This perhaps sounds like an odd question. What do you mean? Doesn’t it just exist? One of the most difficult concepts for us Westerners to understand is the fact that much of the world is not like us. Though we boast in our pluralism, it actually seems to backfire on us and gets in the way of our ability to truly grasp the core differences that shape our world. One such difference is the presence and nature of true liberty.
We are often confused by such places like North Korea, or the radical terrorism of the Middle East. We betray our lack of understanding when we say such things as, “They just need education! If we can bring them Western ideals and discoveries they will be enlightened, civil and reasonable, like us.” Perhaps we don’t actually say these things out loud but I think that these are the ideas often sit at the base of our thoughts and impressions.
“For He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.”¹
Our greatest good is all that we really ever care about. Its the only reason we do anything. Its the fundamental reason in everything we do – we believe it will bring us good. Its the main reason we get up for work early in the morning when we would rather sleep. Its the main reason we take out the garbage. It’s the main reason we bend over backwards for difficult people and situations in life – because we believe that, at the end of the day, doing it will bring us more good than not doing it.
Have you heard some of the crazy stuff people believe these days? I mean its nuts. For one, there are those thousands of people that believe that that God wants them to take over the world for him, murdering, robbing and raping anyone who gets in the way. There’s also people that think that God just created the whole universe in 6 days. Yeah, just erase hundreds of years of scientific research for the sake of a “Holy Book” that was written thousands of years ago. If that’s not wild enough, there are people who actually look out on the universe and see nothing but a biological machine completely void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. Many of these people really believe that love and beauty are not real at all – they are mere evolutionary mirages who’s sole function is to keep us moving. Talk about crazy!
We live in a pivotal point of history. Ever since the Enlightenment and the birth of the modern era, an important shift has taken place in the Western mind. Religion and the church began to recede from the frontline of cultural influence, being steadily replaced by the autonomous worldview of reason, science and the self. Thus, secularism was born. Over the course of the next few hundred years, Western people have found it increasingly less necessary to turn to religion for answers to the big questions in life.