In our sound-bite society wisdom seems to have been reduced to pithy retort, so it is no surprise that every week I read tweets and comments that assume you are backward or down right duplicitous if you believe “religion ” is good for society or humanity as a whole. Pop wisdom “knows” that “no religion” means “nothing to kill or die for, a brotherhood of man”; and they know that real love is laisez-fair while religion is always wanting to get involved where it’s not wanted.
But the truth is very different if you take the time to look for it. Academic analysis of wars shows time and again the underlying causes of wars, even ones labelled as “Religious” or “Sectarian” are normally initiated for baser reasons (i.e see “The reason for wars, Stanford University) . And what is celebrated as “live and let live” is more often than not an excuse for “live and let die”. Love gets involved, whether given by an atheist a Christian or Hindu, it is by definition interfering.
This post doesn’t have the room nor the reason to explore the well documented truth that in fact the nations prosper when the Gospel grows in them (see “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy”).
But truth is often more complex and multi-layered than can be conveyed quickly and so of course I risk contributing to the fog of of unreasonable debate with this post… So let’s be clear … I’m not enshrining absolutes here, there are hurtful and hypocritical Christian’s and there are caring humanist, I’m just proffering a perspective that deserves to be considered. And that perspective is that when Jesus’ life and death is enshrined and honored in our people, institutions and systems the prosperity and the well-being of those affected by the same is improved.
Strangely when we endorse an idea we find in Christ but divorce it from Him things often get worse. So Tolerance becomes totalitarian in its control of dissenting voices. Equality empties the differences in diversity of any intrinsic meaning or value.
“[Pascal] was the first and perhaps is still the most effective voice to be raised in warning of the consequences of the enthronement of the human ego in contradistinction to the cross, symbolizing the ego’s immolation. How beautiful it all seemed at the time of the Enlightenment, that man triumphant would bring to pass that earthly paradise whose groves of academe would ensure the realization forever of peace, plenty, and beatitude in practice. But what a nightmare of wars, famines, and folly was to result therefrom.” ― The End of Christendom
But it also happens in day to day life too. Which is where it becomes relevant to us.
As I try to live out my faith, it is not sufficient to simply employ “Christian principles” in the workplace. Honesty, integrity, fairness are all good and noble ideals found in the teaching of Jesus. But divorced from Him they become a sense of my own moral superiority over my co-workers, even humility can make you proud!
“Ideas” are profoundly powerful in shaping our actions. But personal experience, and I believe history itself, shows us that the ideas themselves are not enough. It is Christ in us that is our “hope of glory”, the salt that cleanses and brings out the flavours of a good life, the leaven that raises the mix and makes it edible.
It is in bring the person of Jesus into our work with us that we will have our biggest and best impact.by