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The Kingdoms of Men are Fragile

October 18, 2020

History is replete with the amazing accomplishments of human beings. The vast empires and civilizations throughout the world that once commanded the heights…for a time. You may be familiar with some of them—Egypt, Babylon, Mede-Persia, Greece, Rome, Mongolia, Eastern Dynasties, Spain, France, Britain, the United States.

Is it our time now? Will the American Revolution that built great cities, forged a vast land, generated amazing wealth raising people from poverty, developed incredible technology, freed billions of people, and created institutions that evolved over our nation’s history as foundations for one of the greatest civilizations in human history, fall in the latest iteration of the French Revolution?

Human beings have a tendency toward a normalcy bias. We think just because something occurred yesterday it will remain the same today, in spite of what may actually be happening. It is called reality.

I think there is also a tendency in the younger generation after being immersed in the virtual reality of their gaming worlds to believe they can just respawn when everything goes wrong back to a time before they made some critical mistake. If only it were that easy. Too bad life is not like the latest version of Civilization®. Unfortunately in the real world it took thousands of years, hundreds of generations, the rise and fall of vast empires, the blood, sweat, tears and treasure of our ancestors to carve this and every other nation out of the dirt. All the while bearing the sins of what it took to do so.

I realize it is difficult to identify with that as we sip our customized lattes viewing the feed from our social media apps on our mobile phones. Not giving a second thought to how it all magically works through the actions of thousands of people. The ones who grew the coffee beans, harvested them, shipped them to the processing plant, bagged them, bought them, ground them and served them to you. And don’t get me started on the smart phone. Only to ascend from the basement to ride the train down to one of our grand cities built over a century to burn it down.

To what end, any rational mind wonders? If there are any rational minds left. Get ready for it. To no end. Only the end of this current iteration of human civilization. Will it be another dark age that arises similar to the one after the fall of Rome? Or will it be like some dystopic movie pumped out by Hollywood on a regular basis where zombies infest the land as what few humans remain struggle for survival as mankind did before civilization took hold. Dallas Willard once said, “Civilization is just a thin veneer over a heaping cauldron of violence.” And we are watching that veneer being ripped away with every statue that is torn down, every business that is burned, and every knee that is taken or else.

Or will it be a renewal? The beginning of a new era where we defeat the forces of darkness which desire to plunge us into the abyss of chaos. If Matt Ridley, who wrote the Rational Optimist is correct, which I hope he is, human civilization will advance as it has before. Things will get better as we pick up the pieces and rededicate ourselves to the advancement of that which is good for all human beings.

The kingdoms of men are fragile, but they are subject to the free will and agency of human beings created in the image of God. What will it be? Time to choose.