Friday, January 30, 2015

World's Greatest Challenge

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I'm writing an essay for my high school social studies class, and our assignment is to write on what we think is the greatest challenge facing the world today. What would you say it is?
-- R.T.
I've seen this question asked of Billy Graham before, and my answer remains the same. Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing the world today. Nothing else has such far reaching consequences and is so ignored in a dire time for action. But the truth is, it may already be too late...
DEAR R.T.: Obviously, our world suffers from a long list of problems and challenges today, some of which are new, although others have been with us as long as the human race has been on this earth. Poverty, war, racism, addictions, economic and social injustice, ecological disasters, famine, disease -- the list is almost endless.
That's an odd list.

Poverty: The Catholic church with all its riches and holdings is not doing anywhere near what it could do to help curb poverty. Many other churches simply make mega-pastors rich and do next to nothing for the community. Purveyors of the prosperity gospel actually prey on those in a dire financial state rather then help them. Then there's the fact that the most conservative of US politicians also tend to be the most religious, while thumbing their noses up at those in need. So please excuse me if I don't see belief as a magic wand of human goodness.

Racism: Why would Billy actually include that in this list? The Bible condones racism for crying out loud!

Addictions: Yes, addictions can be bad. But does that seriously deserve a place on a list of the top problems facing the entire world?

Economic and social injustice: Again, these are things that the most religious of politicians in the USA don't think are a problem. Typically they just imply that those that are poor are just lazy and don't deserve any help. And when it come to social justice they (and many churches) actively fight it. We saw plenty of this throughout the last couple years in regards to marriage equality.

Ecological disasters: This prospect also doesn't seem to bother those same politicians as long as there is money to be made...

Famine: This is a problem that will only get worse if climate change continues to be ignored.

Disease: Again, our most conservative politicians are making this worse as well with their default anti-science stance.
But beneath most of these is a far deeper problem, and that's the problem of the human heart. 
And as you can see, believing in Christ does not magically make one's 'heart' any better than another.
This is why we need Christ...
But here's the thing. Following the Bible can cause some of the very problems Billy listed, as well as many others. It's far from some perfect moral text.

So no, not enough people believing in Christ (or Zeus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, etc)  is not the worlds greatest problem. I would argue that too many people being fundamentalist in their religion is a bigger problem. But for me, climate change is still the deadly elephant in the room that everyone just seems to be happy ignoring...

-Brain Hulk

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