Return of the Mummy

There's a new American fad that comes from ancient Egypt: People are signing up to have their bodies turned into mummies when they die. So far about 140 mummy-wannabes have put money down with a Utah-based company to have their bodies steeped in chemicals and sealed in a sarcophagus, just like the ancient Pharaohs. Instead of in pyramids, today's mummies will be housed in an abandoned Utah silver mine. Another difference, of course, is the religious significance attached to the process. The Pharaohs of old had their bodies mummified to preserve them for the afterlife. But today's aspiring mummies are much too secular to have any hopes of life after death. Which makes you wonder: What's the point? The owner of the mummy company says his clients don't want to be "covered with dirt and forgotten." They want to be remembered after death-to live on in some way. Apparently, even thoroughly modern Americans are not fully reconciled to their mortality. We still experience longings for eternity. The longing is being expressed in other ways, too. The hottest topic in health circles these days is longevity. Two of the New York Times best-selling advice books are both called The Longevity Factor, filled with advice on how to eat right and live longer. Another best seller is called Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. It's written by a Hindu, who informs us that the body is a creation of our own minds-and that we can control our health by controlling our consciousness. There's even an Arizona-based group called "the Immortals." They claim to be able to escape death through a method of mind control. The mind, they say, has the capacity to reprogram body cells to regenerate themselves, in a process called "cellular awakening." Some of the Immortals have died, throwing doubt on their claims. Still, the group continues to grow. The irony in all this is that our modern secular culture has tried so hard to be, well, secular-to rid itself of all the trappings of Christianity, including its doctrine of the afterlife. Half a century ago, George Orwell dismissed the immortality of the soul as a doctrine that "no one seriously believes in" anymore. But the waning of Christianity has created a spiritual vacuum that has attracted all sorts of modern mystery religions: mummification, Hinduism, mind control-all touted as the true path to immortality. Let's face it: The hunger for everlasting life has been around since long before the Pharaohs, and it's not going to go away now-just because secular intellectuals find it unbelievable. Most people sense that if death is really the end, then all our achievements in this life are ultimately meaningless. The grave makes a mockery of all our hopes and ideals. As a result, people will always search for something more than this life. For God has set eternity in our hearts. The only question is whether we turn to mummies and mind control . . . or to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In rising from the grave, Jesus conquered death. This is no mythical religion. It happened in real history. And it's the only path to eternal life for you and me.


Chuck Colson



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