by Bishop Peter Stasiuk
I often hear the Pope saying that Europe, once Christian, now needs a whole new conversion back to Jesus Christ. The Russian Orthodox Church says as much about Russia as do we about the world we live in. You have heard that we are secularized. This basically means that we are really trying to live without God, without Christianity. I do not know the inner workings of everybody’s soul, for that matter anyone’s inner soul, but it would seem to me that most of the younger people in our society may in effect be trying to live a secular life style. They do not go to church, they seem not to pray, and defend morals which seem to be clearly outside bible teaching.
Religious observance seems to be left to those who are outwardly committed to it. Those, who like to believe that they are somewhat secret Christians, are on closer inspection not very Christian at all.
But even committed Christians do not seem to be able to compel those of lesser or no belief to change their ways.
Commercialism, self-service, and even self-pity, along with rampant secularism, seem to rule the day.
Let us consider how much effect Christianity has had on the world and our society. We do not have to go far. We should just study what life was like 2000 years ago without the influence of Jesus Christ.
Roman Empire leaders achieved their high positions in society by skulduggery and barbarism. They even often declared themselves as gods. In Rome, tens of thousands cheered as people, amongst them the early Christians, were torn to pieces by lions or gladiators.
Has human nature changed in the last 2000 years? Absolutely not! Human morals and culture have improved a lot and this mainly by the belief that God has created man in his own image and likeness. The progress we have made in history has to be attributed to the church which Jesus told St Peter to found.
Yes, we must acknowledge that religious diversion and over-enthusiasm has created a lot of evil in the world. Christians are people and we are all vulnerable to bad things. This is called sin, and a sign that in our journey to God we often fail.
At present we are headed to a return of atheism and paganism which would be a reflection of what we saw in Rome 2000 years ago.
Under atheism we struggle with human dignity. This is so because it denies any form of spirituality and leads to egotism.
But then Christianity in recent history has survived many different forms of atheism. We might best remember Karl Marx’s declaration that religion was the opiate of the people. His theory led to the disgusting evil of the former Soviet Union.
We must all recognize how much society owes Christianity. We all should defend more vigorously against the insults which are levered against it by so many people nowadays.
History does repeat itself. Perhaps our self-centeredness makes it difficult to reflect on the big picture but it would seem that there is an increasing need to do it.