Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Equality or Christianity - You Can't Have Both

Yesterday, we took a look at the development the idea of equality has undergone since the founding of the United States. Originally, in the era of the Founding Fathers, the primary concern was that all men were created equal. These men were building off of a long standing British worldview, one deeply rooted in the Bible, and expressed quite nicely by John Ball in the fourteenth century during the Peasants Revolt when he harangued the crowds thus
When Adam delved and Eve span,Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.
From this beginning, we saw the ideal of the egalitarian become a society were all men had an equality of opportunity - the idea that even the poorest boy could become a great titan of industry or the President of the United States. Still the idea developed yet further until today there are many (like our current President) who seem to yearn not for an equality of opportunity, but for an equality of result - that all men are not just created equal, but that all men have an equal "share of the pie."

As more and more Americans begin to think this way, and indeed begin to internalize this ethos to the point were a lack of equality in result is seen as a grave injustice, we must pause to wonder how the very unequal final result of our lives (Heaven or Hell) will be met with more and more resistance and even with incomprehension. The reasoning seems to be , "if God is all-just, and if justice requires an equal result for all, then how could God fail to be the ultimate ensurer of fairness?"

Here then we have one of those moments where two cherished belief systems clash with one another, both simply can't be true. You can either believe that true equality entails a sameness in result for all (be it economic, political, vocational, or spiritual) or you can believe that each person's ultimate destiny (the only one that really ultimately matters) will depend upon the state of their soul at the moment of death.

Jesus Christ
Christ Separating the Blessed from the Damned... Forever

Christianity teaches us that some (even many) will live lives that amount to an eternal choice for separation from God - i.e. some choose Hell. Others, live lives that shout "YES!" to God. These souls, upon death, rise to Paradise (some only after a period of purification). There cannot be a less equal result between the infinite happiness of the blessed and the endless torment and despair of the damned.

Equality of result, of course, finds this intolerable - even unjust, certainly unloving. Those who hold this theory must believe we all end up the same after death, whether that means we all are saved (universalism) or we all cease to exist (annihilationism) is irrelevant. We simply must all end up the same or inequality has the last (and only important) word over equality.

It is in moments like these, when two deeply held beliefs run contrary to one another, that we can tell what we really believe. Are we Christians who think, under some circumstances, people ought to be treated equally or are we Egalitarians who think some aspects of Christianity are nice. Every man must make a decision for themselves here. Which path will you follow? Are you more committed to our modern American understanding of Equality (i.e. equality of result) or are you more committed to Christ Jesus and His Holy Church?

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