Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hope in the Politics of Fear

When we last talked about the politics of fear we talked about how fear controls us.  If we continuously live in fear, be it of the economy or of those who wish us harm, we will forever be paralized by this fear and paradoxally continue down the path that will instill more fear in us. 

The path of fear holds no respite despite our ideas to the contrary.  We tell ourselves that if only others would listen we would be alright.  Vote for this person.  Support this tax.  End this entitlement.  Grow government/corporations.  Shrink corporations.  Fear collapses problems from the real and complex to the simple and easily solved.  And in doing so we devise solutions that are both flawed and damaging. 

The only real antidote to fear is its opposite virtue, hope.  Hope allows us to escape fear, by changing the unknown from a fearful black mist to a shinging cloud.  With hope the unknown is no longer to be feared but embraced (albiet cautiously).  The problems of this world, while real, are not insurrmountable.  And as such, the problems that we experience day to day do not have the power to paralize us with fear.

Hope is a virtue, not a state of mind.  It must be practiced.  It does not achieve instant results nor does it come easily.  Oftentimes we must fight ourselves and our tendencies to become preoccupied with the problems of the world.  It is a daily challenge not to give in to despair, to see problems as either insurrmountable or to find quick (and immoral ) "solutions" to them.

But hope cannot subsist in itself.  Hope needs an object.  To hope for the sake of hope is ultimately folly.  To hope in man only is to invite disappointment and disaster.  The only logical hope is in Christ.  This is because Christ, as the living God, has already redeemed the world to Him and His Father.  He takes an interest in each and every one of us.  It is to Him that we look for our hope. 

Ultimately the economic and spiritual crisis that we experience today will not be solved until we are reduced to the point where we MUST hope in Christ.  A good economy can distract us for so long from these fundamental issues.  A bad economy can inspire us to hope or it can cause us to embrace immoral solutions to the problem.  But ultimately such a deep crisis will not be solved unless we turn to Him who is the source of life itself.  A world without God is a hopeless one.

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