“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?…So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (I Peter 4:16-17,19).”
Gregory House is a mocker. The central character of the medical drama “House” is a brilliant doctor, one of the best, but he doesn’t believe in God and has little respect for those who do. In fact, he regularly questions those who claim to be religious and makes a sport out of arguing with them.
In one episode of “House”, a patient called Almore tries to kill himself in House’s presence before he is treated. He sticks a metal knife into an electrical wall socket in hopes of electrocuting himself. Almore lives and later explains to House why he did it. “Last Saturday, I got into a car crash. A drunk driver came over the line, hit me head-on. (pause) It was like slow motion. I saw these… headlights… and… I saw…. paramedics… said I was technically dead for 97 seconds. It was the best 97 seconds of my life.”
House is a scientist and doesn’t buy this explanation. So he explains the chemical reactions which he thinks caused what he believes were hallucinations.
Almore replies,”No. Believe me, it wasn’t chemicals. I’ve done every hallucinogenic there is. This was way bigger than that. There’s something out there. There’s something more.” House walks away.
During the same episode, House and his team are treating a patient who has spent his life in a wheelchair. The patient, Thomas Stark, is told by House’s best friend and fellow doctor Wilson that he has cancer. Stark says, “Cancer. Why not? What else can God throw at me?”
House is in the room and replies, “Hail. Locusts. Smiting of the firstborn. Course, it all depends on how evil you’ve been.” Wilson rebukes House and continues to answer Stark’s questions about his condition.
When Stark learns that a surgery House and Wilson are proposing will only prolong his life a few more months Stark says, “I’d rather just get this over with. I’ve been trapped… in this useless body long enough. It’d be nice to finally get out.”
This statement sets House off. (He himself is crippled with a bad leg.) House angrily responds to Stark, “Get out and go where? You think you’re gonna sprout wings and start flying around with the other angels? Don’t be an idiot. There is no ‘after’, there’s just ‘this’.”
Walking down the hall, Wilson reprimands House, telling him that he should let Stark have some comfort even if what he believes is a “fairy tale”. House tells Wilson that Stark is basing his decision on a lie and that “misery is better than nothing”.
Wilson loudly responds to House, “You don’t KNOW there’s nothing. You haven’t been there.” House replies, “Oh, God, I am TIRED of that argument! I don’t have to go to Detroit to know that it smells.”
Wilson says, “Yes. Detroit. The Afterlife. Same thing.” Wilson walks off in disgust and House stares after him
If the story ended there, it would be clear that House has a world view that will never allow for an after life. Curiously though, House repeats the earlier actions of Almore. He sticks the same knife in the wall socket in his office and is electrocuted.
However, before he does the deed he pages one of his fellows and she arrives in time to restart House’s heart before he dies. When Wilson tells House he is an idiot later, he replies, “You insisted that I needed to see for myself.”
Wilson and House are discussing Almore and Stark, both who have now died, at the same time they are talking about the electrocution. “What did you see?”, asks Wilson. “Nothing”, says House and continues on about the patients, refusing to be distracted by the question.
House is a scientist, and he used the scientific method he knew to try and prove there either is or is not an after life. His interest shows that all is not lost for him. But he only needed to peruse the Bible to find the truth.
The Scriptures say that people like House will have to give an account for their lives to God after they die. They might abuse believers and live in debauchery (as House does) now, but those who have rejected God will one day see Him in His glory in the Person of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:2-5,13).
We believers, on the other hand, can hold on to the truth of God’s Word despite the world’s opposition. The Bible says about itself that it is a lamp for our feet and a light for our paths (Psalm 119:105).
Gregory House may be the most renowned diagnostic physician on the planet. But he knows nothing about truth. House’s fictional life reveals that God does not judge us based on our talents and gifts. (That’s what we people do). He evaluates us on the basis of how we respond to the offer of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
The world, its belief system and those who follow it are in great disorder. They’re topsy turvy. But when we are presented with an upside down world, we have to do our best to make pineapple upside down cake and keep living for God. By our faith we might bring people like Dr. House around.