Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Times: Nothing new in the ‘progressive’ mentality

Tuesday, 18th January 2011 by Jacqueline Calleja, Balzan

Around 300 years before the birth of Christ, the Old Testament provided us with a splendid script, Ecclesiastes, attributed to Qohe­leth – the Preacher.

In it the writer constantly laments the vanity of created things which can never satisfy the heart of man and also decries the fact that really “there is nothing new under the sun”.

After the death of Christ many of his followers left the land of Israel and started to preach the Gospel in lands whose perspective and way of life contrasted sharply with that of the land from which they had come.

The influence of Rome over the known world of the time was immense.

Architecture, social organisation, military prowess, law-giving, the building of roads, aqueducts, theatres, public baths, etc., all contributed to the strength and power of the state.

There was, however, a darker side which the first Christians had to contend with when they embarked on their mission. It was a time of routine brutality and of great moral degradation and depravity.

In his letter to the Romans St Paul so says, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves.” Besides, human life counted for nothing and this was especially true of slaves who could be used and abused at will by their masters.

With the advent of Christianity a revolutionary vision of life was now proposed. All of a sudden there was hope for those without hope and men and women found that they had a newfound dignity endowed on them as children of God.

It was now wrong to expose babies to the elements and leave them to die if the father so decided.

Women were not considered chattels to be discarded at will and divorce a violation of God’s eternal laws. Abortion and homosexual behaviour were to be abhorred and condemned. For 300 years Christians battled to present Christ’s Good News to the Roman world and often had to pay a terrible price for their fidelity to their Lord.
Two thousand years later our modern world seems to have reverted to the mentality prevalent in ancient times. What today seems so progressive and innovative was considered normal before the appearance of Christ. Divorce, abortion, homosexual behaviour, the utter scorn of human life were ordinary facets of daily life. It was only when Christ in his Sermon on the Mount declared that the meek, the pure of heart, the peace-makers, the poor in spirit are blessed that the world was presented with a radical change of values and manner of living.

Sadly the decision to revert to those laws and to that mentality pertaining to the pre-Christian era is inevitably leading us to barbarism. The fifty million unborn children, some of them almost full-term, killed every year through abortion and the suppression of the weak and the terminally ill through euthanasia is enough witness to this. For as Pope John Paul II said at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, “Contempt of God inevitably leads to contempt of man.”

What are committed Christians supposed to do when faced with this situation, when they are often derided, ridiculed and marginalised because of their faith in Christ and in His Church?

The answer lies in the firm belief that Christ, the Lord of history, is still very much in control of the destiny of mankind and that He will keep true to his promises. Like the first Christians this unshakeable faith will help them face all the personal difficulties and sufferings that living in a neo-pagan society inevitably entails.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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