The Perfectly Perfect Way to Utopia
Each one of us has something we’re afraid of: plane crashes, failure, rejection, car accidents, cancer, heart attacks, and now perhaps mass shootings.
With sudden terrors that strike like the Las Vegas shooting a couple of weeks ago, America is left wondering if there is a place that can be safe anymore.
A towering economic center: a fiery rubble. No one dreamed their workplace would be rumble in a few hours.
A movie theater: a trap for a monster. No one predicted that surprise ending to the movie.
A sanctuary of prayer: a house of horror. Churches are supposed to be safe zones in a turbulent world.
And it never entered minds that an outdoor concert would turn deadly.
When we are fearful, we look for safety. What can ensure us that a crisis like this will never happen again?
Fear can make us do crazy things. And perfectly fine intentions- like trying to prevent wrong-doing- can go too far. We can make the critical mistake of thinking that we can control our way into an utopia, a place where everyone is perfectly cared for, perfectly polite, perfectly protected, perfectly...well…perfect!
I have personally experienced how the search for heaven on earth can go wrong.
I studied at not one, but two extremely conservative Christian colleges. And while I am thankful for my Alma Maters’ giving me a good education and some fond memories, I also learned a very important lesson about rules and the nature of man. Going beyond curfews, dress codes, and opposite-gender-restricted dorms, the schools had dictated so many rules that we students were restricted from many perfectly fine or good things in fear that we may in some way do something wrong.
We couldn’t have cell phones outside our dorms. We couldn’t touch the opposite gender at all, even innocently. We couldn’t use most of the internet, including Facebook. All these things were dangerous, you know, and we weak-willed, hormone-filled millennials don’t really need those things, especially in view of the dangers they carried with them.
But those rules did more to hurt the general college populace than deter wrong-doing. Because here’s the lesson: Those that want to do what’s wrong will find a way to do it. The “where there’s a will, there’s a way” motto can go in an unpleasant direction.
Because while we God-loving collegians struggled underneath some heavy restrictions, often being treated like juvenile delinquents, there were still tales of students maintaining their porn-addictions, sneaking off campus and getting drunk, and having sex. The male students developed an “underground” of banned material from movies to popular music to…yes, porn. And while some rules might have discouraged a simple, weak moment, no matter how tightly Student Life’s fist clenched, it could not prevent these acts of sin from happening. But what it did do was hurt a lot of good students by constantly treating them with suspicion and distrust.
So how does this apply to the shootings in Las Vegas?
My school’s administrations were like most of us: afraid of bad things and wanting good things. Afraid that students would ruin our lives with bad choices. Afraid that sin would ravage their school. They were just trying to create a safe, godly environment for students to learn and thrive in their relationship with God.
And we have good intentions too! All we want is to be safe. So we strap on all kinds of safety belts, helmets, warning labels, safety protocols, flu shots, monitors, worrying ourselves into hernias and heart attacks Because we think that if we can control our circumstances, then we and our loved ones will be the survivors. We even might be willing to give up some freedoms in exchange for the promise that nothing evil will ever befall us again.
But the principle is the same whether applied in a small Christian college or in a coast-to-coast nation: evil and danger are always with us. And we simply can’t control our way into perfect safety or society.
Politicians may offer us perfect peace, provision, and protection if we simply hand over a few measly freedoms and the complete power to do so. But there’s one problem with such an offer: they’re humans too. So they neither are completely powerful enough to protect and provide for us, nor are they perfectly good and are in danger of being corrupted themselves. Remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
So when it comes to the gun control issue and creating a safer America, we should remember that man cannot save themselves from man completely. Stricter regulations generally make people oppressed, not protected. The barbed wire starts facing inward instead of outward the more fences we put up around our citizens.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have rational, data-driven laws and safety plans or reasonably prepare for hard times or crises. But when we start making decisions based on emotion rather than on history, principles, or truth, then we start losing more than what we could gain. In fact, we may lose it all.
Even many Christians look for a sense of security in things that cannot possibly deliver: amassing 401ks, gated communities, FDA-approved doctors and specialists, influential political parties, our supposedly impregnable national defense, etc.
What we really need to do in a crisis is to stop avoiding the one good thing that can possibly come out of it:
We need to turn to God.