Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yesterday’s Show Notes: Tuesday, 28th May 2013.

What Hollywood Believes – Michael Caine

BIRTH NAME: Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr.
DATE OF BIRTH: March 14, 1933
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bermondsey, England

Michael Caine, in answering a question about his belief in God, said, “I see God as benign [kindly]. My own
view is that I look around at everybody including the vicar and the priest, and the rabbi and the Muslim, and I suddenly realize they’re human beings exactly like me . . . I threw them all out of the window at a very early age.”

I will never forget the film Alfie. Michael Caine played the role of a smooth-talking bachelor who committed adultery with a middle-aged married woman. It was a one-night fling. Unfortunately, she became pregnant and he encouraged her to have an abortion, rather than face the complexities of continuing the pregnancy.
He was present during the procedure, and out of curiosity he looked at the fetus. It was a very moving moment. He came out of the room looking pale and shocked, horrified that the fetus wasn’t a blob of mucus, but was an actual baby. It was then that he realized he had been instrumental in taking the life of his own child.
The incident caused him to be very contemplative about life. The theme of the movie kicked in at that point: “What’s it all about, Alfie?” While he was enjoying the pleasures of illicit sex, life was exciting. There wasn’t too much to think about. But when Alfie considered the life he had just taken, when the reality of moral absolutes came into play, he was left soberly wondering about the purpose of his existence. Are humans just a species of animal, with no sense of right or wrong? Why then do we have the pangs of conscience when we take a life? If life has purpose, why does death snatch us from it? What is it all about?
It was that very thought that softened my heart to the gospel. I too asked the sobering question about life’s purpose. Life had been good to me. At the age of 20 I had my own business, car, house, wife, and child. I owned a combined surf shop and custom leather jacket business. It was lucrative, and I had the freedom to slap a “Gone surfing” note on the door of my shop anytime I wanted. I couldn’t have asked for more.
There was a problem, though. I realized that death could strike me or my loved ones at any moment. It was as though I had this big happiness bubble, and it was only a matter of time until the sharp pin of reality caused it to burst. Death made my existence futile. Happy though I was, I realized I was waiting around to die. So was every other human being. It made no sense.
Perhaps you have never had thoughts such as these. Maybe you’re thinking, “Lighten up a little. Look on the positive side of things.” Let me ask you a question: If someone were pushing you closer and closer toward a thousand-foot cliff, would you wonder why? I hope you would, and that you would see that it’s in your immediate and best interest to get out of your predicament. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second brings you closer to the inevitable cliff of death. Are you wondering why? Why is it that everything you hold dear to you will one day be ripped from your hands? How did you get into this situation, and how can you get out of it? As I was researching for this book, I ran across a publication that listed every movie Hollywood ever made—every star, every director, screenwriter, etc. It was a huge volume, about the size of a phone book.
So many names I read were familiar. There’s a sense of excitement when it comes to Hollywood celebrities; I’m sure you feel it. Just seeing their names in print sparks indelible memories from the silver screen. As I smiled at each recollection, I would very often see under their name the date of their death. It wasn’t one or two who had passed on, but thousands. I wondered how many of these shining stars faded into distant nobodies after they lost their youthful looks. How many became overnight has-beens, or destitute alcoholics or drug addicts who tried to escape from the painful reality that their glory days were over? I wondered how many had considered the question asked by Alfie, and then made peace with God before death snatched them into eternity.
Do you remember the thought-provoking words of George Lucas from the opening pages of this book? He considered the all important question. He said, “Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question, ‘Is there a God or is there not a God?’—that is for me the worst thing that can happen. I think you should have an opinion about that. Or you should be saying, ‘I’m looking. I’m very curious about this, and I am going to continue to look until I can find an answer, and if I can’t find an answer, then I’ll die trying.’”