Home Forums “A Modern-Day Solomon”

#2264
Dan Brazeau
Member

by John Fischer

“I read a review over the weekend on Kurt Vonnegut’s new book, “A Man Without a Country.” “Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives,” Vonnegut wrote. “Like my distinct betters, Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too.”

“Coming from the honorary president of the American Humanist Association, that’s quite a statement. That’s like the president of NASA giving up on space exploration, or the president of baseball giving up on the game. His cause for pessimism is the apparent collapse of American values beneath an avalanche of public and private greed, and a social justice that has been obscured by war and fear. Still, after all of this, his advice is to keep going anyway, “and from moment to moment try to behave like Jesus, doing good unto others as much as we can.”

“Now as you can imagine, that part about Jesus and doing good came from out of left field, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to reflect on a leading pessimistic humanist concluding that Jesus nonetheless had the corner on living a meaningful life. With his glaring contradiction between giving up on humanity and living like Jesus, Vonnegut becomes a modern-day Solomon, who in the Book of Ecclesiastes, declared life utterly meaningless and then concluded the only thing to do was to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).”

“Of course Vonnegut is referring to the teachings of Jesus and not Jesus himself, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”

“And what is there to gain by reflecting on this today?”

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