Lesson 113- Historical Development towards the Kingdom
I ended my last program with the lyrics from a song called “The World Ain’t Coming To An End” that comes from a Broadway play entitled “Pearlie Victorious.” I think that the lyrics of this song are a clear expression of what is meant by “The Judeo/Christian Linear Utopian Concept of History.” So let me begin by repeating those lyrics so that we can better appreciate the role that we, as Christians, are called to play in moving history and evolution towards its final goal. The lyrics said:
Did you ever get the feeling when you read the paper
The world is caving in?
That the animal part of the human heart is finally gonna win?
Well it just may be that what you see is the growing pains of liberty
And the world ain’t coming to an end, my friend, the world is coming to a start
I feel it in my heart…
Everyone say when you look about you the world has gone insane
That the heavenly goal of the human soul will perish in the flame
Well it just may be that what you see is the storm before tranquility
And the world ain’t coming to an end my friend, the world is coming to a start
I feel it in my heart
A commentator makes a grim prediction the world ain’t gonna work
That the rational line in the human mind has really gone beserk
Well it just may be that what you see are the dying throes of apathy
And the world ain’t coming to an end my friend, the world is coming to a start
I feel it in my heart… The world is coming to a start…
And what are some of the historical trends that suggest the direction of this evolutionary process. Well, first, let’s look at some of the insights we can get from the lyric of the song that I just quoted:
First, the overcoming of the “animal part of the human heart” which, in previous
programs I discussed in terms of Freud’s concept of the Id and its relationship
the non-verbal, subjective, intuitive, impulsive, feeling-based right hemisphere
of the brain. Helen Keller, who lived seven years without any sense of language,
described her right lobed existence as a place of “empty thought”, which, of
course, is exactly what the Old Testament’s word for hell, Gehenna, means.
Thus, without an active or developed left lobe, we are for the most part animals.
Second, “the growing pains of liberty” suggests that “freedom” is a major
goal of the plan. Jesus, the Diveine Logos, had said that He had come to “set the
captives free” and St. Paul, after his conversion experience, speaks of being set
free from the law. Niels Bohr, a famous physicists, also observed that the
movement of evolution was towards freedom since its general trend was from the non-conscious Chemical Level, ruled by the Natural Laws of Chemistry and Physics, to the unconscious or subconscious Organic Level, ruled by
blind passions and instincts, to the conscious Mental or Cultural Level in which
human beings, with “free will”, were able to direct the future through their
decisions. As one poet put it, “Man is evolution become aware of itself.” Thus it appears that “freedom” and “free will” are an essential
ingredient in God’s Plan.
Third, the song says that there is a “heavenly goal for the human soul.” In other
words, the plan involves a process that has implications not only for what
happens here during our lifetime but also for some future, eternal state that
occurs after we die.
Fourth, there must be a “storm before tranquility.” This suggests that the path
that we are on is not an easy one. Although it may lead to eternal peace, it
involves going through many difficulties and struggles and, only those who
persevere will survive. St. Paul compares his own salvation to that of an athlete
involved in a race who must continue to exert himself as the finish line appears.
You might remember in this context, the vision I mentioned of one of my
friends who was shown two roads by Jesus. One was a road based on ease,
comfort, and pleasure and it led to a door, behind which, was a soul-chilling
darkness, and the other was a road full of storm, stress, struggle, and difficulties
and it led to a door, behind which, was a soul warming Light. This suggests that
the road to eternal life and the fulfillment of God’s plan is the path shown to us
by Jesus in which He had to face the challenge of the Crucifixion, in order to
experience the Resurrection.
Fifth, the plan involves the “rational line of the human mind.” Thus, rational
behavior based on logic and understanding is the way out of Gehenna, the
Kingdom of Mental Darkness. This rational line is the result of the Divine
Logos that entered into the left hemisphere of the human brain and it is what
separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s the part of our mental
processes that knows primary purposes and operates according to facts, rather
than feelings. It knows that food is for nutrition rather than taste and sex is for
reproduction rather than pleasure. And because it knows primary purposes, which come from the mind of the Creator, it brings a moral dimension to our behavior that is lacking in animals. It is the source of what we call civilization and of our linear approach to life that sees life and behavior as goal-directed and as moving from an Alpha to an Omega. It is also the source for the Judeo/Christian Linear Utopian Concept of History.
Sixth, the plan is activated when the spirit of “apathy dies” and humans stop viewing the purpose of life as simply “existing” and suddenly realized that they are involved in a developmental universe in which they have a major role to play. At that point, they will see all the problems that disturb their “slumber” as opportunities to become involved in the creation of the Kingdom of God. As the hymn, “The City of God” says:
Awake from your slumber; Arise from your sleep.
A new day is dawning for all those who weep.
The people in Darkness have seen a great Light.
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.
Let us build the city of God, may our tears be turned into dancing.
For the Lord, our Light and our Love
Has turned the night into day.
We are sons of the morning; we are daughters of day.
The one who has loved us has brightened our way.
The Lord of all kindness has called us to be
A light for His people to ser their hearts free. (Refrain)
God is Light, in Him there is no Darkness.
Let us walk in His light; his children, one and all...
O comfort my people ; make gentle your words;
Proclaim to my city.... the day of her birth...(Refrain)
O City of Gladness, now lift up your voice;
Proclaim the good tidings that all may rejoice. (Refrain).
Let us build the city of God, may our tears be turned into dancing.
For the Lord, our Light and our Love
Has turned the night into day.
As Christian we believe that God is using history as a stage to bring about the completion of His plan for creation. Thus, to study history is to study God’s plan for creation and, to become involved in history is to become involved in His plan. In previous programs I have tried to show how evolution, in general, and human history, in particular, are the result of the efforts of the Divine Logos, who is Jesus, to move the creation from its original chaotic state towards higher levels of organization and life.
To accomplish this end, the Divine Logos has used various laws and principles. For example, there is the Law of Complexification that states that things will naturally move from the simple to the complex. Then there is the Law of Organization and Specialization that states when things reach a certain level of complexification, logic will require that they begin to organize into specialized areas or functions that are necessary for the survival of the whole. Thus, the human body, which is composed of a fantastic number of cells, each of which has its own life span, has organized itself into various organs, such as liver, heart, lungs, eyes, ears, etc… Another law is the Law of Complimentarity that states that two things that seem different and in opposition are really involved in a complimentary relationship in which paradoxically they are working towards some common end. Thus, the thief and the locksmith, who seem to be opponents, are paradoxically cooperating in designing the best lock. The locksmith needs the thief to find the defects in his design by breaking into it. However, paradox of paradox, the locksmith is also helping the thief to design the best burglar tools as he has to upgrade his instruments and skills to match those of the locksmith. So are they enemies or friends. The answer, as in all paradoxes, is both.
We see this law operating in nature in the contests between various species for survival. To survive, each has to develop methods to avoid being eaten by its predator and, at the same time, develop skills to capture those forms of life upon which it preys. Thus, through the Law of Complimentarity, there is a “balance in nature” among a multitude of species, all of whom are competing to survive and, in the process, are involved in a mechanism for the mutual self improvement of the group. The lions are improving the speed of the zebras while the zebras are improving the stealth of the lions. It’s not Walt Disney, who would have nature one happy cooperative family. Rather, it is the Divine Logos who sees that struggle and competition are often the most effective way to cooperate towards a higher common goal.
It is this seeming harsh system that is a stumbling block for many kind hearted secular humanist who want a gentler and kinder world based on cooperation. Thus, they oppose Capitalism, which is based on competition, and favor communism and socialism, which is based on cooperation. They can’t stand the idea of there being “winners” and “losers” and are constantly trying to change the results through programs designed to create “equality.” Therefore, as we approach the international level of organization and the creation of a New World Order, a major issue is whether it will be based on Capitalism and competition or Socialism and cooperation, or on a third system that contains elements of them both.
Of course, this conflict between competition and cooperation is just another example of the Law of Complimentarity in which both are part of the same system that is designed for mutual improvement and survival. There is something to be said for “cooperation” and something to be said for “competition.” Therefore it is not “either/or” but “both/and”.
A closer look at the Law of Complimentarity show that in essence it is just another example of the Hegelian Dialectic in which “cooperation” is the Thesis and “competition” is the Antithesis and the combining of the two is the Synthesis.
Finally, there is a Law of Identity that states that everything must resist whatever is incompatible with it own identity or else it will lose it. Thus, on the biological level, our bodies contain an immune system that is designed to attack anything that is foreign. Rats, who live in packs, identify each other by smell and they will attack any fellow rat that does not have the smell of the pack. Many animals, including humans, establish a group identity based on territory and they will defend it against all foreign invasions. And finally, the Hegelian Dialectic, whose Thesis represents our basic ideology, will resist and defend its belief system against any foreign ideas. Antitheses that are incompatible with itself are rejected and only those that prove their compatibility will be accepted. If it fails to do this, it will eventually lose its identity. Thus, although the modern world puts a high value on tolerance, nature, through the Law of Identity, seems to value intolerance. In fact, we might say that the super-tolerance that seems to be so highly valued by many in today’s world could have the same impact on the social body as the AID’s virus has on the biological body. Both destroy the mechanisms that are necessary to defend the integrity of one’s identity.
These natural laws, from a Christian point of view, are the laws of God or, even more specifically, the laws established by the Divine Logos, or Jesus. Thus, if you want to know how Jesus thinks, meditate on the laws that He created. In fact, not only is Jesus the source of these natural laws, He, as the Logos of God, is the source of everything based on logic in nature and, also, the source of everything that flows from the logical left hemisphere of our brains. Just to mention a few things, He is the source of morality, law, mathematics, government, social organization, the division of labor, agriculture, writing, reading, science, technology, civilization, and the Judeo/Christian Linear Utopian Concept of History. He is the instrument that the Creator is using to move human history towards its final goal: the coming of God’s Kingdom. In other words, He is the Alpha and the Omega.
Yet, it appears that many, if not most, Christians have no awareness of this because, if they did, they would see that the historical issues of their times are challenges that God has placed there for their consideration and response. They are, as they are fond of saying, the Body of Christ who, as His hands, feet, eyes and ears are suppose to be acting in His stead to reform those areas that are inconsistent with God’s Kingdom. Instead of seeing life as something that is static and unchanging that one simply “gets through” by “accepting things as they are”, they would see it as a dynamic struggle in which the Forces of Light, which are negentropic and moving towards higher levels of organization, integration, and unity, are involved in a contest with the Forces of Darkness, which are entropic and moving towards disorganization, disintegration, and chaos.
Like Don Quixote, we would refuse to “accept the world as it is” and instead see life as a quest for making the “world as it ought to be.” As Gentle Revolutionaries, we would instill in ourselves and our children a sense of militancy and purpose that called upon each generation to “pick up their crosses and follow the Truth” The “crosses”, of course, are all of the antitheses that our own personal lives, and history itself, place before us. Instead of seeing them as problems sent by the devil to defeat us, we would see them as challenges sent by God to strengthen us. However, like Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemene, who begged the Father to allow Him to avoid His Passion, our flesh, at first, is repelled by these “crosses” and seeks to avoid them. But, again like Jesus, we have to submit our wills to a Higher Power that calls upon us to enter the struggle to save the world by taking upon ourselves the sins of Mankind. Translated into practical behavior, this means that we must become “part of the solution” rather than “part of the problem.”
Every historical age has faced some major problem that stood in the way of the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Anyone who has studies history realizes that the “good old days” were not always what they were “cracked up” to be. Like today, they were a “mixed bag” of “good and evil”, “saints and sinners.” Whatever improvements our present time has over those past periods are the results of the efforts of the “saints” and, whatever problems remain are the result of the “sinners.” The “saints” were those people who saw evil and injustice and responded by entering the negentropic struggle to overcome them. The “sinners” were those people who, having “eyes to see they couldn’t see and ear to hear they couldn’t hear”, either ignored, or even worse, accepted and became involved in the evil and injustices of their times.
The first group of sinners, whose sins were the “sins of omission”, were the apathetic, respectable people who, not wishing to disturb their tranquility, refused to become involved in the historical issues of their times. They are the group that one sage was thinking about when he said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.” They are also the ones that Jesus was thinking about when He said, “I wish that you were “hot or cold” but because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”
The second group of sinners, whose sins were the “sins of commission”, were those actively involved in the promotion of evil. This was the group that St. John was referring to when he said that the reason God condemned men was because “the Light came into the world and they loved darkness.” These are the people who never learn from history or experience and, as a result, they keep on repeating the same behavior while expecting different results.
Our present age is no different from those in the past except for the fact that we are benefiting from the efforts of the previous “saints” but still have to deal with the inherited “sins of the past.” Each reform movement from the past, moved the historical process one step closer to the Kingdom of God on Earth and every remaining problem is a challenge to the “saints” of today, to move the historical process another step closer to the fulfillment of God’s plan.
So how far along are we to the fulfillment of God’s plan.? Well, over the last 1000 years, we have taken several giant steps towards the final goal, which, as our previous analysis indicated involves a point when “the animal part of the human heart, is set free Gehenna and finally, accepting its role as an active agents in the building of God’s Kingdom, overcomes its apathy and strikes out for the heavenly goals of the human soul by following the Divine Logos who is the source of the rational line in the human mind. How this happened is a long involved story but we can’t understand where we are in this historical drama until we first understand where we came from. Therefore, I am going to attempt to give you a quick overview of how the Western world developed from the Feudal Period during the Dark Ages to the modern world today.
As I review this history with you, I want to emphasize that every time we see the influence of the left hemisphere in human affairs, it is an example of the growing influence of Jesus and another step towards the coming of God Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Around the year 1000, Europe began to emerge from the Dark Ages that, between 500 and 1000 A.D., marked a period in European history where the Church was trying to pick up the pieces following the collapse of the Roman Empire due to barbaric invasion. For over 500 years, the Church struggled to tame the Germanic and Norse barbarians by converting them to Christianity. This period was sometimes called the Age of Faith because there was little opportunity for learning during it since the highest priority was staying alive. Whatever culture and learning that did exist was due to the Church and its monks who copied ancient manuscripts, including the Bible. However, life during the Dark Ages could by symbolized by a circle, emphasizing “existence” rather than a “line”, representing development.
However, around 622 A.D. a new religion developed in the Arabian Peninsula when Mohammad organized the polytheistic desert tribes under the banner of the One God, Allah, who many consider to be Yahweh, the God of the Jewish Old Testament. In a short time, the Islamic Arabs were conquering large areas of Africa and Asia and were threatening to conquer Europe. Since they controlled the Holy Land, a problem arose between them and the Christian Europeans over the passage of pilgrims. This led to a series of Holy War, known as the Crusades that began in 1095 A.D. and continued for almost two hundred years. During this time, the Europeans came in contact with a culturally and intellectually superior Islamic culture that resulted in a rebirth of Art and Science in Europe known as the Renaissance. Of course, Art is related to the right lobe of the brain and science to the left lobe and together they constitute the dynamic duo that is responsible for civilization and progress.
The Renaissance caused the European countries to break out of their circle of existence and place them on the linear path of development that has continued in the Western world until today.
When the Roman Empire collapsed around 476 A.D., the barbarians had sacked or destroy most of the cities and urban areas and thus, during the Dark Ages, the Empire, which had been the supermolecule that had organized and held together vast areas of Europe, now, like a disintegrating dead body, fragmented into smaller and smaller units. However, the Law of Organization and Specialization kicked in and the disintegrating parts united again on a smaller level as soldiers and knights left over from the Empire, formed a symbiotic relationships with free farmers who became serfs. A new political and social unit known as a manor was formed for the mutual survival of both. It consisted of the lord and his knights who built a castle for protection from the invading barbarians, the serfs who provided the food and the clergy who provided spiritual guidance for both. Thus, Europe consisted of small patches of land, each controlled by some lord and his knights. The only unifying force for all these separate parts was the Roman Catholic Church who united them under a common faith.
However, the Law of Complexification would not allow this patchwork of separate manor, each of which had their own separate money and units of measures to exist. As time passed, smaller units united with larger units as minor lords swore allegiance a fealty to larger lords, who eventually evolved into kings who claimed dominion over large areas. This became known as feudalism and it was the political and economic system of Europe during the Dark Ages.
The economy, for the most part, was a subsistence one which emphasized the basic needs and produced very little surplus beyond the needs of the manor. However, there existed a merchant class which for the most part were Jewish because the Church thought that to be involved in money and profits was threatening to one’s salvation and, since the Jews were already condemned because of their rejection of Jesus, it didn’t matter whether they were involved. As a result, a stereotype developed that portrayed the Jews as being greedy and money hungry. Thus, in the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare portrays Shylock, a Jew, as demanding a “pound of flesh” for an unpaid debt and in Oliver Swift, Fagan is a Jew who is the leader of a band of street urchins who steal for him.
However, all of this changed following the Crusades. These Holy Wars with the Moslems produced a desire in the Europeans for the silks, spices, and goods of the East and thus, the merchant who was at the bottom of the social ladder during the feudal period of the Dark Ages, now became a very important person. During the Dark Ages, these traveling merchants would travel from manor to manor where they would set up tents and invite everyone to a fair where their goods would be put on display for sale. However, as trade and the frequency of these fairs increased, it became inconvenient for them to be constantly setting up and taking down tents and so they applied to the lord of the manor to allow them to set up permanent buildings. He was happy to do this for a price since he was “land rich but money poor” while the merchants were “land poor and money rich.” Thus, the lord granted a city or town charter to the merchant in return for taxes. This, of course, is still done today, where Philadelphia and other cities have a charter to exist from the state in return for taxes.
As time passed, the buildings created by the merchants increased and became the basis for what would become the towns and cities of Europe. Thus, there developed in Europe the pattern of a castle surrounded by a little village or town.
Up until this time, the three major classes were the lord, serfs, and clergy with a smattering of craftsmen. All of these, except for the clergy, were based on heredity. If your father was a lord, you were a lord. If he were a serf, you were a serf. And, if your father was a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith. The only free option opened to anyone was the clergy that accepted candidates from all classes. Thus, if you were a serf who wanted an education and didn’t want to push a plow for the rest of your life, becoming a priest or monk was an attractive option. If you were the second, third, fourth, or fifth son of a lord becoming a bishop or cardinal was an attractive option since the law of primogeniture required that only the first son inherited the lands of the father since, if it was equally divided among all the sons, after awhile, the parcels would becomes so small as to be impractical. Yet, a lord without land was like a jockey without a horse. And since the church had great land holdings, becoming a bishop or cardinal allowed landless lords to control the lands owned by the Church.
Now this is not to imply that everyone became a priest or bishop for ulterior motives but it certainly had some role to play with the scandalous behavior of some of the clergy during this time. Wherever there is a concentration of wealth and power, you can expect that it will attract some of the wrong people. And, unfortunately, the Church had amassed a large amount of both. Eventually, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
However, the point that I want to make here is that as the Renaissance Period followed the Crusades, it brought about the collapse of the Feudal System and planted the seeds for modern society. As the permanent towns sprung up around the castles, the merchants needed more and more workers to run their enterprises and, under the Feudal System, there wasn’t any free laborers to be had since everyone was tied into an hereditary occupation. However, discontented serfs began to run away from the manor and sought employment in the towns. The merchants were eager to hire them but they feared the reaction of the lord. Therefore, the custom developed that if a serf could remain free for a year without being caught, he could be openly hired by the merchant after the merchant had paid the lord for his loss. This would eventually lead to the creation of two new classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie, were the business class who lived in towns and the proletariat were the “free workers” whom they hired.
But I’ll have to continue this historical review in my next program because I see that my time is up. Here’s Dom!