Consider the wheel, that ancient invention that wrought so much progress with so many beneficial applications.
Consider the horrible irony that 18 wheels at the disposal of a madman infested with evil were employed to roll over hundreds of innocent people enjoying a festive evening in Nice, France.
So much for the Age of Aquarius and all that mushy love-is-all-ya-need secular theology. It was built on what Jesus referred to as “sinking sand” anyway.
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“Life has always been scary here, and we’ve always been as vulnerable as kittens,” Christian writer Anne Lamott lamented Friday. “Cain is still killing Abel.”
Cain will always be killing Abel–the proverbial “man’s inhumanity toward man” will always be a reality–because sin stains the stamp of the image of God in us all.
This we know because Paul and the Bible tell us so.
A lot of atheists dismiss Christianity as a form of escapism for naive people who can’t deal with reality.
I wish those particular non-believers would make the effort to know and properly understand Christianity before they “diss” it.
I’m not a Christian because I can’t handle reality. I observed the effects of more god-awful evil in two careers as a newspaper reporter and a night chaplain in two major trauma hospitals than I care to remember, even though I’d do it all again. They were and are the purposes in my life to which I was called.
I’m a Christian largely because Christianity–serious and deep Christianity as opposed to the happy-face, “honk if you love my buddy Jesus” variety–doesn’t flinch from the realities of evil and suffering.
Christianity is based on the reality that we all will do most anything, right or wrong, to protect our self-interests.
We’ll do most anything wrong out of fear above all.
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For every progressive creation from the wheel to the compass to the printing press to the internet–there’s been some predatory, self-interested individual or group perfectly willing to abuse that creation in subversive and violent ways.
The liberal Protestant leader and great preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick warned in 1922 that the biggest peril that tempts the believer in the march of progress is “a silly underestimate of the tremendous force of human sin, which withstands all real advance.”
It’s naive indeed to think that the world will someday live in perfect, Coca Cola sing-along harmony as progress gives us ever greater ways and means of living together and communicating with one another in the global community.
Now–by no means am I suggesting that we shouldn’t envision world peace and aspire and work to make this a peaceful world.
I firmly believe that God’s will is for peace, justice and mercy to prevail on this earth as if this earth were heaven. I for one will keep striving to be the peace and love and joy and mercy I want to see in the world.
I’m going to keep singing and dancing and praising God and loving Jesus and in the belief and hope that others will catch the spirit.
But because I’m a Christian I will do so grounded in reality.
The reality in our time is that ISIS, which wants to thoroughly destroy us Westerners with all our technological gifts like computers and smart phones, is perfectly willing to use our inventive computers and smart phones to recruit vulnerable people to literally roll over us.
These are not people we can reason with–not people we can tame by dropping flowery love bombs on them.
But as for this evil nest that is ISIS, we’re going to have to fight its fire, to some great extents, with fire. As a committed peacemaker, I can’t see any way around the use of force.
That’s a harsh, ethical, Christian reality. Sometimes the love of neighbor calls for extreme, even violent measures in order to protect our beloved neighbors.
We aren’t the ones who spread a twisted ideology that inspires people to roll over innocent, festive people including tots in the streets.
Yet the grave danger in this god-awful fight against evil we’re in is that we’ll throw God in all His/Her grace to the wind and go right to that old “eye for an eye” brand of justice–and beyond.
The danger is that we’ll become no better than the monsters we have an ethical duty to fight.
Our two candidates for the highest office in the land maintain at every turn that “we have to be smart” in fighting this savage enemy we’re up against.
Being “smart” requires that we remember who we Americans are–good people--really good people by and large— who aspire to live up to American goodness while resisting the temptation to give in to the very evil that so sickens us.
Being smart from the Christian perspective is being mindful that any time we have to resort to violence and force to protect the innocent, we throw ourselves at the mercy of a God whose Son died at the hands of some horrifically evil people.
Be smart and pray.