ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, November 15   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



René Breuel
 

Shaped by the future

The future has a curious power to shape us.

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 20 OCTOBER 2018 17:00 h GMT+1
Viktor Frankl. / Wikimedia Commons.

A prisoner like Viktor Frankl learned quickly the signs that someone had given up.



The suffering and humiliation ministered at World War II concentration camps took hold of a person’s soul at last, stripped him of all values and identity and meaning and hopes, and he lost the will to live.



He abandoned himself to the despairing circumstances. Basic acts like smoking a prohibited cigarette or refusing to get dressed in the morning were signs that someone had capitulated. He would die in a few days.



As Frankl observed his inmates giving up on life, he curiously concluded that the moment of surrender consisted not in one’s attitude to his present sufferings. Instead, someone lost his soul when he lost his vision of the future.



The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and spiritual decay… No entreaties, no blows, no threats had any effect. He just lay there, hardly moving.


The experienced hardships were large enough to engulf that person’s sense of present and then his vision of the future: expectations became too dim to remain a guiding candlelight. “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost.”[1]



The future has a curious power to shape us. We are what we hope: we live in the future so we can live in the present.



The future arrives before the present, at least for one’s mental sanity, because when we cease to hope, we lose our reason to live..



“It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future – sub specie aeternatatis.”[2] Only when the future is concrete enough does our present acquire its true contours. The strength of our vision of the future, therefore, is the strength by which we engage with life.



Concentration camps were like a severe laboratory to expose human nature. For the people who experienced such harsh life, only a firm future could stand in the face of extreme evil and have the resolve to carry on.



We are creatures of eternity, people with a destiny to fulfill or to ignore, but with a destiny awaiting us nonetheless. Every now and then one of us succumbs to adversity or to easy comforts, and settles.



We let ourselves get enclosed by time and squeezed out by minutes and seconds. We miss the vast plains of eternity, and miss ourselves. We forget to look ahead and we close our eyes.



We nestle in the moment and stop asking ourselves why we exist, or what do we live for, as someone too cosy to care.



Frankl saw a way out. He held steady so he could have a story to tell. He endured blows for the sake of the people who remained peacefully outside, to share lessons only pain could teach.



And his advice to prisoners in concentration camps then and urbanites in comfy couches now remains as fresh as the earliest news of liberty.



What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expect from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned.[3]


[1] Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (New York: Washington Square Press, 1984), 95, 98.



[2] Ibid., 94



[3] Ibid., 98.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Shaped by the future
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!” Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!”

Bulgarian evangelicals protested peacefully on November 11 against a draft law which could severely restrict religious freedom of faith minorities. Churches rallied in Sofia and other cities after the Sunday worship services.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.