January 8, 2001
volume 12, no. 8
In God we trust...or else!
Well it's another year. 2001. I wonder where those space stations and ships to Jupiter are? We're great dreamers aren't we? If it can be thought of chances are we'll figure out a way to do it. I can't recall who said it, but I recall a verse that went something like, "What a creature is man! In action, how like an angel, in thought, how like a god." Or something like that. Sounds great doesn't it? In a way, it's true, we are the pinnacle of God's creation on earth. What other creature works, transforms their environment as we do? We just don't build houses, we heat them, cool them, we build them large and small, etc. The cities of today dwarf the cities of history. We can heal and cure ourselves, and we can care for, or destroy one another (and all other life on earth) in a moment.
We are something aren't we? Is it any wonder then that some have taken the above saying to heart? The notion that mankind, through their science, education, etc, can build a utopia. That we have no need of a God, that we are, in a way, our own gods. But when mankind embraces this notion fully, paradise doesn't follow. No, often times, disaster follows.
We don't have to go very far to see how 'self enlightened' mankind would fare. The French Revolution supposedly ushered in the Age of Reason. The Renaissance brought back a time of learning and the arts (promoted and sponsored in no small way by the Church), but God was part of that 'rebirth'. But the Age of Reason claimed a new Renaissance felt that God had no place in this 'great awakening' of man. The Bishop of Paris was forced out and a prostitute was placed on his 'throne' and proclaimed as the 'goddess of wisdom'. In fact, some of the Bishops actually welcomed it since they felt that they would have greater authority and autonomy from the Pope. Actually, if we think about it, that was very appropriate. Mankind, without God, essentially prostitutes himself for whatever fad or longing is popular at the time. With cries of Liberty and Fraternity, the French Revolution brought about a greater oppression and a greater inequality than ever before. Anyone disagreeing with the 'ruling' party, with Robespierre, could expect to be accused of being against the Revolution, tried in a mock court, and sent to the guillotine. The Terror had come from France's 'great awakening'. And from the Terror, France was bled white by the rule (and subsequent wars) of Napoleon. Yes, mankind on his own did a wonderful job.
More recently, we have the example of the Soviet Union. Again, the notion sounded so good, so enlightened, so sweet. A workers' paradise, a place where all people are equal. Where mankind could grow and develop this utopia free from the 'opiate' of religion. What did they actually get? Freedom? Utopia? In a land where, supposedly all people were equal, only a handful were allowed to be part of the ruling party. Where Soviet citizens stood in line for hours hoping that bread or meat would still be there for them to buy and lived in apartments crowded by other families, the 'ruling' class got to shop in special stores where food was plentiful, where they could even buy blue jeans. One joke of the time was that Nikita Khrushchev, when he was the Soviet Premier, took his mother to see all he had. He picked her up in his private car and took her to the Kremlin to show her his office. Then he showed her his private apartments and his dacha (house) outside of Moscow. "Nikita, this is wonderful, I'm so proud of you." She said, "But what happens if the Communists come back?"
The 'utopia' communism promised never came about. Josef Stalin killed more people than Hitler, often for nothing more than that he was suspicious of them. Later, those who the State deemed as enemies were sent to the Gulags (Soviet concentration camps) to die in the snows of Siberia. Or they were sent to KGB psychiatric hospitals to be 'treated' for anti-social behavior. If the person was well known in the world, he was simply deemed a 'non' person, getting nothing, as though he really didn't even exist. The people were poisoned from nuclear fall out since it was impossible for this 'utopian' society to admit that it wasn't, and we saw an environmental nightmare almost unbelievable that is ongoing.
But today, even in the US, we hear these 'utopians' saying the same thing, promising the same thing. And, like their predecessors, promise to quell any who oppose them. We have those who want to stop exploration and retrieval of energy. It doesn't seem to matter that many now have to decide whether they want to eat or stay warm. We've seen the destruction of dams so the salmon can 'run' more easily, and in the meantime, we see California facing brown outs to conserve energy. We've heard people advocate dismantling entire companies, hamstringing them with all sorts of things, even forcibly removing the wealth of individuals to redistribute it. We could go on and on. Abortion as population control, euthanasia as a compassionate, economically viable option for the infirmed. Hate crimes which could make thought and opinions a Federal offense. AND, let's not forget, the removal of the 'bigoted, backward, enslavement' of religion and especially the Church.
Yup, it's a new year. Some have made New Year resolutions. But as history has shown, without God, all that we resolve to do, all we hope to do, or try to do, is almost sure to fail.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:1-2)
"Every one then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7: 24-27).
"The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe.
Many seek the favor of a ruler, but from the LORD a man gets justice" (Proverbs 29:25-26).
Pity and pray for those who put their trust in man.
Pax Christi, Pat
For past columns by Pat Ludwa, see VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives
January 8, 2001
volume 12, no. 8
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column
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