MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, July 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. The desire for security is deeply implanted in almost every human heart. But how and where to find it proves elusive to many.
REICHARD: WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky wrote about this in a 2009 column for our sister publication WORLD Magazine. It’s recorded in Marvin’s recent book of columns called Worldview.
MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: Søren Kierkegaard wrote sardonically that the history of the world is the history of boredom. And boredom, he added, is “the root of all evil.” He went on to say, Adam’s boredom led to Eve, Eve’s boredom led to snake-listening, Cain’s boredom led to murder, more boredom led to Babel, and so on.
Far be it from me to contradict the Danish philosopher, but an amusing-ourselves-to-death America these days may be characterized less by boredom than by anger. A few years ago liberal reporter Dana Milbank noted how angry the left is. He wrote, “even under Obama, the anger on the left is, if anything, more personal and vitriolic than on the right.”
He settled on one explanation: People get angry about a particular issue, and even that is resolved, they find other things to be angry about. Anger has become a habit.
That’s true, and not just in the present. For millennia, people have been used to being angry: Look at all the wars. Maybe we have so much fighting because of boredom, but I see it as the result of sin multiplied by social insecurity, one result of the fall of man.
Adam and Eve were at first secure in every way in the garden, but many of their descendants for millennia have been spiritually and materially impoverished—and angry.
The second half of the twentieth century became for many Americans an unprecedented era of material security. My father-in-law spent his whole working life at Ford. Millions of others had similar careers. Professors could gain tenure. Journalists could have steady jobs. Blue-collar workers had unions. Farmers had price supports. The elderly gained Social Security and Medicare. Antibiotics and medical improvements ended epidemics that once left parents burying most of their children.
And yet anger persisted. Some children still died. Cancer still threatened. Accidents happened. Cold War possibilities were nightmarish. No matter what precautions we took, the ultimate insecurity of death would soon leave all staring into nothingness, apart from the hope that faith in God allows.
So what has happened in our brave new century? In 2001 a day of horror led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the name itself generated by insecurity. Now lifetime corporate employment is gone. Newspapers are dinosaurs. New colleges don’t have tenure. Social Security is insecure. And now, even post-recession, many jobs are gone and others going.
If neither material security nor insecurity work, what’s the solution? The same as to virtually every problem in the world: faith in Christ. Since we’re sinners, we are all prone to insecurity, unless we realize that our security is not subjective but objective, not dependent on what we do but on what Christ has done.
We feel secure when we know deep down that all things work together for the good of those who believe in Him. Some might sneer: Superficial answer! No.
There’s nothing deeper.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.