Sunday, March 23, 2008

Prepare For The End Of Civilisation

From The Times
March 24, 2008

The Easter message: prepare for the end of civilisation

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gave warning against materialist greed yesterday and prophesied the collapse of civilisation. In his Easter Day sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Williams said that the luxuries we took for granted could not be sustained forever. We faced a culture in which thoughts of death were too painful to manage, he told worshippers.

Criticising modern society’s approach to mortality, Dr Williams said: “Individuals live in anxious and acquisitive ways, seizing what they can to provide a security that is bound to dissolve, because they are going to die,” he said. “Societies or nations do the same. The individual grabbing the things of this world is in fact the mark of an inner deadness.”

The denial of death was also at work in societies that assumed that there would always be enough oil, power and territory to meet their desires, Dr Williams said. “We as a culture cannot imagine that this civilisation, like all others, will collapse and that what we take for granted about our comforts and luxuries simply cannot be sustained indefinitely. To all this, the Church says sombrely, don’t be deceived: night must fall.”

Secularists have said that Christianity, in celebrating the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Day, denies the reality of death, but Dr Williams spelt out the opposite message. “Easter is not about denying death, and the Resurrection does not make the nightmare death on the cross unreal,” he said. “Death is exactly what the artists and scientists and psychoanalysts say: it is a full stop to human growth and response, it is night falling on everything we value or understand or hope for.”

He said that fear of death was natural. “Do not attempt to avoid it or deny its seriousness . . . When the tradition of the Church proposes that you think daily about death and prepare for it, it is not being morbid but realistic: learn to live with the fear.” He added that Easter was not about how Jesus survived death: “It is about a person going down into darkness and the dissolving of all things and being called again out of that nothingness.”

1 comment:

Beatrix Kiddo said...

You are what you read. ;)