Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Religion and a Nation's Destiny

When you're driving, do you wear a seatbelt, or do you leave it off and trust that God will save you if there's an accident? Over the past eight years, I've seen the most powerful nation in the world flying by the seat of its pants, trusting that God (or the free market) will intervene to make things work out.

God works in subtle ways. Thus far, with Iraq, the energy crisis, global warming, I don't see God swooping in to make everything work out. After all, He's got a whole universe to look after. It's a bit presumptuous to expect Him to do a lot of hand-holding, particularly for a nation at the peak of its powers. "In God We Trust" doesn't mean you win the game by throwing one Hail Mary after another. If God has given us enough brain power to predict the consequences of invading a country or continuing to burn fossil fuels, does He want us to ignore what we've learned in favor of a blind faith that everything will work out?

Does this happen to all great civilizations, that at their peak their people contract a virulent sense of powerlessness and fatalism, and reject their God-given abilities to understand the world's workings? Where do we put our faith? In God, in market forces, in government, in science and technology, in ourselves? How about in a combination of all the above?