Monday, October 28, 2013
"The Arc of the Moral Universe is LONG...."
Is there an arc to the moral universe like spiritual leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. have stated*?
Growing up in the 1950’s and the early 1960’s, it seemed—
at least for us in a tiny Nebraska village—
that great hope lay in the future,
that we would all grow up to make
a strong moral and spiritual difference in the world.
Like our Sunday School teacher said and all the sermons we heard proclaimed,
God would use us to right the wrong in the world,
would guide us to give out the Good News
and see the lost saved,
the hungry fed,
and the destitute clothed.
We followers of Jesus would be a beacon
of light to the nations.
Unlike most of those religious delinquents and hypocrites of the past...
Of course, we “knew” also that evil was going to increase and wouldn’t be completely
defeated until Christ came again, but we held these 2 opposite truths in tension
(both that the future would get better and that it would get worse), believing both fervently.
Perhaps, we were more idealistic than your average kids. But since we were convinced of the infinite love of God in Jesus, we had great hope.
For instance, in my own family, nightly, my Baptist-pastor father and energetic mother, younger sister and I saw Blacks and Whites on our black and white TV, repeatedly marching nonviolently for integration in the segregated South and--despite millions opposing them--those idealist Blacks won!
God through his followers was moving against racism, against evil, against oppression.
We watched these brave witnesses—we were so starry-eyed--
bring very strong change, real moral development
for the good and the right,
the true and the brave!
We saw freedom win and justice move forward.
True, evil still rampaged--there were the horrific murders of 4 young girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. And then just 2 months later, President Kennedy was assassinated.
And the next summer, racists murdered 3 civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi
(Isn’t that town's name—“brotherly love”--a gross misnomer?)
But even these very evil actions helped lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And, eventually, even an African-American was elected mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi!
But then quickly after the dramatic changes for good through the Civil Right Movement,
injustice and destruction, suddenly got worse, much worse...
Many Blacks turned from non-violence to gun play, intimidation, and riots.
Stokely Carmichael leader of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)
changed to violent rhetoric and made inflamatory statements such as,
"I have never admired a white man,
but the greatest of them, to my mind, was Hitler."
And he admired ruthless revolutionaries including Che Guevara. Of the latter,
Carmichael said in 1967,
"The death of Che Guevara places a responsibility on all revolutionaries
of the World to redouble their decision to fight on to the final defeat
That is why in essence Che Guevara is not dead, his ideas are with us."
Then he was recognized as the Honorary Prime Minister of the violent Black Panthers.
And around the world wars roared forth in destruction including Arabs against Jews in
the Middle East.
And other evils never slowed, but worsened.
The increasing slaughter of Vietnam burst onto the TV screen with nightly body counts;
at least 2 million Vietnamese were killed and 58,000 Americans.
Then leaders Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated,
and Nixon and other government leaders were caught in criminal actions;
Nixon was impeached,
and the social activist movement turned violent and deadly.
The Students for a Democratic Society
(of which I was an early member at the University of Nebraska),
changed into a negative revolutionary movement, some of its members
even advocating attacks and bombings!
After Roe versus Wade, over 56 million pre-born infants were legally murdered.
Let's not even try and enumerate all the other ethical horrors taking place
around the whole world, the one which John 3:16 claims God loves.
Is there really hope for the future?
Is there really an "arc to the moral universe" like spiritual leaders have stated?
Does God truly care?
“Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross,
but that same Christ arose and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even
the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Yes,
‘the arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice.’
There is something in the universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying,
‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
in The Gospel Messenger, 1958
TO BE CONTINUED
In the Light,