Zombies. “The Walking Dead.” “The X-Files.” We live in a time of apocalyptic fiction.
Zika virus. Ebola. Superbugs. Transgendered restrooms. Banning Muslim entry into America. We live in a time of apocalyptic fear.
“How To Survive the Apocalypse” is the title of a newly released book by two Christian scholars – Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson. It’s a fascinating title and topic for Christians in a secular culture. I hope they deliver needed answers. I’ll know when I’ve finished the book.
Apocalyptic stories “are about the end of the world and the destruction of civilization … But apocalyptic literature is not really just about the end of the world,” they write.
The Greek word “apokalypsis” means destruction and re-creation.
Joustra and Wilkinson observe: “Apocalyptic literature has always said a great deal more about who we are now…than who we might be in the future. It reveals more than predicts.”
Their observation on what we think about either future disaster or utopia is a good jumping off point for a critique of politics.
My first inspirational exposure to presidential politics came at the Library of Congress in the summer of 1975. I heard the “man from Plains” speak.
After Vietnam, Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation, America was hungry for honesty, new government, new leadership. Jimmy Carter promised a utopia – he would never lie, he would walk humbly with God.
“I’ll never tell a lie. I’ll never make a misleading statement. I’ll never betray the confidence that any of you had in me,” he said. “I want a government as good and as kind and as loving as the American people.”
From that day until now, I’ve admired Carter.
I’ve also matured theologically and politically. I understand that presidential candidates – sincerely or deceptively – offer both utopian and destructive visions of the future. We get to choose which one we want based on our vote.
A rather hubristic perspective, don’t you think?
As we enter the summer and near the real beginning of the presidential campaign, let’s listen to what candidates prioritize about the future. Is it a utopian vision or a destructive one? What they say may reveal more about who they are than what the future will be.
One candidate’s slogan is ‘”Make America Great Again.” Another is “A Future To Believe In.” A third candidate’s slogan is “Hillary for America.”
And let’s add a note about what Christian clergy say directly and indirectly about why we should vote for one candidate or the other.
Their endorsements / non-endorsements may reveal more about who they are than what the future will be.
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics. Follow him on Twitter at RobertParham1 and friend him on Facebook.
Editor’s note: Two newly revised and re-released study guides offer resources to help Christians make better decisions and engage constructively in society. “Standing at the Crossroads: A Study of Christian Moral Decision-Making” is available here. “Walking in the Good Way: A Christians Discipleship Study Guide” is available here.