The Romans dreampt it. The Nazis seiged it. The Socialists propagated it. Scientists experiment it.
Paradise. Utopia. That ever elusive demesne of perfection man so insists can be achieved on earth. We have strived for it, spent millions, revolted, sacrificed and spilled blood for it. Where superficially we seem so much closer in many ways, essentially we are further away today than perhaps ever in human history.
The Romans fell to ruin. The Aryan Race produced a Hitler prototype. Socialists’ dreams turned into an iron-fisted Marxist Manifesto nightmare. And even Albert Einstein created the atom bomb. Paradise? Perhaps “Hell” is more accurate.
My objective is in no way to demonize any particular group of people modern or historical. However,we must ask ourselves, “With motives so noble, how is it that these men and their ideas have led to such atrocities?” If we do not wrestle with history, we risk paying its burdensome price over and
As Christians, we are often quick to point fingers. “They did not worship our God and so brought upon themselves death and destruction,” we shout from our podiums. Perhaps. But then what of the Crusades?
The human condition desires a god. That is why every group of people from the foundations of the world has worshiped some entity. Friedrich Nietzsche, who coined the phrase “God is dead,” although an atheist and a nihilist himself, warned that without God our world would be plunged into chaos and violence unparallelled by human history. He wrote:
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Section 125, The Madman.
Did you catch that? “Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” Again, this theme of men like gods.
Nietzsche, who described himself as “The most terrible opponent of Christianity” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Friedrich Nietzsche. <plato.stanford.edu>), suffered a mental breakdown in 1889 and spent the remainder of his life incapacitated, tormented by insanity until he died in 1900. On his deathbed, he pulled out of his insane babble for a matter of seconds, at which time he sat up and shook a seemingly defiant fist towards the heavens before breathing his last (Zacharias, Ravi. Let My People Think.).
And so we wrestle with God and with history. What does it all mean? How do we piece this together?
As our world grows darker, man will continue to look for answers. And so we conclude that riches bring prosperity, experience brings happiness, sex brings joy, power brings success and all this contributes to the meaning of life. We throw some good deeds in to satisfy our egos and call it a day.
The paradigms of Christianity are in fact what make it such a unique worldview: You must die to live; The last shall be first; blessed are the poor and meek; A leader is to be the greatest servant; Only in losing your life shall you find it; Love and bless those who hate and revile you; To lust is to have acted in your heart; Those who mourn shall be filled with joy; You are to be as clever as serpents but innocent as doves; The extravagantly generous shall be rich. The list goes on and on.
It does not require a genius to conclude that worldly wisdom has failed us. Could it be that the answers we seek indeed reside outside of this world?
I would argue, as Malcolm Muggeridge much more eloquently did, that He who embodied the outrageous Christian paradigms, namely Jesus Christ, is our answer and our hope. Only the way of the cross produces peace. Only when we surrender and say, “Not my will but Thine be done” will we achieve that which is best for mankind. For God is not biased, but He loves all His children with the same passion and zeal. Men make poor gods indeed. But, we were made in the image of the one true God. Only the Sculptor can perfect His artwork.
Be blessed, as Christians we remember that although we live in the world, we are not of the world. Our Savior has overcome the world, and so made us victorious as well. Go in peace and have compassion on those who have elevated themselves to a god status in their own lives. We should never envy the predicament they have placed themselves in. Be the salt of the earth and lights in the darkness around you, that those you encounter may taste and see that the Lord is good.
And if you are not a Christian, we would love to dialogue further with you. Be sure to respond, or to write to us at Revelation_2217@yahoo.com.
God bless you.