“Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?” This line, spoken by Morty encapsulates the essence of Nihilism and the trivial distractions we have in our life to help medicate that meaningless existence. Like BoJack Horseman, Ricky and Morty takes a good hard look at our reality and doesn’t shy away from dishing out Nihilistic truisms to continuously remind its audience that even the show they’re watching is nothing more than a distraction from their own meaningless existence. Distractions, they’re everywhere. Television, books, work, relationships, food, alcohol, sex, drugs, and even religion can all be distractions (idols) for humanity to help them forget the painful empty experience that many people (perhaps even unwittingly) experience every second of every day. Rick and Morty have it right, if there is no purpose to our existence then going on crazy space adventures is a great way to fill in the time. Unfortunately, despite their adventures, despite Rick’s intelligence, despite Morty’s futile attempts at avoiding it the void of life catches up to you. You can’t escape it.
Like Rick and Morty, even as a Christian, I tend to find things to constantly distract me. There are days, weeks or even months where video games, Netflix, or books take up more time than the time I spend intentionally worshipping God. There are days when the call to party, drink myself silly and splurge my money is so strong I wonder if I’m going to make it through the day. If you knew what sin was knocking at the door to my heart you’d never look at me the same way again… let alone speak to me. Life sucks, it’s hard, trying, and more complicated then it should be. But, the Gospel heals our deepest despairs.
The Gospel is wonderful. Here it is: There is this God named… well He has a few names in the Bible but let’s use Yahweh. Yahweh is crazy. What I mean is, He is so different, so apart, so “other” from any other god in any other story that it’s almost impossible to describe what He is like. He is so ridiculously loving, a kind of love that is so deep and so fierce it’s actually kind of scary. It’s kinda like sitting really close to a fire down the beach or something, and you know if you sit too close you’ll probably die because it’s just that intense in the fire, but you just can’t stay away from it. Also, Yahweh is so good. He is this God where you know you can be content with Him and He just wants you to flourish. He is like drinking the perfect cup of coffee in the morning knowing that it’s going to spur you on for the day. The reality is I could go on and on about what God is like He is just out of this world. The reason I tell you this is because every one of us has turned away from this amazingly “other” God and have basically told him to piss off. We have to be mentally insane reject something so good, yet here we are trying to pave our own way which has only lead to this sort of Nihilistic life.
Now, we’ve rejected this amazingly “other” God who loves us and wants to be in a relationship with us. I think this would be frustrating for Him. I know what it is like to have someone go their own way even though you only want what’s best for them. God has a right to be upset, not only are we rejecting His love and goodness for us, but we’re actually killing the world around us in the process. War, corruption, death… sin permeates and ensnares everything around us leading us further away from the source of all that is good and pure. So, knowing we’re never going to get it right ourselves, God comes and sets things right through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus and His resurrection. There’s more to it and I recommend you go here to read more about what the Gospel is. But here’s my point. Nihilism is the consistent default position of the World, the World divorced from their loving God. God sees our despair, our nihilistic hearts and our woes, He invites us into a life of purpose, love, freedom and hope. He invites us into a relationship with creation the way it was meant to be, He invites us into a relationship with Himself. For us, the Church, we must do better at showing this to the World instead of being ensnared by it. Love fiercely, worship fearfully and serve the world purposefully with the Gospel on your lips and the love of Christ in your heart. I’ll leave you with this:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16