The rise of populism around the world is a sharp rebuke to the exponents of the liberal project. Left to ourselves and supposedly free of the artificial constraints of religion, we have not produced a nirvana of peace; but, without a concept of virtue based on a theological order, we have become the victims of a bland multiculturalism and a despotic utilitarianism. As good as a refrigerator is in every home, it does not provide for the deeper yearnings of the human heart.
When discussing the Biblical concept of the “Kingdom of God”, we were accustomed to say that it was inaugurated by Jesus, but it is in process: “already but not yet”, or begun but still in the process of completion. This formulation does make a kind of sense, but unfortunately leads us into an ‘up in the air’ impression of the Kingdom. Still worse, it can become a pious sentiment with no reality behind it.
Others equate it with heaven. The Kingdom is then safely ensconced in the hereafter, which takes it out of contention as a viable and empirical reality right here on earth.
But, I have often imagined: what if tomorrow morning everyone woke up a serious and observant Christian, firmly possessing zeal and a thoroughly God-centered way of seeing. In short: what if people woke up as saints?
There would be no more wars and the possibility of nuclear extinction would be gone. The genius of humankind would be put to solving important problems like the increase of food production and the network necessary to redistribute food and fresh water so there would be no famine or starvation anywhere on earth. We would all be called on to give free-will service to humankind. Our Churches would be filled with worshipers and our schools with children eager to learn about this wonderful God.
Universities would be filled with faith filled scholars who would plum the depths of human knowledge without rejecting, out of hand, the God who is the basis of all wisdom.
There would be no divorce and marriages would truly be lifelong because of the holiness of husbands and wives who teach their children by example the ways of compassion and honesty. Because of the right use of sexuality, there would be no domestic violence, no child abuse, and no abortion. Family planning would be done naturally and not artificially; a true discipline would replace the pill. Both women and men would be honored and revered equally.
No longer worried about building weapons of mass destruction, human genius would be free to discover ways to heal diseases. Instead of armies and navies, we would have large groups of young men and women doing works of justice and peace throughout the world.
If addictions occurred, they would be given options to heal rather than incarcerations. There would be no need for prisons since everyone would do the right and none would choose to do wrong. No need for locks and bolts and security cameras since honesty would be the rule.
Scientists would work to make our lives not easier but more socially and spiritually productive. They would find ways of predicting and compensating for the vagaries of weather and natural calamities. Effective and harmonious would be our dealing with volcanoes, typhoons, hurricanes and earthquakes. When these disasters occur, a great many people would race to help and discover strategies of taking away the destructive consequences of them.
Artists would find new ways to express our quest for transcendent values and show the path to full spiritual realization. Few tragedies would underline the importance and the value of goodness and comedies would abound.
The one true faith would work for the good of the global community.
We would not fear death since we would believe that God will take care of us and that we are eternal beings.
Sounds good right?
But we all know that the reality is quite different. Why is that?
I will explore this question in my next essay.