How can I keep this recognition that there is value in remaining close to God throughout the day–so that I don’t find myself rolling around in my private hell of trusting myself? The difference in outcomes is always remarkable, but the difference in how I feel in each moment of decision-making isn’t that significant.
We are destroying the planet with our progress. We tout the good things that science and technology have brought us, for good reason, but seem reluctant to accept that we are all at least partly responsible for the garbage and pollution that is running rampant everywhere.
Sometimes, it feels like humanity is walking a tightwire by continuing to move forward with all manner of technological developments, at any cost. We keep going higher and higher up this tightwire in hopes that the other side will be a safe cliff or shore where we have progressed enough to the point where the earth heals.
Most Christians are either Egelicals who deny climate change or your average, everyday mainline Protestants and Catholics who accept and thrive on the benefits of modern technological advancement. None of us are really willing to step up and say that perhaps all of the answers in how we progress as human beings are not to be found in technological innovation, but rather, simpler living in smaller homes with less.
Nobody wants to get rid of any thing that makes them comfortable, even though that thing might be part of a problem their children will have to face. Today, someone on the other side of the world suffers so I can sit here in relative luxury and great comfort typing these words, tomorrow, it very well might be everyone around the world, except for a scant few billionaires.
The problem comes when we start trying to dichotomize everything around us–there is really no way of arriving at a simplistic answer of: technology is great and can solve all of our problems vs. it will be the destruction of us all. I honestly don’t think God wants us to be without some measure of comfort while on this earth, but the level of comfort that causes us to desire being on earth forever is inordinate.
Most of us do not need even half of what we own, but owning less requires a certain kind of discipline. The same goes for the amount of garbage we produce, and the amount of natural resources we consume. There might be warning signs from our bodies if we are eating or drinking too much, but there are no warning signs from our souls if we have abandonded them and think that it is acceptable to accumulate more things than we comfortably lived with the previous year.
I think that the only way to solve any sort of tough problem where an a good and obvious answer isn’t forthcoming is to lean back and listen hard for what God has to say. Most moral dilemmas are ones of our own creation or they are brought about because we think we can see all future outcomes clearly when we really can’t. In so many sticky situations and wars of the 20th Century, the human race (which had mostly abandoned God) seemed to think that it was completely doomed. How will we survive this war, that bomb, this virus, this leader? I think that we pulled through collectively because the little people still put their faith in trust in God. The big people rarely do, of course, and they think we just got lucky, or the right person happened to come along at the right time in history, but I am not so sure.
I would go so far as to say that humanity has been collectively testing how far it can go without God. What happens if we have just one more war, build one more bomb that could annhilate us all, experiment with one more virus that could wipe so many people out? What happens if we all just go about our business as one more blithe and naive generation with its backs to God? And then, lo and behold, we see the outcome–things look as if they couldn’t possibly continue for humanity. But still, a mass of the little people return to church, if they ever left, and these are the little people who pour their hearts out to God around the world–simple, trusting souls who just want to live in peace with their neighbors, whoever their neighbors might be. Yes, there is always the rampant strains of nationalism, racism and bigotry among sections of the little people, but much of that departs when they are actually confronted with the idea of killing the Other face to face, whoever the Other might be for them. The ones who really want to see killing of others take place en masse are the ones who worship mammon, and see war as a surefire way to fill their coffers.
It then becomes easy for someone to say that religion is the cause of all wars, because the powers that be gin up desire for another war by pitting one religion against another. Except, the masses of little people by and large, when they are left to just do business with each other in peace and not get stirred up by fanatics and moneygrubbers, are people who simply want to be close to God, whatever their so-called religion happens to be. Atheism itself can become just another religion–an excuse to pit one group’s strongly held beliefs against an other group’s. The path to peace isn’t wiping out people’s religion, it’s eradicating the walls that have been built in the past by those who profit from the walls.
Such a measure isn’t one to be carried about abruptly, radically or in the form of an instantaneous change. The walls must be corroded as if they were iron being eaten at by oxygen–over time, many small connections between the groups that claim to hate each other on either side of the wall are made so that when the wall does fall, the connection are stronger and hold fast in the face of those maniacs who would try to get the groups to fight each other.