This clip has been making the rounds on other blog sites, and it is a powerful one, highlighting the inability of post-modern thought and “religion” to provide real answers and real peace. The difference between the two types of thought are so stark: the old man speaking in rage about hell and forgiveness, the therapist talking in measured tones about hearing this and hearing that, but offering no real answers to the questions that were given.
The crux of this conversation, which really is just a play for a larger metaphysical debate, is the state of that man. When we are doing fine in life, when death seems unreal and we are happy and fat, the clever and circuitous answers of post-modern thought seem feasible, and are just enough to get us by that particular season. It sounds reasonable and wise, like something a Buddhist monk would tell us as we travel through Bangkok on motorbike. But this mostly is by virtue of the fact that the answers are so roundabout that they cause us to forget what the question was in the first place.
But when the other shoe falls…when we are on our deathbed, or are watching someone we love pass away, or see towers fall in fire and people jumping hand-in-hand to their deaths, those answers reveal themselves for what they truly are – smoke and mirrors. In that moment, people no longer want aphorisms and zen mantras – they want answers, real answers of eternal consequence. And then those “answers” of post-modernity that satisfied us in our times of plenty are so frustratingly foolish.
It all lies in the state of the man – when we feel fine, the pleasantries of post-modernity will do. But when we are broken, we reject these cliches and look for real redemption, real forgiveness, a real Savior. The trick is in the realization that in truth, we are broken all the time.