Lesson 18 ~ Religious Spirituality ~ Definition ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
If you belonged to a millenarian faith, how would that alter your behavior? If you have lived a life that makes it unlikely that you'll be one of the "chosen few to rule with Christ", would you spend your remaining days "living it up"? Would you repent, and spend your remaining days preaching and trying to lead others to make the "right decision"? Or, would you sit in the corner of your room all depressed, and fret over what was going to happen? I certainly don't feel or prescribe to the thought of millenarian faith. I feel we are all put here on this earth for a reason and none is actually labeled the "chosen few" only Jesus should and can hold that title. We have learned several things in the past regarding making the "right decisions"….I believe we as clergy should always be available to listen and help guide people to make decisions based on their own faith and what is right and proper to them, remembering there is no right decision that we are to impose on others but give them the right to make that decision for themselves. If you belonged to an eschatological faith, how would that alter the way you live your life? Expecting the world (or age) to soon end, would it depress you, free you to do whatever you want, or make little difference to you? How would you expect the end to come? In a sudden global catastrophe? As an instantaneous "act of God"? Or, in a slow, gradual decline (i.e. will the world end with a cosmic whimper)? I feel the world will end some day, but will it be in an instantaneous "act of God" I am not quite convinced this will be the case. After all, we [the world] have been existing in this universe for millions of years so, at least in our short time of existence, I don't fear this particular act of demise. This may be the way to go, if we were to go…quick and without time to plan or wonder. I do feel if it was a gradual decline of our demise it would be almost complete chaos with everyone knowing and trying to put an end to the finality of the world. Finally, what is your view of apocalyptic faiths? Do you believe in prophecy? If you believe there were prophets in some distant past, why are there not any today? Or, are there? If there are, how can you tell a "real prophet of God" from an insane, deluded, mad man? In other words, how could you distinguish between a Moses and a Rasputin (remember, artists conceptions say they both had beards and even looked somewhat alike)? I believe, as most others, there were prophets in biblical times because from when we were all children we were taught this. There may very well be prophets in today's social structures. However, there are also men of extraordinary ways to persuade the masses to bound with them, i.e. Hitler, Stalin, Khan, Christopher Columbus, the Pope's, Then we mention in Moses and Rasputin having beards which made them look somewhat alike….remember Jesus also had a beard. I feel the authors/artists may have thought the beard symbolizes wisdom, maturity and knowledge. Isn't it awesome that we all do have the ability and foresight to make our own decisions regarding whom and what we will follow and perceive as our "saviors".
GO IN PEACE