I have a child’s memory of World War II. My father was in the Army Air Force. He was a doctor stationed at various induction centers around the West and the Midwest: St. Louis, Lincoln Nebraska, Salt Lake City, and Colorado Springs. As a little boy, I remember a surge of emotion listening to the Star Spangled Banner.
Several older boys, who lived close by, went away to serve overseas. I remember being told that at least two of them would never come home.
In the time of Hitler and Tojo, there was a horrible paradox: there is no such a thing as a righteous war. But there is a time to say “No.”
I don’t believe this is a time of paradox. I think we should now say no to inflexible political opinions. We can say no to hatred. Just about every religion on earth has instructed us that as we sew, so shall we reap. Let’s stop reaping hatred.
I don’t know that we’ve brought this thing (Covid-19) on ourselves, but I also don’t know that we haven’t.
I moved to New York when I was a young man. It was fashionable, especially among “artists,” and would-be artists, to be wised-up atheists, or at least very skeptical agnostics. I wrote plays about how silly, even bigoted, some churches and religious factions are.
I still think that’s true. The difference now is that I realize I didn’t recognize that the wellsprings of sanity beneath most religions are profound and based on deep spiritual understanding. Our smartest scientists can’t understand the depths of quantum physics. Which of our philosophers understands, in a comprehensive way, the underpinnings of metaphysics? Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” At the end of Darwin’s life, he was unable to claim any understanding of what the world, for lack of a more all-inclusive word, calls God.
We can no longer pretend we know there is no such thing as karma. All those who say we do not reap what we sew are very likely wrong. What an excellent time to take seriously the words of American philosopher, William James: “Despairing doubt accomplishes nothing.”
We were made to accomplish. When we try, we invariably do. It’s time to suspend animosity. It’s time to really love our brother and sister–every single one. At the very least, it’s time to work hard at learning how.
Our hatreds, jealousies, and petty responses to people who are not exactly like the people in “our” little village have been at least part of bringing down on ourselves all kinds of evil.
We are not by nature hateful. If God made us in His image, then we have it in us to be loving to each other.