Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas

Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!

Uh oh! What about the atheists? What do we say to them during this "season?" I don't want to leave them out. :o)

H/t: Glenn Beck

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Secular Eschatology

"Because if we are willing to work fo rit, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal . . ."
-President Barack Obama, June 4, 2008

"Repent for the end is near!" Such words are synonymous with right-wing, fundamental Christians obsessed with Bible prophecy and the Book of Revelation. However, an obsession, or maybe fear, of the end is not limited to readers and fans of the Left Behind Series. Secularism is riddled with its own eschatology.

The world has just finished its long anticipated conference in Copenhagen where the world's nations sought to resolve the climate crisis. Essentially nothing was accomplished. What was "accomplished," was quit minuscule and will amount to nothing. By all accounts, it seems that the greatest achievement was the agreement to "continue the work" that was began in Copenhagen. In other words, the nations agreed to meet again.
Global warming (or global cooling depending on the generation)* is secular eschatology. It is complete with the same proponents of Christian eschatology. Christianity begins at Creation which became corrupt as the result of the Fall (Genesis 3) that affected human nature and the world. After centuries of legalism, liberty, and government, it became clear that man could not resolve his own problems. Therefore God showed up in the Incarnation. The Incarnation led to the cross and the resurrection where the sting of death was removed through the grace of God centered on the sacrificial death of Christ. And when Christ ascended, He promised to return.
The Return of Christ finishes the work of His first coming. The first coming was centered on the cross; the propitiatory work of God. Christ came to reconcile men with God and He did so through His death and resurrection. While on Earth, Christ taught and brought forth the Kingdom of God. At the second coming, Christ comes to set up His physical, earthly Kingdom where He will rule as King.

Christian eschatology consists of judgment and grace; sin and forgiveness, destruction and healing, fear and hope, destruction and recreation. Christ comes and brings the Utopia we all long for in our hearts. We want peace. We want prosperity. We want community. Eschatology makes those promises.
Secularism is no different. Gone are Christ, a bloody cross, an empty tomb, a rider on a white horse, Armageddon, and judgment. Like Christianity, the secular worldview consists of the same parts ending in eschatology. Creation; the problem; the failure of generations; salvation; eschatological/Utopian hope. And like Christian eschatology, secular eschatology comes with the promise of peace, prosperity, health, and community. The end is the same, the means is radically different.

Take the most prominent secular eschatology for example: global warming. Without the dire warnings of disaster and destruction, global warming would gain no ground. Al Gore, the UN Secretary, and many others have repeatedly warning that in 1 year, 2 years, 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, much of the world would be under water and there would be no hope. Global warming presents the world with disaster. Judgment for our pollutant sins, if you will. The warnings for doing nothing lead to discriptions of apocalyptic scenereos where people die and the world is destroyed.

By uniting together, however, the world can resolve its own crisis. Richer nations (like the United States and China) must be willing to sacrifice their wealth and excess pollution to bring equality among the nations. Every political discussion of resolving global warming involves rich nations like ours helping 3rd world countries to become more prosperous. The idea is for us to sacrifice to help others. An international form of socialism between nations. By doing so, the world would be united, working together to resolve the problem of climate change, that brings about economic prosperity for us all.

Prosperity comes when we all share. Peace comes when we put all our petty differences aside and work together to resolve the greatest crisis of our time. Health will come when our children grow up in a clean environment free from the dangers of pollution and heat. Utopia will be in our grasp.

The connection between the proposed solution to apocalyptic climate change and socialism/ Marxism/ Communism is significant. Such economic theories have always been promoted with the hopes of peace and prosperity for all. The distribution of wealth, and the equal distribution of a nations (or worlds) resources promise to bring Utopia. The dictator or leader of such a society is a type of messiah who promises peace and prosperity to all who follow him.

The common denominator between all of these and similar secular eschatology, however, is frightening. They have all and will all fail. Miserably. The 20th Century graphically revealed the evil and utter failure of Communism. Instead of prosperity, it brought poverty. Instead of peace, it promoted tyranny and war. Other Utopia mindsets like the sexual revolution has led to broken homes, divorce, millions of abortions, and STDs.

The Utopian promise of global warming will likewise fail. The efforts of climate change alarmists should be applauded. Unity, environmental protection and care, and justice are all great things. But the Utopian hope of global warming will disappoint as all secular eschatologies do.

The reason for their failure is rooted in their understanding of man. Secularism puts all of its hope in mere man because God is an unwelcome nuisance. Man must resolve economic injustice, war and tyranny, and environmental catastrophes. And man will always fail.

Herein lies the great chasm between Christian and secular eschatology. Christianity puts its hope in God. Christians are called to pray, "come Lord quickly!," because we understand that God is our only hope. Things will only get worse, not better, apart from the spread of the gospel. Man is corrupt (rooted in the Fall) and destined to get worse. Secularism, on the other hand, has no other choice but to put their trust in man. Since God is off limits, man is our only hope. And this usually means that hope is rooted in government and power. But power corrupts. Beurocracy stalls. And goverment tax. Nothing ever gets resolved when man is given more power.

Let this be a warning to the world. All of your efforts will fail. Though the United Nations has been together for decades the amount of violence and war has only increased. Though modern medicine and technology has vastly improved over the centuries, with every cure comes hundreds of new illnesses. With every victory comes an avalanche of defeat. With every brief moment of hope comes an eternity of fear.

This is the beauty of the cross and the Christian worldview. Where man repeatedly fails, God eternally triumphs. Is that not the picture of Scripture. For centuries man relied on himself. Legalism (the Law), liberty (the Judges), and government (the monarchs of Israel) only made things worse. Legalism leads to tyranny. Liberty leads to violence and chaos. And governments only serve themselves. And then, a baby was born and a Savior was executed and raised. By the gospel, God comes to the forefront and His ways resolve our failures. God triumphs in the gospel, not through government or failed human attempts.

The gospel is our only hope. Let us be careful in buying into failed eschatologies that resolve nothing and only add to our long list of problems. Man has tried to bring Utopia and has failed every time. God, on the other hand, is forever triumphant. Therefore, let us pray: Come Lord Jesus. Come!

*Remember the hysteria regarding Global Cooling in the 1970s. Perhaps most infamous is the cover of Newsweek magazine in the 1970s warning Americans of the coming disaster of global cooling.