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Do Christians care about life on Earth?

July 27, 2017

When Christians recite the Lord’s Prayer, they say, “…Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven…” But what is God’s will? In the middle ages it was accepted that this life is ‘nasty, brutish and short’. It was a trial to see whether when you die you deserve Heaven, Hell, or further examination in purgatory. You had to accept your station in life and if your ‘betters’ treated you ill that was just part of the test.

Since then things have changed somewhat. It is now recognised that everyone should be entitled to be adequately fed, housed etc. provided they have made all reasonable attempts to earn enough to support themselves. When this is not the case Christians will give food, money or practical help. Where the problem is a natural disaster there is no more they can do, but what about when the problem arises from a failure of government policy? This is something that Christians back away from – ‘it’s politics’.

No one is infallible but should we not expect a reasonable standard of behaviour from our politicians? Politicians are becoming renowned for their lying and their greed, but that is not the worst of their sins which Christians recognise to be Pride (self-conceit or hubris). That great Christian apologist the late C.S.Lewis wrote [note 1], “…power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to
others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers…The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But Pride always means enmity—it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.” The proud politician does not respect anyone else’s opinion or evidence, but has a vastly inflated sense of entitlement.

Christians may reflect upon why senior politicians are so very prone to be being eaten up with pride. They maybe inhibited in calling out individual politicians because they recognise as Lewis did, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.” So are Christians caught in a Catch 22? I say no. Politicians succomb to Pride because in our lousy political system they are simply not accountable; radical reform is required.

It is not for the Church as an institution to prescribe the details of those reforms. There are plenty of experts and campaign groups for that. The message is simple. British is a state built on sand; without radical reform we will founder.

Note 1: see C.S. Lewis, ‘Mere Christianity, book 3 – Christian Behaviour, chapter 8 -The Great Sin’, first delivered as a series of radio talks during WW2, published as a complete book in the early 1950s.

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