Recently I read “On the Causes of War” by Emile L. Laveleye. I quote here a paragraph that I found relevant to our age:
Every country that seeks military success renounces liberty. In the spirit of passive obedience and discipline lies the strength of armies; criticism, discussion, and the assertion of lawful rights are the mainsprings of free institutions. In a country at war, or preparing for war, authority must be absolute; its proper sovereign is a general and a dictator. The spirit of conquest and the spirit of freedom are therefore incompatible. Force reigns with the one, reason with the other. And the war ended, victory ordinarily seals the subjugation of the victorious people; for Bonapartes are much more common than Washingtons. Seeing, therefore, that in every war nations must stake both their prosperity and their freedom, it is obvious that, if they have their eyes open, they cannot wish for it. But if no nation will enter on an aggressive war, none will have to stand on the defensive.
Recently I was hired back by my employer after being laid off for about a month. While my work is certainly not my passion by any stretch, it was good to be making money again. Then, half way through my third day back, I sliced my index finger open with a razor knife. Deep. Blood everywhere. Expletives were said (shouted). It was not a good time.
I ended up having to go to the hospital and get stitches. Now, I’m back at home healing, not working. I’m hoping I can return to work after this weekend, but the stitches don’t come out until a week later, and carpentry being a rather dextrous job, I’m not sure if I will actually be able to do that.
I thought I felt a blog post coming on. It was going to be poignant, thoughtful, relevant and well researched. Frankly, it was quite possibly going to be life changing to all that read it.
But then the icy hand of dread gripped me and choked out all my ambition. “This too is meaningless” rattled around in my brain, until I was convinced of it. The futility of life, desire, and ambition absorbed my being. What is its purpose? Simply the enjoyment of the moment? Isn’t that merely fleeting? Is there a greater relevance to it?
The more I pondered, the less I desired the write that blog post. Who’s going to read it anyways, and if they do, so what? If it did in fact change lives, what utility is that to me, or even to them? Aren’t they in essentially the same circumstance as me, ultimately plodding onward towards imminent and and yet unforeseen death?
So I didn’t write that blog post. I decided it really was meaningless.
And despite it all, He is still good.
With the election of Francois Hollande in France, and likely the end to any EU austerity measures, I thought this was rather apropo.
Its a .pdf, relatively short read, and will teach you the basics in economics. Its a subject that I worry fewer and fewer people understand. It was written in 1946, but its surprising how relevant it seems to today’s world, and how backwards some things already were then.
The other day DandleBlog wrote an article about a Methodist minister who became an atheist. She describes the experience with religious-like terms:
[I’ve] never felt so appreciated and cared for . . . New member, just been born — that’s what it feels like.
How sad. Although, as The Dandler points out, one must wonder if she ever knew Christ to begin with.
God desires to be the biggest influence on our lives, but in His absence, what will fulfill His role? Many things can, in the sense that it could be the most important thing in your life. Sex, atheism, politics, money and practically anything else can all compete with God for space in our lives. God has a lot of roles that He provides us: Savior, Comforter, Healer, Protector. What else could possibly fulfill those roles?
Government attempts to. It provides us with education, and federally subsidized loans if we pursue higher education. If we lose our job, unemployment is there to help. Medicare and Medicaid pay for our health services, Social Security is there when we retire. If the economy is floundering, government steps in with stimulus packages. If there’s a disaster, government sends money. There hardly isn’t anything we can do without interacting with the government in some way about it.
Indeed the most oppressive governments make sure to ban religion altogether, or at least heavily regulate it. I believe that the leaders of those nations, past and present, realize that they’re fulfilling a role that God used to, is supposed to. They don’t want competition, especially from some all-powerful omniscient deity. Who can compete with that?
And that’s just the point; no one can compare to the glory of God. While governments may try, they ultimately will fall short in attempting to fill His shoes, while leaving us with a society that’s merely a shell of what it is supposed to be.