Friday, June 28, 2013

In Defense of Everything Else (an introduction)

Every one has an eschatological vision. Every one has some idea of where things are headed, where it will all end up.

Naive optimists can only see an inevitable forward progression: yes, there will be occasional failures (sometimes major ones), but they are only bumps on the road to utopia. Every cloud has a silver-lining, people are fundamentally good, and all things work out in the end if you just believe. They extol patience and indefatigableness as the highest virtues: never give up and never surrender. Sunshine is their favorite thing, Rainbow sherbet is their favorite dessert, and their favorite season is Spring, when all things bloom in their season.

Meanwhile, naive pessimists can only see an inevitable downward spiral: yes, there will be moments of true success (sometimes enough to deceive even the elect), but they are nonetheless an accident, for all things are fundamentally rotten, and their natural "progression" is down and out. Cynicism and survival are their virtues: don't be taken in and don't be stepped on. Rainy Day and Darkest Night are their favorite colors, and their favorite season is Winter, where everything freezes and dies...just like the universe one day.

Still, others live in a hazy mid-point between these two extremes. They're never quite sure where the world is headed: some days they're an optimist and on others they're a pessimist. They hope everything will turn out all right, but they fear it will not. I think it's safe to say that this is the eschatological vision of the majority of men and women: uncertainty mixed with flashes of hope and despair.

Now, the Christian has an eschatological vision as well, and it has neither the naivete of pure optimism or pure pessimism, nor the insecurity of points in between. Rather, its vision encompasses all the strongest and most searing points of both optimism and pessimism, fusing them together in an amalgam so fantastic it could only be the truth, for truth is never the one thing or the other but all things true and good working together. There is a reason all points on the scale have their attractions: it is because they are all right (and thus, are all wrong). All truly "good" ideas from the world are simply Christian ideas divorced from other Christian ideas, and these amputations run rampant with good intentions, bowling over everything that does not fit into their reductionism. Likewise, all eschatological visions of the world simply contain Christian ideas divorced from the bulk of Christian thought, for Christianity is not a reductionism. It is the religion of the God who is True.

The Christian eschatological vision has three main elements: (1) the inevitable corruption, (2) the divine intervention, and (3) the unstoppable redemption. We shall consider this elements in order and consider their practical applications.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment