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Date Posted: 09:27:54 04/30/05 Sat
Author: Jean
Subject: Reverence for �Signs�

Interesting thoughts from John Whitehead president of The Rutherford Institute.

I did see this movie.
IMHO pretty good movie...but I am sure others will see it as ....well....not a movie to see.



Reverence for �Signs�
by John W. Whitehead

�They feel that whatever happens, they are on their own. And that fills them with fear.� � Graham Hess

Reality can be overwhelming in today�s hectic world as we endlessly run to and fro, always in a hurry to get somewhere. Distractions abound�whether it be entertainment and sport spectacles or the political noise that continually blasts from Washington, DC. And then there are the wars, terrorism and continuing fears that someone or something is lurking in the shadows to harm us. In such a schizophrenic world, how can we make sense of life? How can we continue to care about our fellow human beings? And more importantly, how can we avoid losing our faith?

This was the setting of the fine 2002 film Signs by M. Night Shyamalan. Many did not see the film because it touched on extraterrestrial life forms. But this movie is well worth watching because it poignantly illustrates the modern dilemma.

Set on a farm in Buck County, Penn., the actual focus of Signs is on the fractured Hess family. Graham Hess, a former priest who abandons his faith when his wife is killed in a tragic accident, is brushing his teeth one morning when he hears a high-pitched scream. This alerts him to the fact that his two young children, Morgan and Bo, are not in the house. Graham runs outside and into his cornfield, where he finds the children and a crop circle in the field. This is the first of many �signs.�

At first, Graham and his younger brother Merrill believe the enormous crop circle was caused by some local pranksters. However, when they see a tall figure on the roof of their house that night and are unable to catch it, they begin to suspect otherwise. And as strange lights begin appearing in the sky and it is slowly revealed that the world is being invaded by otherworldly creatures, the family begins to draw together.

The pivotal scene comes midway in the film. Graham and Merrill are sitting in their living room shortly after watching a television report concerning some mysterious unidentified flying objects over Mexico City. It is at this point that Graham addresses the philosophical and religious crisis that he has undergone. As Graham points out to his younger brother: �People break down into two groups when they experience something lucky. Group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I�m sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation isn�t fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they�re on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people.�

Graham continues, �But there�s a whole lot of people in the group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they�re looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever�s going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See, what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?�

Of course, Graham has decided, like many others, that life is simply a chance existence, one filled with coincidences. But his brother Merrill, and even Graham�s children, believe there is someone watching over them.

Signs� dictum is that there are no coincidences. But are there? The 9/11 tragedy, the soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, the everyday cataclysms of life on this planet and so on�are they all just a meaningless bunch of jumbled coincidences? Or are these things signs? Is someone or something trying to speak to us and guide us to a better path? Should we have faith in anything beyond ourselves? Is there any reason to have reverence for anything or believe that a higher power created us and cares for us?

Graham Hess, like many others, had lost his sense of reverence for life and for God. Thus, he could no longer be a spiritual leader�one who is owed reverence and one who shows reverence. �Reverence,� writes author Paul Woodruff, �begins in a deep understanding of human limitations; from this grows the capacity to be in awe of whatever we believe lies outside our control�God, truth, justice, nature, even death.� Reverence, simply put, is the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods.

Therefore, do we live in a world where everything is mere coincidence? Or is there something directing the matrix of life? Yes, maybe the signs are there. But can we, or will we, see them?

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute and author of the award-winning Grasping for the Wind. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

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