I just finished this book yesterday, and it is quite weird.  Fascinating, but strange.  It’s about a future society where men throughout the world have inexplicably become sterile and there are no children.  No children have been born for twenty years.  People realize that the days of the human race are numbered, so it’s a very difficult time.

The thing that I keep thinking about is the fact that, in this society, no one really cares about anything.  It seems that without the promise of a future generation, people lose their sense of purpose.  Even when a man takes over the government and begins to make decisions more as a dictator than a democracy, they really don’t care– as long as they are allowed to live a peaceful and comfortable life.  Old people are dispatched as they outlive their usefulness, people are banished for life in punishement for any petty crime (whether proven guilty or not,) foreign people groups are used as slaves, but since none of that really affects the majority of people, they are indifferent.  They don’t have the spirit to think about justice or injustice, they simply want to live out their lives as comfortably as they can.  You do meet two people in the course of the book who have retained faith in God, and they are some of the very few who care.

It makes me wonder…  If there were no hope of a future generation, and no hope of life after death, how much would we care about our daily lives?  Would there be any reason to build your business, to fight for truth, to care about anything?

And as I thought about that, I realized that our society is closer to that end than we might think.  Consider Planned Parenthood and the radical gender-blender/feminists, who are trying their best to sterilize (or nullify through homosexuality and abortion) the current generation.  No wonder so many young people are aimless and have no goal in life!  When you don’t have a vision of your children and grandchildren, and no faith that there is a purpose bigger than this eighty or so years of life, what IS the point? 

I also had to think that this particular scenario (sterility) is probably not the only one where people might give in to apathy.  Are we verging on a time in our real world where we no longer care about truth or justice, as long as we are given a comfortable and peaceful life?


About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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14 Responses to Apathy

  1. gsmith03 says:

    This book was actually made into a movie.  I’ve seen part of it, but not the whole thing.I have struggled with this very same question, especially after leaving my faith.  I had been raised my whole life believing in God’s “higher purpose” and that there was life after death.  When the questions started to arise, I desperately clung to my Christian beliefs just because they were all I had ever known and they were what gave me my entire purpose in life.  But I got to the point where I could no longer accept that Christianity actually was the truth, and my entire belief system and purpose for life came crashing down.  I got so low, so hopeless, that I felt like killing myself for many years, and to be honest when I keep getting bombarded with all the religious stuff (parents, roommates, etc.) it sometimes makes me feel like that again.I have since been finding out that we don’t have to believe in God to have purpose.  Furthering the human race by itself is a worthy enough “higher purpose,” and it is a purpose I can fight for.  Not having life after this life actually gives GREATER meaning for this life, because it is all we have.  If this is all we are ever going to have, then we might as well make the most of it.  Yes, hedonism does play a part in this because there is a great desire to “live it up” while we can.  But there is also a very humbling aspect, reminding us that this is all there is so we shouldn’t squander the opportunity.  When it comes to Christianity, the only thing that is really going to matter is if I accepted Jesus or not; all the other deeds I did on Earth won’t make one iota of difference (except to make my mansion bigger in Heaven).  As Dan Barker said, don’t be good to further the kingdom of God, or to get more treasures in Heaven, or even because you think God says it is the right thing to do; just be good “for goodness’ sake.”  Just do the right thing because you know it is the right thing, regardless of if there is a God or not.Regarding children, that is a BIG issue I have grappled with.  I am scared that I will make a bad parent.  I am scared that I will be too lenient when I need to be stricter, or too strict when I should be more lenient.  I am scared that I will control too much of my kids’ lives when I should give them more autonomy, or that I will give them too much freedom when I should have taken more control.  I am afraid to tell them how to think or how to behave because I will end up brainwashing or indoctrinating them, but I am also afraid that I won’t give them enough guidance and they will be lost for life.  Most importantly, I am scared to bring another life into the world because it is one more soul to possibly be condemned to Hell.  Personally, I would prefer the child never existed rather than have the possibility of being tormented for all eternity.  I don’t care about whether or not they will go to Heaven; I just don’t want them to go to Hell.  I’m not necessarily blaming God for this, but if Hell does exist then there is a chance that my child will go there.  This is one of my biggest reasons for hating Christianity, because it says you have to do this one thing or else you will go to Hell, when you don’t have any proof (other than faith and a book) that it is even the right thing to do to avoid Hell, or that Hell even exists.  To take it one step further, I feel that way about ANY person, not just my child.  I cannot control anyone’s eternal destination, nor can I control the existence of people who already exist or the existence of children who will be born to someone else.  I do have a great deal of control over whether or not I will have children, so in this one area I can do my part to keep people out of Hell.  I feel so strongly about this that I have even seriously considered having a vasectomy just to keep someone out of Hell.  Yes, there is the argument about leaving a legacy, but I would much rather my legacy end than have it continue and result in suffering.

  2. Oh, yes. I can see it in my own life, even. Much to my shame, I do see it. 

  3. BooksForMe says:

    The crisis of faith in our society is so extreme, I don’t think the average Believer has a clue.  Truth has disintegrated into relativism.  And, the most troubling thing is that Believers don’t know the Word of God, so they have no standard for measuring truth.That book sounds really depressing.

  4. Does the definition of “good” change when we have no future?Take for example (a very extreme example) in zombie movies or a post-apocalytic film, The morals shift drastically simply because there is no future.I think its more than just apathy. I think its all out nihilism (which breeds apathy).

  5. josaju says:

    I remember reading this book and it haunted me for a long time. Yesterday… I watched the children during the children’s sermon and I think of those that are in my family and I wonder…Just what is their future?A very thought – provoking entry.  The sermon yesterday was from the parable of the 10 virgins.   Will we be ready when the bridegroom comes?After the sermon, many in the congregation said they wanted to go to the altar.  Presbyterians do not usually have altar calls.  But a chance for renewal and recommitment … that is appropriate anytime and anyplace.@gsmith03 – It is foolish to rely on reason alone and not faith.  Faith goes far beyond reason.  Man’s reason is based on what we can see and logic, which at it’s best, is not complete truth…What we see is only a small part of what there is.  Man is just a dot on a dot …a speck of dust.  Why do we think we can rely on reason alone when that is so limited?FAITH…HOPE..LOVE…Have you ever read C.S. Lewis?.  Parents do make mistakes.  Love your children  and do the best you can to teach them to make the right choices.  They learn a lot by your example.Don’t worry about being a perfect parent.

  6. alampi says:

    Was the movie called “A Boy and His Dog”? If it was, the movie was pretty bad. Had Don Johnson in it from WAY BACK when he was young.

  7. homefire says:

    @alampi – No, not A Boy and his Dog.  There aren’t any children in this book.  @josaju – Thank you for your encouragement in parenting.  I always need that!  I think current events gloom-and-doomers and reading this book have both incited me to a deeper conviction that we need to be teaching the BIG stuff of faith rather than focusing on academics.@josie_the_lunatic – I think you’re right about the nihilism, and really any existence outside of God tends to lead there.  The absence of any future generations in this book simply speeds up the process.@BooksForMe – I actually didn’t find it so very depressing, probably partly because it presents a scenario that I didn’t find realistic at all.  It was more just weirdly fascinating–very strange to think about.@gsmith03 – still trying to digest some of the things you said.  For instance, if furthering the human race is your higher purpose, it looks like fathering children would be very important!  Don’t get in any hurry about that vasectomy–you still have a lot of time to grow in stability and capability!  I still felt very unready to be a parent at your age, too!

  8. gsmith03 says:

    @josaju – I have three or four C.S. Lewis books on my bookshelf, all of which I have read.  That’s not including the Chronicles of Narnia, which are also on my bookshelf.  There are also a couple of others by him that I have read but do not own.  I read “Mere Christianity” twice, once while I was still a Christian and once after I left my faith.  The second time just further reinforced my reasoning for leaving.  I have also read “The Abolition of Man” and “The Screwtape Letters,” among others.  Oh, and before you ask, there are also books by Josh McDowell, Lee Strobell, Rick Warren, and Frank Peretti, again all of which I have read.It is foolish to rely on faith in my opinion.  Reason is based on what we can see and perceive, which is all we can go on.  Yes, that is not all there is, but that is all we have to rely on.  Faith is assuming something to be true and stubbornly holding to that despite any evidence to the contrary.  You can’t answer the question with reason and rationale, so therefore you assume that it has to have a supernatural reason.  If you can’t think of any other explanation, then it must be God.  Once you have made that assumption, then you alter your entire way of thinking to align with that assumption.  How is that not foolish?Have you ever read Dan Barker or Sam Harris?

  9. gsmith03 says:

    @homefire – Yes, it would seem to go against furthering the human race to not father children.  However, maybe the best way for me to further the human race is to not have children.  Or maybe the human race should cease after this generation.  If God is going to throw us into Hell anyway, then maybe we should stop making more people for Him to condemn.  It is a paradox I have been grappling with for a long time.

  10. gsmith03 says:

    @alampi – No, the movie was called “Children of Men.”  I think it had Clive Owen in it.

  11. bafocus_2 says:

      “Are we verging on a time in our real world where we no longer care about truth or justice, as long as we are given a comfortable and peaceful life?”I think it highly probable that not only is it happening in the “real world” but that it is happening in the church today! I am talking both of the “worldwide ecclesia” and local churches that we know well. And it is happening on all sides, if I can put it that way.

  12. homefire says:

    @bafocus_2 – uh-huh.  good point!  Good to see you back! 

  13. AngelAware says:

    Well hello there Are you ready for the snow I have not read this book…or seen the movie as the one gentlemen talked about? I just dont know what to say?? yet..lol

  14. the_grat says:

    as to you last question:  ’Are we verging on a time in our real world where we no longer care about truth or justice, as long as we are given a comfortable and peaceful life?’  - YES, we are verging on a time where many (but not all) people care less about truth and justice, and is IS due in part to their emphasis on personal comfort.  i believe it is also due to a lack of the models of truth and justice, needed to inspire and continue that flame. \as to your premise, regarding children, i think not.  because it is not just younger generations we leave behind when we die.  many of us will leave older generations as well, or our own.  and these are cared for just as much. \if there were only 10 people left on earth, at it’s end, i believe that i i were to choose ten random people to fill that hypothesis, most (if not all) of the first nine would care and be concerned about the wellbeing of the last one. \the apathy towards mankind is not begun by sterility (and btw, many gay people i know still have children, whether from earlier relationships, or ivf, or adoption.) \it is begun in a simple lack of the knowlege of love.  of even the genuine knowlege/understanding of it.  that starvation causes much harm to a person’s soul. \and a simple lack of the knowlege of mercy.   \jesus christ once said ‘if you knew what this meant – i desire mercy, not sacrifice, the innocent would not have had to die.’

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