#95 – Rapture or Reality

Few factors influence human behavior more than our worldview whether as individuals or collectives. For example, one might say that America’s foreign policy shifts according to the worldview or narrative prevalent in the nation. Remembering that worldview is defined as our beliefs, attitudes and values we would do well to insure as best we can that the story we tell ourselves is a healthy one. For example, Rollo May in his book Man’s Search for Himself focuses on the importance of beliefs and values. “The belief in individual competition and reason we have been discussing are the ones which in actuality have guided modern Western development  and are not necessarily the ideal values.” (1)   A controversial statement? We shall see as we continue.

Angela Stent, who is the director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and a professor at Georgetown University, seems to suggest that American foreign policy influenced by Christian mythology might not be in our best interest and could even be confusing for other nations. “The story Stent relates about the contrast between the American and Russian approaches to the Middle East is particularly telling. Washington has been consistently hampered by the contradictions between its values [Rapture] and its interests [reality]—to the great confusion of Egypt, Syria, Libya and almost everywhere else—whereas Putin’s Russia has been able to maintain friendships from Israel to Iran.” (2)

The current (2019) U. S. Secretary of State is an evangelical Christian. “Hours before leaving for Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon, Mr. Pompeo hosted an on-the-record conference call with just ‘faith-based media,’ barring journalists who regularly cover the State Department.” (3)

Do Americans want the foreign policy of their nation based on the religious myth of a Christian minority with a decidedly mythological worldview? “Studies show that white evangelicals are much more likely than other Americans to believe that Israel fulfills a biblical prophecy. Known as Christian Zionists, they believe God promised the land to the Jews, and that the gathering of Jews in Israel is foretold in the prophecy of rapture—the ascent of Christians into the Kingdom of God.” (3)

The wars, ethnic cleansing and famine so common on our planet have their origin in myth. The resulting deaths of men, women and children are real. Our inability to distinguish between rapture and reality, between a worldview based on a religious myth and one based on the reality of the entire human community, has our species descending into chaos. How can we deepen our understanding of this dilemma? Click on the link below to find out.

Insight # 95:  “What began as a universal belief system built on myth and allegory was transformed by the third and fourth centuries A.D. into a ritualistic institution based on a literal interpretation of myths and symbols. To take the Gospels literally as history or biography is to utterly miss their inner spiritual meaning.” (4)

Link:

References:

  1. May, Rollo. Man’s Search For Himself. New York: Norton. 1953, page 8.
  2. Oliver. “Unraveling the Russian Enigma.” The New York Times Book Review. March 31, 2019, page 19.
  3. Wong, Edward. “The Rapture and the Real World: Pompeo Mixes Beliefs and Policy.” The New York Times Sunday. March 31, 2019, page 9.
  4. Harpur, Tom. The Pagan Christ. New York: Walker and Company, 2004, pages 138-141.

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