"It's not supposed to be this way" Frodo Baggins - The Two Towers.
I received a circular e-mail this week which, using images of the holocaust, sought to raise concern that this dark chapter of history had been removed from the UK's national education curriculum.
I proceeded to check these claims and whilst they proved incorrect, there are concerns that some schools are not teaching on such events as they may be deemed 'difficult' for students with certain cultural or religious views to deal with.
I'm not sure anyone with a conscience wouldn't find scenes from a film like 'Schindler's List' most troubling, but the reality of that event, of the Killing Fields in Cambodia, the atrocities in Bosnia and the extermination of the Armenians, and many others besides needs to be part of our understanding of the 'modern' world, where certain beliefs and ideologies have generated such horror.
The mailing brought to mind a scene from the aforementioned film, of the children from the factory being rescued literally from the jaws of death at the gates of Auschwitz. I wondered in the light of over a century in which these dark actions of genocide have pervaded humanity what is the real value of such a moment? If modernism is correct, and history is merely as Darwin and others have defined it - a survival of the fittest - then the actions of one man in seeking to rescue a few lives from extermination is pointless - the universe is merely a large scale story of cold and dreadful cruelty with no purpose, so why should we seek to fashion ourselves as something garbed in virtues of altruism - the only absolute reality is death for the individual and extinction for all life, now or in the future.
And what of contemporary Christianity? What of those known figures from this field who say they believe in Christ and salvation yet inherently advocate peace with the very notions of our existence that have essentially invigorated such evil - that 'god' uses pain and suffering and death over millions of years as the means of His work - that this amounts to His "good" creation? What does redemption from sin and death, from a FALLEN creation mean in such a context? What are you left with beyond a "god" of the extermination camp?
Such approaches are doomed to fail us, because they merely leave us where we already are, trapped in the vicious cycle of corruption that now taints creation.
Christianity points us away from such to a greater reality -
a first, mature creation, made good, which then became corrupted.
It points us to promise in the healing of that first order, through the 'seed of the woman' - the man, Christ Jesus.
It points us always to miracle - creation, promise, incarnation, resurrection, glorification - those things which lie beyond the futility of the now - only there can this reality be granted viability and meaning, only then does saving lives become truly meaningful.
Our times are in great need for a reality that invests true meaning and worth into existence, that allows us to truly enjoy the goodness of life and earth knowing that these things truly have a value which goes beyond the misery of death and the trials we all encounter.
If we seek to remain locked into an understanding of reality derived from the same notions as the ancient pagans - that the universe essentially perpetuates itself, and we are no more than a fleeting 'blip' on that scope - then no action, no value, truly has meaning.
Christ has come and revealed to the world the glorious surety of a greater truth.
We are here by design, and our lives therefore have purpose. The key requirement now is for us to recognize that greater truth.