I wonder if God is really there or if He is a product of my own making. I know Christians aren’t supposed to talk like this, but this is real life. Christianity doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy, and that if you close your eyes real hard with a sprinkle of faith, and click your heels three times you’ll be transported to the loving embrace of God. Don’t get me wrong, I believe God loves us and that love is displayed in the person and work of Christ, but I think some of us need to be real with ourselves and admit that there are days that feel empty and void of meaning.
For BoJack, every day is like this. He is a washed-up alcoholic that is in desperate need to connect to the people around him and regain his former glory as a T.V star. Everything about BoJack’s life screams a broken, lifeless, enslaved, idol loving, mess. As I look back on my life, even since becoming a Christian, I’m not sure if my life has fared much better in some ways. I mean, I’m certainly not an alcoholic, but like BoJack I desperately yearn for people to love me while my natural disposition is to push them away. Like BoJack, I go to the little idols in our lives that distract us from doing real life. Like BoJack, I can live a functional Nihilistic life even while I intellectually ascend to the doctrines of God and Christ. This is not the Christian life.
The Good News is the Christian life. And the Christian life embraces the likes of BoJack and aims to transform him from a broken human being (or horse) to a human being that is shalom. It seeks to deal with the idols that enslave him and set him free. The Good News not only reconciles BoJack to God but also to other people giving him authentic relationships that are real and raw. The Good News gives BoJack fulfilment, purpose, meaning, the forgiveness of sin, it gives him a new life in Christ. I have experienced this, tasted this, and I know that it is good. God loves the BoJacks of this world, no one is too far gone. It just takes a bit of courage to admit that we need Him, to admit that we need fixing.
“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all evil and brokenness” (1 John 1:9).
3 thoughts on “BoJack Horseman: Nihilism and How the Gospel Heals Our Deepest Despair Part I”
very well written
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