Ray Bradbury died yesterday at the age of 91.
I read and enjoyed some of his books as a teenager, but the greatest impression he made on me was a few years ago when I heard him speak on the radio. The talk below is not that one, but his love of life – what captivated me in the talk I heard – comes out clearly in this video recorded in 2001 at Point Loma Nazarene University.
In the first half of this video, Bradbury talks about writing, storytelling, and the source of good ideas. All good stuff. But for me, the best begins about 16 minutes in as he turns to the Big Questions.
People have said to me, “Do you believe in Darwin’s theory?” I said, yes, I believe in that. “Do you believe in Lamarck’s theory, of generations of animals wishing themselves to new forms?” Yes, I believe that. “Do you believe in Genesis, the first book of the Bible?” Yes, I believe that. They said, “How can you believe all three?” I said, because NOTHING IS PROVEN. So there’s room for a religious delicatessen.
The inanimate minerals [of the young Earth] decided to live. How come? How come? We don’t know!
There’s room to believe it all, because you are the inhabitors of a miraculous world.
What have we been put here for? The question is asked time and again. I’ll tell you. There’s no use having a universe, and billions of stars, there’s no use having a planet Earth, if there isn’t someone here to see it. You are the audience. You are here to witness, and to celebrate. You’ve got a lot to see, and a lot to celebrate.
God cries out to be saved. Whatever God is. It’s all mysterious. But we are here to be the audience to the miraculous.
You’re going to be alive once. You’re never coming back. Think of that. You’ve got one chance to pay back.