Monday, June 30, 2014


Like almost everyone else in the country ($100 million+ opening weekend? Really?), I saw Transformers: Age of Extinction for Aleteia this week. Is it bad? Of course. Will that stop it from being one of the highest grossing movies of the year? Not a chance.

You know who I always feel sorry for whenever a Transformers movie comes out? The GoBots. Technically, the much maligned machines preceded the Transformers, but their cartoon and toys were so inferior that it wasn’t long before they became a punch line. To add insult to injury, Hasbro bought the rights to the name in the early 90s and now GoBots are considered just a weird alternate reality in the Transformers universe. Still, that doesn’t mean the GoBots don’t have their fans, despite the existential angst which surely must accompany such a lonely devotion…

“There are no more Saturdays.” Sure, it’s a comedy bit, but that line still pretty much sums up one of the major Absurdist themes in the actual play, Waiting For Godot. A common interpretation of the ending of Beckett’s most famous work is that there is nothing waiting for us except death, and yet delusional people of faith continue to wait in vain for an imaginary afterlife spent with a non-existent God just because it gives an illusory meaning to our meaningless existence. Yeah, Absurdists aren’t exactly the most optimistic people on the planet.

As defined by Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, “An absurdist is one who positively affirms the absence of purpose in man's existence on earth. Linked to a denial of God's existence, Absurdism sees no finality at work in the universe and reduces all events in the world, including man's deepest thoughts and affections, to a blank irrationality.”

The thing with Absurdism is that it assumes we’re just making up the whole God thing in order to make ourselves feel better. As noted in the Catechism, however, the Church has always held that “God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.” If you think that’s a stretch, then check out philosopher Peter Kreeft’s list of twenty arguments for the existence of God as derived from the natural world, it’s pretty impressive. Now it’s true that we can’t know everything about God through reason alone, some things require revelation, but we can at least know there is a God, and that by itself is enough to put a serious crimp in Absurdism. We ain’t just making it up. Which means it looks like there are gonna be more Saturdays after all.

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