Monday, April 24, 2006

God's Own Curmudgeon

I reckon we've all got our favorite books... or at least our favorite verses in the Bible. Some love the fire of John. Others love the puzzle and imagery of Revelation. Still others love the simplicity and ease of Psalms. And while my favorite verse can be found in Luke... my favorite Book of the Bible is something a little more unexpected.

Tradition escribes Ecclesiastes to King Solomon... but the authorship is not proven. Its author only refers to himself as The Preacher. Of all the Bible... this is the book for the Secular Humanist to examine, for it shows the utter futility of life here on Earth. The simple wisdom in the book snatches me up every time.

Everything you do... is futile. You toil and work your whole life... and for what? All that you do has been done before... and it will be done again. The Preacher says, "There is nothing new under the sun." You're earthly works will remain unfinished... and they will be taken up by another... and another... and if they are taken up by a wise man... they will progress... but eventually they will be taken up by a fool.. and all will be undone.

This is the way of the World.

But but but! You say... Look at our technology! Bah... The Preacher would be unimpressed. He lived long... and he saw many technological advances. What do they mean? Man still goes to the same grave as beast he would say. The space shuttle is just another boat. The moon is just another island. It's nothing new. Microwaves are nice... but do we not still cook best with fire? Nothing new.

The Preacher's advice is simple; Eat, Drink, and Be Merry... For that is all that is good. Fear God, and Obey his Commandments.

Only one thing was new under the Sun... Christ. Having never known Christ though, one can easily see why the Preacher felt the way he did. He had everything. He had power. He ruled a great kingdom. He had wealth such that everything his heart desired was his. He endevored in all things... and found them all to be empty. Nothing ever satisfied him. Nothing but God.

If you've never read the book all the way through in one sitting... I recommend it. Its like sitting in Hardees on a weekday morning listening to a bunch of crotchety old men. Its not a long read by any stretch. You can read it outloud in about 20-minutes. Give it a shot.

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