On an episode of Issues Etc. examining pop culture apocalypticism, Lutheran Minister Jonathan Fiske admonished that believers need to get away from an American Republican view of Christianity that we are meant to live a good life here and now to a ripe old age after which we go on to our eternal reward in Heaven.
Interesting how the default term to denigrate these days out of the mouths of so many professional relgionists is “America”.
Furthermore, is his enunciation of the term “Republican” also invoked to besmirch the ideological proclivity of those assembling under the banner of the GOP to believe that the path towards the broadest swath of prosperity for the greatest number is to be found in individuals for the most part left alone to pursue their own well being, dreams and callings?
Does Rev. Fiske intend to cast as much aspersion upon an American Democratic view of Christianity that instead sees the path to a society approaching something akin to justice as one where the individual is nothing more than a cog in whatever group one happens to be a part of for the purposes of the government dispersing its largess to favored demographics and constituencies?
Furthermore, is the desire to maximize pleasure and evade misery necessarily a distinctively American characteristic?
Or is it that America through the blessings of the Almighty has been more successful than most regimes in achieving this most desirable yet elusive state of affairs?
For one will find that the average Third Worlder (unless brainwashed by the likes of fanatic Islam) is usually as averse to pain as most Westerners.
It is just that their respective society has not been as successful in alleviating these vicissitudes.
Often those given towards ostentatious verbalized declarations of their own piety articulate a willingness to welcome increased suffering.
However, was it not the God such souls claim as their primary loyalty the one that imbued part of His creation with that mysterious quality known as life along with a desire to see that distinct gift continued for as long as possible?
Though it may be ended as a result of a wide variety of intervening contingencies, if the believer strives to live by these principles God has established in the social sphere, won’t the odds be in your favor for a life characterized by a bit less trouble?
After all, does not Scripture urge one to honor your mother and father so that your days upon the Earth might be long?
That text even admits it is a Scripture that dangles before the hearer a carrot in order to encourage compliance.
By Frederick Meekins