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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Our culture's science fiction, alien, supernatural, and even conspiracy fixation points to a yearning for God

Being one of those "geeky" types that enjoys reading sci fi and fantasy books as well as watching shows of the same nature, this past decade has been a bit of a pleasant development.   Traditionally, this type of entertainment hadn't really enjoyed the maintstream that much.  Sure, we had Star Wars and Star Trek, but before the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the early Harry Potter movies, there wasn't really much in the way of mainstream visibility to these genres.  Yet fast forward to 2015, and it's everywhere.  Star Wars fever is at an all time pitch with episode 7 right around the corner.  Some of the more popular TV shows and entities have permeated pop culture such that even one not immediately familiar with a show or movie could recognize something from that show or movie even if they don't know exactly what it is.  There's so many supernatural tv shows, both scripted and reality, that it's impossible to keep track of them all.  There's Harry Potter conventions that aren't just a handful of people dressing up in the park.  As Alec Hardison of Leverage rightfully exclaimed "It's the age of the geek, baby!".  Indeed.  

But, is this explosion of "geek culture" perhaps pointing to something larger?  Well, let's look at one point that science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, and even conspiracy theory type entertainment has in common.  In each of these, there's a thirst for "something more out there".  Many have said that this genre offers people an escape from the depressing reality of mundane life.  While maybe that's true for some just as others seek escape at the bottom of a liquor bottle, I don't believe it's accurate to say that as a culture many of us have decided to "escape" our crappy world by surrounding ourselves in fantasy.  Instead, I think the increasing popularity of this genre in our culture is an expression that we yearn for more.  We're looking for "more out there".  The supernatural reality ghost shows seek to find proof of dead spirits.  The conspiracy type shows seek to find hidden truth.  Science fiction and fantasy reaches outward toward the stars and our imaginations to find a certain quality of life that seemingly more desirable than our current boring life.  

And no show exemplifies this yearning more than Dr Who.  Why do people like Dr Who so much?  There's many things.  But at the base of it is the premise.  A nearly immortal being that can travel anywhere in space and  time.  That is the epitome of "looking for more".  The doctor can pretty much witness any event in history anywhere in the universe.  Just the very thought of that possibility gets me excited.  With a Tardis (the doctor's time travelling spaceship), the possibilities are endless!

As a culture we're looking for something more.  We're seeking more meaning to life.  We're seeking a fulfilling life that isn't the supposed boring mundane stuff we deal with day and day out.  

Yet, despite all this searching, the answer has been front of us all the entire time:  God.  The creator of the universe.  The owner of space and time.  The all powerful, limitless and immeasurable God.   Too often people focus on the restrictive nature of the Bible's teachings.  How it's always trying to tell you what not to do and how to live.  But that's not the whole picture.  Here we have a God that is the biggest, most important being in the universe.  He permeates creation.  He's everywhere.  He's the supernatural.  He's the future.  If there's anything real that actually fills the "more" category, it's Him.  

So why aren't more of us turning to God?  Well, for starters it's not easy.  The answer is simple, but the road is difficult.  Why isn't it easy?  Because it requires a couple things that run anathema to human nature: faith in an unseen God and setting aside our pursuit of personal desires to truly serve and seek Him.  Many treat God as a system administrator that is there to help get us out of a jam when we need it, but then go back to our own pursuits after He helps us out, putting Him out of our minds.  Unfortunately, this is not what true servitude to God is supposed to be.  Those who follow Christ have to truly to put Him first.  To put His will and what He wants above our own.  It's a very hard thing to do.

But let me tell you, the rewards for doing so can be phenomenal. I'll fully admit that I still struggle with putting Him first on a daily basis.  It's so easy to get sucked in to the allure that the science fiction / fantasy genre offers and seek fulfillment there.  I'm not saying this genre is bad by any means, but it's also important to recognize when an aspect of one's life is keeping you from seeking God.  And for me, I have substituted God with some story that is incredibly engrossing such that all I want to do is find out what happens.  And what I've discovered is at the end of the story, while entertaining, doesn't quite fulfill me.  

And yet, despite my shortcomings in seeking Him, when I do seek Him, He's blessed me tremendously.  The "boring" mundane life's worries became distant and small and I realize that I can be my own story of fulfillment.  The more I dedicate my life to pursue God, the more my life can become an amazing story all its own, filled with testimony and inspiration.  I've no illusions that it will be easy.  Heck, even in the stories I do read, how often does the story have smooth happy go lucky sailing?  Exactly.  Why should my servitude to God be any different, especially when there IS an enemy out there attempting to bring down His children?

So here's my challenge and/or advice to anyone that finds themselves wondering things like "What the heck am I doing with my life?" or find themselves constantly yearning and seeking for something more, give God a try.  Become an acolyte of Him.  Make Him what you seek.  I guarantee it'll be the best decision you've ever made.