Tuesday 27 February 2024

This-worldly pride of some Christians

A very serious problem that I see emerging among Christians - in these testing times - is a deadly pride rooted in a division between Good versus evil people, and Good v evil institutions (by "institutions", I include churches; but also every form of organization, corporation and formal group). 

As this totalitarian world moves ever closer to destruction; if it really were the case that there were Good and evil people/ institutions/ churches; then we could reasonably hope that Creative Destruction must prevail after a collapse. 

That seems to be what a lot of this-worldly Christians are hoping-for: they are hoping that after a collapse they-themselves (and those people they regard as Good) and/or their Good institutions (mostly churches, but sometimes another group) will survive, thrive, grow and repopulate the earth

In other words; their optimistic notion is that destructive collapse will "clear the decks" of evil people/ institutions; and afterwards only (or mostly) Good people/ institutions (implicitly or explicitly Good entities such as them-selves, their pals or followers - and their particular Churches) will be destined and tasked with taking-over the world to rebuild civilization. 

But this is gross and fatal pride at work; because there are no Good people, and no Good institutions either; not in the way that would be required for such a scheme to be valid. 

There are At Best No essentially-Good people/ institutions - there are "only" some people/ institutions "with some Good in them" and who have also made a commitment to love God and fellow Men, and to follow Jesus Christ. 

The fatal pride is belief in oneself being so essentially-Good that our Goodness is qualitative, set-apart; while the evil of others is likewise categorical, such that they can (and should) be discarded. 

This may be combined with a delusion that some institutions (especially some Church or another) just-are, or can-be-made, so essentially and permanently Good that the institution can incorporate Goodness; such that this incorporated-Goodness can (and will) be socially-implemented and handed-on to others...

And this can be made to happen with a kind of inevitability that denies both the free agency of Men, and the mixed Good-and evil of all human hearts

Pride is often regarded as the worst of sins, because it is the sin which is most likely to lead to rejection of salvation and the willing embrace of damnation. Perhaps because pride may so easily be overlooked; and perhaps too because actual pride is so often mis-identified and regarded as a virtue.

(e.g. As self-respect, confidence, indomitable will, energy, courage... Or materialist optimism gets confused with spiritual hope.).  

At any rate, Christians need to be much more wary than many are, of the danger of pride that results from a - primarily - this-worldly attitude - an attitude that places our-selves and human institutions as the priority; when the reality is that Christ's Kingdom is Not of this-world

Especially in this world ruled by evil entities, and where that evil permeates all political systems (which are now, substantially, one totalitarian political System); none of us are clean of evil, and very few are even "mostly" Good*. 

And all socially-integrated institutions including Churches have been corrupted to the prevalent evil, such that none are a safe repository of this-worldly hope; nor are they a reliable guide to the next world. 

*This does not matter, from a salvation-perspective; because Christ came to save sinners - which includes even mostly-bad people; in the sense that salvation depends on following Jesus - not on prior or present good behaviour. 


The Anti-Gnostic said...

History is cyclical not linear. We're in the soft people part of the cycle and someone will show up for the future to start it again. The world is not ending just because everyone born between 1945 - 1965 will be dead soon.

Bruce Charlton said...

@A-G "History is cyclical not linear. "

I disagree, fundamentally, with this assumption!

For me; these times are unprecedented; and Man-now is (in his nature, his consciousness) significantly different-from Man at any time or place in human history.

History has *never* repeated itself - except according to very reductionist *models" - these may have pragmatic value for particular purposes, but are never truly-true.

All civilizations and nations and clans have qualitative distinctions, and destinies.

And all Men are individual souls, each of unique character.

Francis Berger said...

Important theme! I sense fear (anxiety) plays a big role in all of this as well, albeit from a different angle. Or perhaps the pride emanates from/is a response to fear.