Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Climate of Fear

Scientists worry a lot. Perhaps it is because most scientists subscribe to a naturalist worldview that has no room for God, spiritual truth, and in the end, any real meaning to life. If this life were all we had to hope for, and death was merely oblivion, and conscious life a fortuitous accident, perhaps I would worry too.

The latest worry is that there is a one in a gazillion chance that a wandering black hole might eat up our solar system. Yeah, that'll keep me up nights. Of course the media jumps all over these kind of stories, adding one more worry to our ever-increasing list of things to fear. We live in a climate of fear. Global warming, disease, crime, terrorism - the list goes on and on, fed each night by the beast which is network and cable news. "Be afraid, be very afraid," is our culture's mantra, despite the reality that life in the 21st century is better than at any time in the past. Life expectancy is at an all-time high. We may be slightly fatter, but we smoke less and eat better. Pharmaceutical advances continue to make life both possible and of a higher quality. I should know. Five years ago I was cured of a deadly form of acute leukemia by a combination of chemotherapy and a drug discovered in China, which turned a disease with a 19% survival rate into one with an 80% survival rate.

In contrast to the secular parade of bad news, is the gospel (literally, "good news"). The New Testament is filled with comfort, and exhortations to cast off your anxiety and trust in God. "Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). My first sermon upon returning from my leukemia battle was Matthew 6:25ff., "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life." I have not always lived up to that passage, but I return to it often and meditate upon it. Faith is whole-hearted trust, and when I trust God, my fears recede. When I remember God's providence, my peace returns. In an "age of anxiety," faith is the only real cure, and the only way out of a life overwhelmed by catastrophic possibilities. Let the scientists worry, it won't do them any good. The only good is Jesus.


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