Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rebooting the World: Christian Nihilism and the Second Coming

Nihilism is the a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility. In other words, the system sucks and we can't fix it.

There is a kind of Christian nihilism that I find disturbing. It is the belief that the Second Coming of Christ is eminent and that this world will be destroyed almost any minute. For this reason, Christian nihilists believe we shouldn't waste time opposing Muslim oppression because God is going to reboot the world momentarily and that will fix all problems.

Well I don't believe it. I think the world will exist for many more millenia. The question isn't whether the world will be physically destroyed, but who or what will inherit it. Will the world be ruled by pluralistic and tolerant democrats or will it be ruled by Islamic religious fanatics under sharia law?

Putting all your money on the Second Coming number is not a good bet, for several reasons. One is that it forces you to believe that all human effort for progress is futile and that literally nothing, except religion, is worthwhile.

Religion should add zest to life but not replace life altogether. I will not set around in fearful paralysis in my darkened room, looking for signs and wonders as I await the Second Coming. That is not living life.

People who believe that the Second Coming will occur at any minute need never worry themselves with long-term plans or thinking. No need to plant any oak trees to provide shade for future generations: there won’t be any future generations. No need to enroll in college; who needs a degree in Heaven? No need to start a retirement fund: you won’t need it in the next world. No need to take up a musical instrument, write a novel, save for a new home, or marry and start a family. Why bother? Tomorrow or the next day Jesus will appear in the sky with throngs of angels and all of us reprobates will be in deep doo-doo.

What a miserable way to live your life. That’s not for me, sorry. I hope its not for you either, because it is a cop out. Such a belief relieves you of any long term planning and the effort, risk and worry of opposing evil. It tends to produce the illusion that effort is not needed. The result will be fewer, or maybe no Christians in the world of tomorrow.

Our ancestors, who crossed the seas in wooden tubs, cleared the forests, fought savage Indians, disease, famine and bad weather, were mostly Christians. Christians wrote the Magna Charta, the U.S. Constitution and created the great nations of the West. They didn't sit on their butts waiting for the Second Coming.

Christians also saved their faith and their freedom from the barbarians. In 732, one Charles "The Hammer" Martel and his Christian army stood their ground outside of Tours and finally halted the previously unstoppable Muslim forces who had conquered much of the world.

The Muslims returned in 1683 and were again stopped, by a Christian army, at the gates of Vienna. The Christian army of 70,000 men was led by Charles V. Duke of Lorraine, against a much larger Muslim force (Turkish Ottomans). The battle marked the turning point in the 300-year struggle between the forces of the Central European kingdoms and the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

The Polish Cavalry gave the Muslims what-for that day and sent them into retreat, saving Europe from the imposition of an alien faith and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of "infidels."

Now those are my kind of Christians.

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