Saturday, August 23, 2014

'If we could just get rid of all the bad people, THEN the world would be a nice place'

I watch a Hulu original tv program called The High Road with Mario Batali. According to Wikipedia, Mario Francesco Batali is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. In addition to his classical culinary training, he is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, including regional and local variations.

Batali is a chef who put celebrity in the phrase celebrity chef.

In his ten-minute program on Hulu, Batali interviews other celebrities. Some of these famous personalities are from the realms of tv or movies, but some are celebrities in the spheres of finance or philanthropy or of course, cooking. He asks them questions as they go to famous New York City landmarks and iconic places, and the program is just a discussion type chat with the spectacular black and white backdrop of the most famous city in the world.

I watch it for the cinematography. It's beautiful to look at. Also for the length- sometimes I'm too tired to commit to a long program or a movie.

Well, I've watched three or four of these Batali-celebrity chats now, and it's interesting to see the world through an unsaved person's eyes. It is almost unbearably sad, but it's interesting to see and hear how they see the world's problems and what would solve them.

For example, in one chat Mario asked journalist Frank Bruni "What is your dream for how the world might change in our lifetime?

Bruni answered,
"I would love to see a world in which there was no one craven, callous, or inhuman enough to torture another human being. I think if there were no torture happening, the world would be a better place in a whole lot of ripple ways- because that would mean we didn't have the kind of horrible people that we do".
In the tv world of highbrow question and answer sessions such as this, it's supposed to be a profound statement. Unsaved people think they are good. They think that the bad people won't go to heaven. They think if we can just get rid of the horrible people, then there would be no more wars, no more torture, no more evil. But who are the horrible people? As soon as we get rid of one, another pops up.

Christians know that "getting rid of the torturers" only leaves all the rest of us who are depraved, craven, horrible, and compared to God, just as bad as the torturers. And what about the murderers? And the rapists? And the child molesters? Let's get rid of them, too. That leaves the adulterers, the homosexual, the fornicators. So they're out. We still have to deal with the liars, the thieves, the cheats, the oppressors, the gossips, the brutal, the disobedient.

Does that leave anyone? No.

There is none righteous. No, not one. (Romans 3:10).

There is none good but the Father. (Mark 10:18).

They suppress that there has to be a God who is holy and has standards for entrance to His kingdom. (Romans 1:18).

In another segment with Julianna Margulies (of The Good Wife tv show), Batali asked


NYC is known for its busyness, rushing, New York minute aggressive attitudes, rudeness, and snobbiness. (PS think on this for a minute: why is kindness unexpected?)

Margulies answered,
I was here on 9/11. It was almost eerie how much kindness was going on there. People were actually opening doors, and getting up on the subway and giving you their seat, and it was a strange, eerie quietness. After a week of being mesmerized by people's reactions, personally, I remember going into this deli. I was waiting on line to buy something and I heard this guy say "I SAID, f-*&%$-n pastrami!" And everyone applauded. We all were just like, Thank God we're back to New York".

Margulies laughing at the relief they felt
when the spell of kindness was broken
Yes, it must have truly been a relief that the cruel and oppressive regime of kindness was over. Do you want to know why the people in the deli applauded when kindness was no longer required of fellow man after the worst terror act on US soil in history? Because it is hard to be kind. It is not man's natural state. It's tiring for man to be friendly. It's spooky to be in the side of the light.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:20).

I was one of those unsaved people who thought I was good. I sometimes wondered why I'd be allowed to go to heaven, because deep down I knew I'd sinned. I didn't call it sin, of course, but I knew I wasn't perfect. If I followed the thought to its conclusion, and everyone on earth who wasn't perfect was allowed into heaven, then what made heaven perfect? What made it nice to be there if everyone else was there too?

I pushed those troubling thoughts away ("suppressed the truth in unrighteousness") and went on. I am everlastingly grateful that my Savior brought me to a right understanding of my sin, my depraved self, and His holiness. It is always a joy to ponder these two things. The more I know I'm a sinner, the more I appreciate His life on earth, His sacrifice, and His atonement.
“The mark of a mature life is not sinlessness, which is reserved for heaven, but a growing awareness of sinfulness.” John MacArthur
That growing awareness of my sin hurts. It is painful. It hurts just as badly to see people like the above mentioned celebrities try and grapple with the big questions, and come up so woefully short. Charles Spurgeon has this to say about the human condition:
We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ.
If we were to follow Bruni's method of getting rid of all the bad people, there would be only One left: Jesus. Yet, here He is! He is seeking and saving the lost! How marvelous to witness to His excellencies, His nature, His kindness, His perfect demeanor where not one blot mars His visage.  Be grateful today. Be grateful we see Him as He is, and that we see the world as it is- and in His time He will take us from it and bring us home.

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Further reading:

An excellent and easy-to-understand essay from Answers in Genesis

Lessons from the Fall: Genesis 3



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