by Harry Kraus
Atheist, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) describes what is now known as a postmodern worldview:
“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins…”
Author and Christian Bible professor, J.P. Moreland uses the phrase the “thin” life when referring to the life espoused by Russell. “A ‘thin’ world is one with no objective value, purpose, or meaning.” (Moreland, Kingdom Triangle.) He goes on to explain that a thin life is a life without drama and that a “thick life,” one that recognizes value, purpose and meaning can only be entered by an embrace of true Christian faith.
All successful fiction has drama. The heart yearns for it. We’re made for it. Real drama is only possible where actions have consequences and loves, fears, achievements, hopes and beliefs are more than an accidental collocation of atoms.
All fiction, (written from a Christian worldview or not) bristles against Russell’s life-has-no-meaning philosophy. Real drama requires that love be rewarded and that evil can be trumped by good.
Bertrand Russell’s atheist philosophy has influenced our world and tempted a generation with the despair that nothing has true meaning and that truth floats.
The Apostle Paul ends his first letter to Timothy making reference to taking hold of “that which is truly life” (1Timothy 6:19). He’s referring to a “thick” life, a life of purpose and meaning.
In our fiction, we hold out a promise that such a life is available. An encounter with the God of grace has made it possible.
Think of your current manuscript. Can you find the points of tension between the thick and thin life?
I’ll bet you can. And the thick life wins hands down.
Bestselling author, Harry Kraus’s 19th book, Lip Reading, was released in March.