Sunday, November 9, 2008

Secular Counterfeits to Eternal Joys

While this whole campaign season is over the fight for what is fundamentally moral against what is immoral continues. Over the last few years, the Republican Party has been undergoing a political shift away from pro-life issues. This is not to say that all republicans (particularly President Bush) have gone astray – but rather that there has been a push towards national security as the key to victory in elections. In 2004 President Bush won because of moral issues (he beat John Kerry, a lifelong Catholic, among Catholics!) but GOP strategists simply attributed more to national security voters over voters who emphasized moral issues. It is my hope that the GOP will realize that they can’t run a half pro-lifer like McCain (who supported embryonic stem cell research) and in 2012 we will get a true pro-life candidate. Indeed, the GOP has a lot of work ahead of them.

But I still have hope that the Democrats can see the light on this issue.

During the next four years, however, we have a great deal of work ahead of us as well. We need to be real pro-lifers. We need to help people see in their hearts and know with their minds what abortion really is. But more still, we need to show people the kind of love only God can give and the joy that comes with putting others ahead of ourselves, even sacrificing ourselves for the good of our neighbors.

Our society offers us a worldly counterfeit to the love and peace of God.

Ever ask yourself why so many people are depressed and even committing suicide in America? Or why since the sexual revolution in the 1960s has the crime rate spiked, education dropped, drug use skyrocketed, and divorces rampant? As Catholic theologian Christopher West put it, the argument over abortion is not about when life begins – it’s about the meaning of sex. The thing is, when a culture fails to understand what sex is, people and families get hurt. Now a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and when we destroy the family, the cell of the State and domestic church, we take a gun to the head of society and pull the trigger.

Our society tells us to do whatever “feels good” in regards to just about everything. Sin can seem great at the time but afterwards people feel alone, hurt, neglected, abused, and unwanted. More still, our culture tells us to avoid the confessional and simply go to a psychologist who will charge us a hundred dollars an hour to confess our sins to a person who is not bound to hold them secret. What’s worse is that instead of being forgiven of our sins we are told that “there’s nothing to forgive.” Society made you do it; your parents made you do it; your brain made you do it. We are taught to take no responsibility for our actions and are thus deprived of the great joy of mercy and forgiveness. [On a side note, I’m not against psychology as I am good friends with a psychologist and there are people who really, really need to see one. What I am saying is that the total rejection of Confession for the Almighty Scientific Psychoanalysis is simply another secular counterfeit for the eternal joy of mercy.]

Here’s a biblical counterfeit. Remember Barabbas and Jesus? When Jesus was arrested, Pilate offered the people a choice: the political rebel, Barabbas, or the spiritual messiah, Jesus. Barabbas wanted to forge a kingdom on Earth while Jesus sought to establish the kingdom of Heaven. The choice: the world or God. More still, Barabbas’ name literally means Son of the Father (bar-Abba). So here we have Christ, God the Father’s only Son, in competition with a man named Son of the Father. The people choose the later and confused worldly “freedom” to the freedom Jesus offered: “the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

The freedom of the world, symbolized by Barabbas, only leads to the slavery of sin. True freedom, which Christ offers, sets us free to do what is right and just. Sin makes us addicts, the grace of God enables us to truly be ourselves. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how happy you are deep down. Is there something missing? If there is, you might give Christianity a try.

I think you’ll like it.

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