Bitter death

Frederic Henry

Frederic Henry in the movie version

You never had time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi. But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you.

— Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms

All the existentialists and atheists have to offer is a dismal outlook. Hemingway’s message: have as much fun as you can in life, enjoy selfish pleasures, but in the end death is cruel and capricious.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

This is a far cry from the Christian cosmovision. Our sins have separated us from God, but we can repent and run to God’s mercy. If we do, we are no longer subject to an arbitrary and harsh life and death. God protects and sustains us. And when we die, we go to Heaven, where we continue to enjoy joy — not the fictitious joys sinners continually try in vain to grasp.

Frederick Nietzsche

Frederick Nietzsche

It amazes me that people can read Hemingway and not turn to God. They embrace his hopelessness and rail against God. His message led him to commit suicide at 61. The Bible says: You will know the tree by its fruit. In other words: Before you buy into someone’s message, see if it worked for that person, at least.

Frederick Nietzsche went insane. Christopher Hitches died of alcoholism-induced cancer. He confessed that he was so bored of people that he kept himself drunk. Jean Paul Sartre took speed to stay up for days and not have to take a break in his writing. The list goes on.

20 responses to “Bitter death

  1. It’s hard to “like” this but what you say is so true! We DO know the tree by its fruits. As Christians do we project something someone would aspire to? (This would be a great blog for me to write about someday in regards to diet gurus.) Thanks for the post, always interesting to read yours, blessings,

  2. I am continually amazed at what people choose to swallow/cling to, when the glorious riches of God’s grace are available to them.

  3. I admire Hemingway’s writing style and his ability to create memorable characters (especially those in his short stories). Imagine what God could do with a “Hemingway” sold out to Him!

    No matter how rich and famous you are (or aren’t), all is meaningless unless your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

  4. I wonder the same too why people can look at these men’s lives with the fruit of their ideas…and not come to God

  5. The fear (deep respect) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Amen.

  6. this is interesting, I didn’t know all that!

  7. I was an existentialist for years, and a great fan of Hemingway. Thankfully, the Lord opened my eyes.

  8. I have always found that any work of literature (or film) can have a message for me. It’s just not always the same message the author intends. I recently read “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Whatever Nikos Kazantzakis tries to communicate to the reader matters little to me. I do not see a weak, fearful Jesus; I see a weak, fearful me. It helped me “turn to God” (yet again). Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is coming up on my reading list…we’ll see what I take away from that.

  9. Pingback: The folly of (some) famous men of letters | Churchmouse Campanologist

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