What impact, if any, does Christianity have on the real life issues that face the modern world and all of our anxieties in light of changing circumstances? The Bible clearly states the belief: “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This perspective of individual immortality, and the eternal judgment of the divine Creator, is the only foundation for morality, for personal freedom, and for surety of happiness and justice.
Many people are concerned about the way the world is going. Others are excited about it. Some see their culture going ‘to hell in a hand basket,’ while others see a positive utopia on the horizon. Change itself is neither good, nor bad. It is a part of all our lives.
Today, the Western world is facing nothing less than a total revolution. The implications of globalization and the philosophy of post modernity have together brought unimaginable change and potential for good or ill to the dominant culture in the world today. Perhaps not since the Second World War, has such a dramatic danger presented itself. What Hitler could not achieve by force of military power, intellectual forces may accomplish by cultural transformation—the total overthrow of Western civilization and its replacement with a new and repressive order based on the rule of the powerful.
Movements such as the “Arab Spring” and “Occupy Wall Street”, along with the riots in London, have together made us both more aware of the actual or perceived growing gap between the powerful and the disenfranchised, and alerted to the instability of the status quo.
There are two possible outcomes from the inevitable responses and re-evaluations that will come out of this time of transition. It is possible that some oppressive individual or group will seize the opportunity and come with the will to power, suppressing all who stand their way. Or a new popular strength will create a new cultural consensus, and social contract, based on a value system. This value system can be collective, (the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one or the few, as many cultures in the past, especially communistic regimes have held), or it can be individualistic (the right and responsibility of the individual, which has been the heart of liberal democracy, restored).
Our only hope, as history, philosophy and theology all inform us, for the preservation of personal freedom, is to regain the consciousness of the value of the human being as an immortal individual, morally responsible to their Creator. This perspective will lead to stable democracies, which balance social responsibility and personal freedom.
Look for Part Two .