Saturday, July 16, 2016

Why are there people in the world?

James Fowler in his book, Stages of Faith, asks a child of ten, "Why are there people in the world?" and she answers, "People in the world? Let's see. If there weren't any people, there wouldn't really be a world. And if there wasn't a world then the world would be blank. I mean everything - that's a tough question. Let's see. Why would there be people.?" p. 137

A follow up question to the same child was what the world would be like if she wasn't in it.

It's one thing to mess around with kids asking them these questions, but I got to imagining how the average adult in the United States in 2016 would answer these questions; Why are there people in the world, and how would the world be different if you weren't in it?

I would guess that the answers would run something along these lines: people are in the world to make it a better place and to help bring God's creation to perfection, and I'm here to assist in this process.

And then, I began to wonder if this is true. If it is, it is rarely reflected in our media, our politics, our arts these days.

I met a man from Australia in Washington, DC at Arlington Cemetery traveling with his family for a month in the United States and I asked him what stood out for him in his visit to the states and he said, "How courteous and polite and friendly everyone is."

I said, "You'd never know it from the media what with Donald Trump wanting to wall off Mexicans and keep out the Muslims," and the man said to me, "we have our conservative politicians in  Australia too" and dismissed the subject.

Of my five day trip to Washington, DC, my encounter with this man was the high point of my trip. I wonder what he would have said in response to the questions about why there are people in the world and how would it be different if he weren't in it. I feel blessed by my encounter and I am certainly glad he is in the same world I am in and I had a chance to meet him.

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