Open Letter #78 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Tony: “I realized you can’t not care about the things you actually care about. You can’t fool yourself” (Birth of Cady Kalanithi 6 years ago today and the story of her late father)

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After Life #1 Trailer

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I listened to this question and answer session at Harvard in 1992 on cassette tapes and was captivated with Ravi Zacharias. His responses were so much better than Kath’s responses to Tony in AFTER LIFE. I have referenced work by Ravi many times in the past and Especially moving was Ravi’s own spiritual search which started in a hospital bed after a failed suicide attempt. I also want you to check out his talk at Princeton and the question and answer time afterwards which are both on YOU TUBEat these two links: Link for talk, Link for Q/A.

After Life 2 Trailer

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On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

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If Death is the end then what is the point Kath asks below:

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Francis Schaeffer passed away on May 15, 1984 and on the 10th anniversary of that date I wrote many skeptics such as Carl Sagan and corresponded with them on the big questions covered by the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Kath: You are an atheist?

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Adrian Rogers on Evolution

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Ravi Zacharias  (March 26, 1946 – May 19, 2020) 

Francis Schaeffer (January 30, 1912 – May 15, 1984[1]

Francis Schaeffer.jpg


I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and in 1992 I heard cassette tapes of Ravi Zacharias in all his brilliance in his sessions at Harvard and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton(1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes(1906-1999) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

 Adrian Rogers (September 12, 1931 – November 15, 2005) 

Adrian Rogers.jpg

Charles Darwin Autobiography


(Above) Tony and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

July 4, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 


Dear Ricky,  

In his last 22 months of life Paul Kalanithi took a long hard look at his life and if he had been created by God for a purpose and if he had a soul. Like Darwin he had lost his faith after attending college.

George Lakoff comments:

QUOTE from CLOSER TO TRUTH:

Does the soul have a personality?  Well it turns out that if you  have certain strokes in certain parts of the brain your personality changes. Without that part of the brain whose personality is the soul? So the soul doesn’t see, doesn’t think, doesn’t hear, doesn’t have emotions, or a personality. Okay, whose soul is it and what good is it? It doesn’t fit the usual notion of a soul as you are. 


Quote from Patricia Churchland:

The way the data are now, it’s pretty clear there is only the physical brain. That we think and feel and make decisions is a result of physical processes in the brain. There is no, in addition to the physical brain, there is no non-physical mind, or soul, or spookie stuff of the kind that might for example survive the death of the brain. So when I think of naturalization of the mind, I think about trying to understand the nature of mental processes, mental diseases and so forth in terms of brain function. 


V.S. Ramachandran comments:

Can you explain everything about who we human beings are by looking at the physiognomy of the brain?  . Is it as simple as that? Does it come down to what you once described as understanding that sort of block of jelly inside the head and that ultimately explains everything about the way human beings are and the way we perceive ourselves and orhers? I think that answer to that question is almost certainly yes. Things like creativity may go up to a certain point in explaining it or you have to start saying the divine sparkle or something that we scientists don’t believe in. Eventually the answer is yes, we are going to explain many different aspects by brain function. 


Susan Greenfield comments:

“I think what is more important is to realize we are individuals. Everything is rooted finally in our brain. My own view is that. If anything exists in a physical sense beyond that then I myself can not buy into that new kind of physics. If people believe that and it comforts them then who am I to say…”

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE

This is the 78th day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes of AFTER LIFE and in today’s episode Tony says he can’t stop caring about the things and people that he cares about even though he philosophized that he is only a machine and doesn’t have to care about anything like a computer would!! Charles Darwin himself tried to immerse himself in his theory of evolution and he said it took away his happiness which was his former love of art, poetry and music!!!


Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer said about Charles Darwin:

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin,“You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

But before I get into all of that I want to pause to talk about what happened six years ago today on July 4, 2014 and it was the birth of Cady Kalanithi to the parents Lucy and Paul Kalanithi. Paul would die 8 months later at age 38 after fighting cancer for 22 months. However, he would leave his atheism behind and put his faith and trust in Christ. I am going to quote from the book he wrote below and then refer to it again later at the end of this letter.

Lucy’s mom called to say they were headed to the hospital. Lucy was in labor. (“Make sure you ask about the epidural early,” I told her. She had suffered enough.)

I returned to the hospital, pushed by my father in a wheelchair. I lay down on a cot in the delivery room, heat packs and blankets keeping my skeletal body from shivering. For the next two hours, I watched Lucy and the nurse go through the ritual of labor. As a contraction built up, the nurse counted off the pushing: “And a one two three four five six seven eight nine and a ten!”
Lucy turned to me, smiling. “It feels like I’m playing a sport!” she said.
I lay on the cot and smiled back, watching her belly rise. There would be so many absences in Lucy’s and my daughter’s life—if this
was as present as I could be, then so be it.
Sometime after midnight, the nurse nudged me awake. “It’s almost time,” she whispered. She gathered the blankets and helped me to a chair, next to Lucy. The obstetrician was already in the room, no older than I. She looked up at me as the baby was crowning. “I can tell you one thing: your daughter has hair exactly like yours,” she said. “And a lot of it.” I nodded, holding Lucy’s hand during the last moments of her labor. And then, with one final push, on 

July 4, at 2:11 A.M.

, there she was. Elizabeth Acadia—Cady; we had picked the name months before.
“Can we put her on your skin, Papa?” the nurse asked me.
“No, I’m too c-c-cold,” I said, my teeth chattering. “But I would love to hold her.”
They wrapped her in blankets and handed her to me. Feeling her weight in one arm, and gripping Lucy’s hand with the other, the possibilities of life emanated before us. The cancer cells in my body would still be dying, or they’d start growing again. Looking out over the expanse ahead I saw not an empty wasteland but something simpler: a blank page on which I would go on.



Y
et there is dynamism in our house.
Day to day, week to week, Cady blossoms: a first grasp, a first smile, a first laugh. Her pediatrician regularly records her growth on charts, tick marks indicating her progress over time. A brightening newness surrounds her. As she sits in my lap smiling, enthralled by my tuneless singing, an incandescence lights the room.
Time for me is now double-edged: every day brings me further from the low of my last relapse but closer to the next recurrence—and,
eventually, death. Perhaps later than I think, but certainly sooner than I desire. There are, I imagine, two responses to that realization. The most obvious might be an impulse to frantic activity: to “live life to its fullest,” to travel, to dine, to achieve a host of neglected ambitions. 

Part of the cruelty of cancer, though, is not only that it limits your time; it also limits your energy, vastly reducing the amount you can squeeze into a day. It is a tired hare who now races. And even if I had the energy, I prefer a more tortoiselike approach. I plod, I ponder. Some days, I simply persist.
If time dilates when one moves at high speeds, does it contract when one moves barely at all? It must: the days have shortened considerably.
With little to distinguish one day from the next, time has begun to feel static. In English, we use the word time in different ways: “The time is two forty-five” versus “I’m going through a tough time.” These days, time feels less like the ticking clock and more like a state of being. Languor settles in. There’s a feeling of openness. As a surgeon, focused on a patient in the OR, I might have found the position of the clock’s hands arbitrary, but I never thought them meaningless. Now the time of day means nothing, the day of the week scarcely more. Medical training is relentlessly future-oriented, all about delayed gratification; you’re always thinking about what you’ll be doing five years down the line. But now I don’t know what I’ll be doing five years down the line. I may be dead. I may not be. I may be healthy. I may be writing. I don’t know. And so it’s not all that useful to spend time thinking about the future—that is, beyond lunch.
Verb conjugation has become muddled, as well. Which is correct: “I am a neurosurgeon,” “I was a neurosurgeon,” or “I had been a neurosurgeon before and will be again”? Graham Greene once said that life was lived in the first twenty years and the remainder was just reflection. So what tense am I living in now? Have I proceeded beyond the present tense and into the past perfect? The future tense seems vacant and, on others’ lips, jarring. A few months ago, I celebrated my fifteenth college reunion at Stanford and stood out on the quad, drinking a whiskey as a pink sun dipped below the horizon; when old friends called out parting promises—“We’ll see you at the twenty-fifth!”—it seemed rude to respond with “Well…probably not.”
Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.


Yet one thing cannot be robbed of her futurity: our daughter, Cady. I hope I’ll live long enough that she has some memory of me. Words have a longevity I do not. I had thought I could leave her a series of letters—but what would they say? I don’t know what this girl will be like when she is fifteen; I don’t even know if she’ll take to the nickname we’ve given her. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.
That message is simple:
When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.


EPILOGUE
Lucy Kalanithi
You left me, sweet, two legacies,— A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content, Had he the offer of;
You left me boundaries of pain Capacious as the sea, Between eternity and time, Your consciousness and me.
PAUL DIED ON MONDAY, March 9, 2015, surrounded by his family, in a hospital bed roughly two hundred yards from the labor and delivery ward where our daughter, Cady, had entered the world eight months before
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Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer

As you know I am writing you a series of letters on Solomon’s efforts to find a meaning and purpose to life. Solomon tried to find a meaning and purpose to life UNDER THE SUN in the Book of Ecclesiastes in all of the 6 “L” words and looked into  learning(1:16-18),laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). Paul Kalanithi so rightly noted, “Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.


In AFTERLIFE episode 5 season 1 Tony tells Anne:

“I realized you can’t not care about the things you actually care about. You can’t fool yourself. It was something you said that it is not all about me. And even though I am in pain it is worth sticking around to maybe to make my little corner of the world a slightly better place.”

Ricky you believe philosophically that you are an animal or even just a machine. In episode 2 in season two you noted, “We are chimps with brains the size of planets. No wonder we get drunk and try to kill each other. It is mental.”

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE

The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” If I believed that is all there is (Time plus Chance plus Matter) then I too would say “We are chimps with brains the size of planets.

This reminds me of Francis Schaeffer’s words: 

There is no romanticism as one seeks to move a man in the direction of honesty.  On the basis of his system you are pushing him further and further towards that which is not only totally against God, but also against himself.  You are pushing him out of the real universe.  Of course it hurts; of course it is dark in the place where a man, in order to be consistent in his non-Christian presuppositions, must deny what is there in this life and in the next.

Ricky in your interview with Russell Brand you asserted, “We are machines. We are machines trying to understand ourselves and that is hard. Will there one day be a computer suffering from anxiety? I reckon so. We are chimps with brains the size of the planet….I don’t understand consciousness…” 

Also in the same interview you noted, “I remember when I was 5, 6, and 7 years old being in the garden all the time. I was fascinated with the world…I seem a spiritual person but not literally. It is certainly true that I am in as much awe in seeing a tree or a mountain or a bird or a river as someone who thinks God made it. I see the beauty of nature.”

Francis Schaeffer pictured below: 

When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published lettersI also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words.


In Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography
 he noted:

“…it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

Here you feel Marcel Proust and the dust of death is on everything today because the dust of death is on everything tomorrow. Here you have the dilemma of Nevil Shute’s ON THE BEACH. If it is true that all we have left is biological continuity and increased biological complexity, which is all we have left in Darwinism here, or with many of the modern philosophers, then you can’t stand Shute’s ON THE BEACH. Maybe tomorrow at noon human life may be wiped out. Darwin already feels the tension, because if human life is going to be wiped out tomorrow, what is it worth today? Darwin can’t stand the thought of death of all men. Charlie Chaplin when he heard there was no life on Mars said, “I’m lonely.”

You think of the Swedish Opera (ANIARA) that is pictured inside a spaceship. There was a group of men and women going into outer space and they had come to another planet and the singing inside the spaceship was normal opera music. Suddenly there was a big explosion and the world had blown up and these were the last people left, the only conscious people left, and the last scene is the spaceship is off course and it will never land, but will just sail out into outer space and that is the end of the plot. They say when it was shown in Stockholm the first time, the tough Swedes with all their modern  mannishness, came out (after the opera was over) with hardly a word said, just complete silence.

Aniara (opera)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Premiere production at the Royal Opera, Stockholm 1959. Set by Sven Erixson.

Kjerstin Dellert and Olle Sivall in the premiere production.

Darwin already with his own position says he CAN’T STAND IT!! You can say, “Why can’t you stand it?” We would say to Darwin,“You were not made for this kind of thing. Man was made in the image of God. Your CAN’T- STAND- IT- NESS is screaming at you that your position is wrong. Why can’t you listen to yourself?”

You find all he is left here is biological continuity, and thus his feeling as well as his reason now is against his own theory, yet he holds it against the conclusions of his reason. Reason doesn’t make it hard to be a Christian. Darwin shows us the other way. He is holding his position against his reason.

I really enjoyed reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Darwin claimed his theory of evolution took away his happiness of enjoying music, art, and poetry

 Darwin’s own words

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily—against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all the better. This curious and lamentable loss of the higher æsthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Francis Schaeffer commented: 

This is the old man Darwin writing at the end of his life. What is saying here is the further he has gone on with his studies the more he has seen himself reduced to a machine as far as aesthetic things are concerned. We go through this we find that his struggles and my sincere conviction is that he never came to the logical conclusion of his own position, but he nevertheless in the death of the higher qualities as he calls them, art, music, poetry, and so on, what he had happen to him was his own theory was producing this in his own self just as his theories a hundred years later have produced this in our culture. I don’t think you can hold the evolutionary position as he held it without becoming a machine. What has happened to Darwin personally is merely a forerunner to what occurred to the whole culture as it has fallen in this world of pure material, pure chance and later determinism. Here he is in a situation where his mannishness has suffered in the midst of his own position.

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One person who did leave his atheism behind and found peace is discussed below:

A Dying Man Taught Me How to Live

JANUARY 25, 2017  | Ivan Mesa

“The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”

— Paul Kalanithi

We like to keep death at arm’s length, and probably farther away. We’re constantly in search of ways to forestall the inevitable. The Grim Reaper, from our first entry into this world, casts a cruel shadow over us. It stalks, hovers, and ultimately has the upper hand. However herculean our attempts, our bodies atrophy—they grow weaker until they are no more. Death might happen suddenly or through the course of many years, but happen it will; apart from Christ’s return, it’s not a matter of if but of when.

In our death-averse society, 2016 was a stark reminder of our mortality. With a string of celebrity deaths—something that’ll become increasingly common with an aging baby boomer generation, and further amplified by social media—we’re no longer shielded by the feats of modern medicine that have made death, for much of the last half-century, little more than an afterthought.

It’s not surprising, then, that one of last year’s bestselling books, When Breath Becomes Air, is about making sense of our mortality. Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi—who died in 2015 at age 37, after a 22-month battle with stage-four lung cancer—wrote his book amid various cancer treatments and relapses, ultimately leaving behind an unfinished manuscript that his widow, Lucy, completed.

Memento Mori

Kalanithi entered medicine, in part, to seek out death: “I had started in this career, in part, to pursue death: to grasp it, uncloak it, and see it eye-to-eye, unblinking” (81). What he didn’t anticipate, though, was becoming the patient himself—and with such a grim prognosis at a young age. He “traversed the line from doctor to patient, from actor to acted upon, from subject to direct object” (180). What seemed at first as an opportunity soon morphed into a dislocating ordeal:

Shouldn’t terminal illness . . . be the perfect gift to the young man who had wanted to understand death? What better way to understand it than to live it? But I’d had no idea how hard it would be, how much terrain I would have to explore, map, settle. (147–48)

In less able hands, such an account would be a ghastly written memoir, full of self-pity or cheap sentimentality. While many glide through life—merely reacting, operating at a surface level, constantly distracted—Kalanithi movingly grapples with fundamental questions. Worldview, identity, love, meaning, suffering, hope, God—all these he explores with death as an ever-lurking presence.


Eventually Kalanithi arrives at Solomonic wisdom:

Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed. (198)

Few books I’ve read are written with such evocative prose about life, death, and meaning through it all. “Most lives are lived with passivity toward death—it’s something that happens to you and those around you” (114), Kalanithi writes. Sadly, the same can be said for some Christians. Whatever our stage of life, we’re all prone to think we’re invincible. Whether because of youthful vigor, relative health, financial savvy, mental prowess, or family pedigree, each of us is tempted to shelve questions about our mortality. But Kalanithi gives us an unflinching look at death and, in the process, wrestles with the meaning of life.

A self-described “scientific type,” Kalanithi’s “sojourn in ironclad atheism” came to an end during his illness, where he acknowledged the emptiness of blind determinism. Kalanithi’s scientific worldview couldn’t make sense of everything:

Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue. (170)

It’s not clear what Kalanithi made of Jesus—he says he could say nothing definitive about God (171)—but we learn from his widow that he read several books, including C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, and in the end he “returned to the central values of Christianity—sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness—because I found them so compelling” (171). Whether he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life, I can’t know for sure. But, as I read between the lines, I’m hopeful he did.

When Breath Becomes Air confronts us with the reality of death. Each of us will die; memento mori—remember (that you have to) die. And only in acknowledging our finitude are we able to truly live.

Dying Father

As a young man with an old soul, this book deeply resonates with me. Late 20s are often marked by a cementing of trajectories, a clarifying of vocational paths. Resources may be scarce, but dreams are big, and with boundless energy we chart our course with little regard to its end.

But oddly enough, as a new dad this question of death has become more poignant. As Jerry Seinfeld quipped, “Make no mistake about why these babies are here—they are here to replace us.” A new generation marks the fading of another. After Kalanithi’s diagnosis with cancer, he and his wife embarked on conceiving a child through IVF. In the concluding lines, Kalanithi writes of his daughter:

Day to day, week to week, Cady blossoms: a first grasp, a first smile, a first laugh. . . . There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.

That message is simple:

When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing. (196, 199)

As I type these words, I hear my little Eden in the other room cooing and crawling. Daily she impresses me with her newfound abilities. True to her name, she’s my delight. But she’s also a reminder, in more ways than one, that we live in a fallen world, one where death holds sway. We live east of Eden.

Sin and death entered our world through one act of disobedience (Gen. 3:19; cf. 2:17; Ps. 90:3–11). One act of obedience, however, signaled its reversal. Jesus willingly died for sinners (Rom. 5:12–21) and then conquered death when he rose from the grave (Rom. 6:9–10). Like him, we too will experience resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12–28), and death and sorrow will be no more (Rev. 21:4). And to a new Eden we will one day return.

Are You Ready?

When Breath Becomes Air is the touching account of a man who began with a clinical interest in death and moved to a mournful acceptance of it. While we may be tempted to avoid the topic altogether, ultimately it’s unavoidable. This book reminds us that death comes to all—young and old, rich and poor, married and single. Each of us must ask: Am I ready for it?

Considering death teaches us to live. For this reason Ecclesiastes 7:2 emphasizes:

It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.

For believers—those united with a crucified-and-resurrected-King—we don’t stare at death as a forgotten friend but as the last enemy (1 Cor. 15:28). But take heart: those twice born need not fear the second death (Rev. 20:14; 21:8).Categories: Christian LivingReviewsTags: Books and ReadingDeath and Dying


The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

PS: What is the meaning of life? Find it in the end of the open letter I wrote to you on April 23, 2020. 

Below is the workforce of THE TAMBURY GAZETTE 

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

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Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “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—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Mandeep Dhillon as Sandy on her first assignment in ‘After Life’. (Twitter)

A still from ‘After Life’ that captures the vibe of the Tambury Gazette. (Twitter)

Michael Scott of THE OFFICE (USA) with Ricky Gervais 

After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix)

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Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk

Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:

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Francis Schaeffer “The Age of NONREASON”

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