Independence Day

If you’ve ever been to Colorado, you’ll know that people
here are crazy about what they call “Fourteeners” (mountains over 14,000 ft
high). This weekend my friends and I summated two of them: Grey’s and Torrey’s.
As an avid hiker, I’m generally prepared for any mountain, and spent my high
school years hiking the Alps back home, but the Rockies are a whole new game.

A woman died on the mountain the day we hiked Grey’s and
Torrey’s. We’re not really too sure what the cause was; we hear it was a
seizure, but we haven’t read anything official yet. As we began our hike, we
quickly came across a large group surrounding this woman attempting to aid her
through CPR and other measures, but she was too far out of the way to get any
real medical attention in time (no one on the mountain had cell phone coverage,
and the trailhead was a far way from the highway). The strange thing though, was
that it didn’t really stop many people. We respectfully acknowledged our
inability to help her, and left her in the hands of the people who were already
with her, and we moved on.

A strange question hit me that morning. “Is it really a sad thing
to die?” I do not mean to belittle the grief that the death of a loved one will
cause us, but I write of the position of the dying individual himself. I’m
asking whether the individual himself should consider it truly something to
grieve.

I think that the answer lies in what your view is of
eternity. The odd thing is that people who “adhere” to major world religions
are often the first to fear death. Christians fear death, even though the Bible
clearly states that “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). People don’t believe
it though, and I think that’s funny, because it’s another one of those things
that although logical, aren’t practical, or at least aren’t easy to believe.
Logically, if the next 60 years are all that there is, than what does life or
death matter in the end. And if there is more to it than the next 60 years,
then there are two other options: either what’s to come sucks, and thus people
should be scared, or it is really, really sweet, in which case people should be
excited. This may be a bold statement, but people who claim Abrahamic faith
(Jewish, Muslim, Christian) but don’t believe in Hell probably have more
fearful connotations with death than joyous ones, even though a positive,
semi-detached view of eternity should result in a more happy-go-lucky attitude.
But yet people still fear dying.

C.S. Lewis made an interesting observation in his book, Mere
Christianity when he made a case for morality existing as a result of Natural
Selection. As he saw it, the argument was simple: it benefits the collective to
observe moral standards such as not killing each other, not stealing from each
other, not abusing each other, etc. This makes perfect sense, he mused, except
that we continue to kill, steal from and abuse each other daily. And bad people
do still win. For all of our logic and reason, it is amusing to note the
inconsistency in human Modus Operandi.

Happy Independence Day

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