“Salvation and Sacrifice,” by Andrew Schatkin
The Biblical or Christian concepts or ideas of salvation and sacrifice area foreign to the modern world, which tells us through television and the media that everyone is happy and OK, everyone is nice, and everyone is basically good. In short, modern man sees no necessity for salvation since he sees nothing to be saved from. In a world that is all glitz and toothy smiles, the idea of salvation or of man being in need of repair, help, or reconstruction is off base to most so-called advanced thinking men and women.
The biblical perspective, or rather the Christian perspective, says that men are not so good; it says in fact that they are corrupt, twisted, limited, degraded and thoroughly lacking. The Christian faith and the Christian worldview says God has intervened in history in the person of his only begotten son to set things right or to create a relationship with him. The Christian faith says that men are not so great and, in fact, that they are deficient in basic character and motivations.
The need for salvation is reasonably obvious to any thinking person. The fact of the matter is the world is rather a mess and sad to say, is basically ruled by Satanic and evil forces. A glance at the daily newspaper reveals constant death and mass murders in the USA, Europe, and in the Middle East and other equally-horrific events and stories. Those reports are the tip of the dark iceberg of human nature. We do not know, and this is fortunate, what goes on behind closed doors in every marriage. The best that can be said of most people is that they are largely indifferent to others and can be alienated and hostile if crossed.
The idea of salvation, therefore, is quite a reasonable notion and idea. The world has been a horror show for sometime and continues to be so. In the 20th century there have been a number of genocides, which other countries and people have largely done nothing to stop, whether the Turks in Armenia, the Jews in Europe, the Cambodians under Pol Pot, the Rwandans, the killings in Darfur, and the stream terrorist attacks. It is quite clear that salvation is a reasonable idea and offers a reasonable solution to correct a misdirected and failed human nature.
Second, the idea of sacrifice is foreign to the modern world. It must be said that our ancestors engaged in animal sacrifice and sometimes human sacrifices in an attempt to understand the world and propitiate powerful forces in nature that they did not understand. They did not know whether the rain would come to grow food, whether there would be enough water, and, in short, whether they would survive in an uncertain and fragile world. Our ancestors did not have the scientific worldview and so did not understand what was going on or whether they would live on to the next day, disease-free and pain-free.
The modern world speaks little of sacrifice and sees no necessity for it since we now believe we control nature and through science have come to understand natural events and the ongoing process of life. Nevertheless, Christianity posits that sacrifice is necessary and absolutely necessary.
God sees humankind as failed. He did not wish us to be failed but we fell away from him in the
Fall in the Garden of Eden, through giving into the promise and word of the Devil that we would be like Gods and focus only on sin, selfishness, and self-love. The Christian faith argues that God as a God of ultimate and final justice had to sacrifice himself in the person of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to correct the deficit and deficiency in human nature and set us right and into the right relationship with God, the creator and Redeemer of mankind.
I think Christianity is correct in the idea of sacrifice. A woman who chooses motherhood engages in a great sacrifice, subsuming her needs and self to the needs of her children. The father who chooses to support these children chooses to sacrifice equally so. The scientist who spends long hours in the laboratory has sacrificed his life to do something good for others. Doctors who go on medical missions to poor countries also engage in a financial and personal sacrifice. Without sacrifice, there is no growth and there is no love. It is the extent of god’s love that he would send his own being in the person of his son to sacrifice himself out of his undying mercy and love for every person and every generation, past, present and future.
I think the concepts of salvation and sacrifice are reasonable ones. They explain the world because the world needs repair and, if you will, salvation, and this repair and making whole can only occur through sacrifice. It is only when we, even in our short human lives, sacrifice ourselves to the needs of others that we become fully human and attain salvation and rightness and the right relationship with god.
I find many aspects of the modern world distressing and, frankly, slightly absurd and laughable. The world of sitcoms, e-mails, the quick fix, and the popular culture hardly explain the mystery of life. Salvation and sacrifice offer us great truth and we fail to grasp these ideas and concepts at our great period.