I was watching TV the other night while a young man sang the John Lennon song “Imagine.” Most people who’ve heard it would agree that it is a moving melody—and the young man sang it beautifully.
The problem I have with the song is the lyrics: “Imagine there’s no heaven. . . And no religion too.” The answer to the world’s problems, according to Lennon, is to keep religion from holding back the human race.
While this may be a great solution in some people’s minds, I find it shallow.
This week someone asked me about a story out of Iraq. Two women with mental disabilities were used by terrorists as suicide bombers. These women entered a crowded market place and blew up a lot of people.
Some say that a hate-filled religion explains this atrocity. They assume that people are basically good but religion turns them into monsters.
While this might explain some simple issues, I don’t find this answer complete. Is religion responsible for these women being disabled? How about car accidents or cancer? If all the world’s problems could be solved by being a humanist, maybe I would sign up!
There’s an underlying question to ask: By nature, is man good or bad? Throughout the ages, most religions have been the impetus for incredible good—while also being the inspiration for incredible evil.
As the disturbing events of the above tragedy were unfolding, another story of compassion and love was happening simultaneously in the same country. Soldiers delivered wheelchairs to needy kids in Iraq.
Throughout history, humans have used the name of God for their own selfish purposes. Do those misdeeds reflect on God or mankind? Children are still coming into the world with disabilities and bad things are still happening. Is it man’s fault or a misunderstanding of what is really going on?
On occasion I have thought that my child’s disability is the result of my own failings. Maybe it’s “cosmic payback” for something bad I did in my past. How does imagining no heaven and no hell change this thought? If I am to believe I’m nothing more than lucky mud rather than a child of God created in His image, then are all those with disabilities or special needs nothing more than unlucky mud?
When I am struggling with life or when my child asks me why he is disabled, humanism is amazingly absent of answers.
At its core, humanism says that all we are is in front; life has no meaning. This thought provides no answers or comfort. All the struggles we go through and all the hardship and toil amount to random acts with no purpose. Emptiness.
And in the grand scheme of life, we’re supposed to choose to be good just because it’s the right thing to do? We should live peaceful lives “just because”?
I don’t know about you, but I long for more meaning than a chance of luck. I put more stock in my children’s lives than just aimless wandering. I think men and women choose to be good or evil based on more than DNA.
And I believe that our children are of inestimable worth, whether or not they have disabilities. That their lives are meant for something greater than just living for themselves. That everything that happens—both good and bad—has a reason.
And I also think that if people actually believed in that same hope for all children, regardless of nationality or circumstances, maybe we could live in peace. Just imagine.