Needed: A Healthy Dose of Reality

Christians of all people should be realists. We should not be overly optimistic, nor should we be overly pessimistic – we should just be realistic. We should seek to look at the world as it really is – indeed, as God sees it. That of course is not always easy to do, but we must try to do this anyway.

There are millions of people who do not see the world accurately. And they get into all sorts of trouble as a result. It is incumbent upon all of us to see things as accurately and realistically as possible. We all know the importance of this when it comes to actual physical vision.

Not long ago I was told by an eye doctor that my eyes were so bad that I should not even be driving. I was actually driving illegally back then, although I did not know it. Mind you, I should have known it, because I once left a meeting I spoke at, only to find three lanes of traffic heading my way! I could not even tell the right side of the road. (My eyes have since been fixed thanks!)

realityBad eyesight can get us into all sorts of trouble. It is the same with our mental perception of reality. If we get things wrong, or if we view the world myopically or in a distorted fashion, we can get into a real mess. The first step in making a difference in life, in doing some good in the world, is to see it correctly and in focus.

Some people have a hard time doing this. Some can be so forever negative and pessimistic that everything they see is grossly distorted. But overly optimistic people can be just as problematic. I once had a student who even told me he was an eternal optimist, and that he always sought to see the best in everything and everyone.

That was certainly the case as I discovered. As I sought to teach on some of the culture war issues, he kept challenging me and disbelieving me. He had a real hard time grasping that there actually might be political ideologues out there that have announced their intent to kill us.

He really could not get his head around the fact that there are in fact evil groups pushing evil agendas, and that they have vowed to destroy the West, especially everything that has to do with the Judeo-Christian worldview. He was clueless to the many enemies of the faith.

He had such rose-coloured glasses on, and so much believed that everyone was basically pretty decent, that he often challenged me as I tried to demonstrate that we really are in a war, and there really are diabolical groups out there who are doing all they can to wipe us out. He was clearly not looking at the world realistically, but instead had his feet planted in the clouds.

When there are very real enemies out there who have declared their intentions about us, we had better get our feet back on to earth and real quick. That is not the time to try to see a silver lining in every cloud. That is the time to wake up and prepare for battle.

One fellow who has long had his feet firmly planted on the ground while so many have theirs up in the clouds is William Kilpatrick. While way too many other Catholics are absolutely clueless as to the very real threat of Islam, he has been very sober and realistic and accurate as to the threat political Islam poses to the free West. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/02/26/a-review-of-christianity-islam-and-atheism-by-william-kilpatrick/

He has a new article out entitled “Assuming the Worst”. And sometimes that is exactly what we must do if we would view the world accurately and without blinders on. He begins this way:

Sometimes it pays to assume the worst. Jews who assumed the worst about the Nazis in the early days of Hitler’s rule fled Germany to safe havens and survived. Most of those who assumed that the situation couldn’t get any worse stayed put and did not survive.
The disposition to assume the worst goes against the grain for Americans. Except for a small minority of conspiracy theorists, Americans tend to be of the optimistic sort. It would be difficult to convince most of them that bad times lie ahead. That may be because nothing really bad – bad in the sense of large-scale devastation and loss of life – has happened on these shores since the Civil War. The next most trying time for Americans after that conflict was the Great Depression. But very few living Americans have a clear memory of that period. For that matter, few Americans have any sense of history and, thus, no measuring stick against which to compare the present. We could be slipping into the next Dark Ages and many would be none the wiser.
Speaking of the Dark Ages, you may have noticed that they seem to be staging a comeback. Sex slavery, crucifixions, beheadings, and other seventh-century Arab customs now vie for headline space with computer hacking and space probes. The recent resurgence of Islam version 1.0 is just one of many reasons why it might not be wise to assume that better times are right around the corner.
Any event or series of events can be looked at from either a glass half-full or a glass half-empty perspective, but there are a number of trends about which we may be justified in assuming the worst.

He goes on to look at a number of these troubling trends that those with a Pollyannaish outlook are just not seeing, or are not properly concerned about. He especially focuses on Obama and his disastrous policies of appeasement if not downright treason when it comes to America’s enemies. He continues with these words:

It’s not just paranoid right-wingers in America who worry about the intentions of the Obamites. So do many of our allies – including allies in the Middle East. Obama’s terror-friendly policies have convinced them that they can no longer rely on the U.S. For example, in August 2014, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist forces in Libya without, as would normally be the case, informing the U.S. or asking for its consent. Apparently, they were worried that Washington, still in the grip of Arab Spring fever, would give the Libyans advance notice. So Obama trusts Libyans to study nuclear science in the U.S., but the Egyptians don’t trust Obama to keep secrets from Libyan Islamists.
The Saudis are also having second thoughts about their fickle ally. Along with Egypt and the UAE, they have been working to undo the effects of Obama’s Arab Spring policy. One of their initiatives is to convince the Emir of Qatar to discontinue his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and to shut the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera TV network, which, critics say, is a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has already shut down its own Al-Jazeera channel.
Whereas Obama has done everything in his power to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The UAE list of terrorist organizations also includes the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society – two Muslim Brotherhood affiliates which have long worked closely with the White House and the Justice Department. Meanwhile, Egypt and the Gulf States are also deeply concerned about the administration’s continued outreach to Iran and its seeming unwillingness to thwart Iran’s nuclear agenda.
The Saudis and the Egyptians seem to be assuming the worst about the current administration. Maybe the rest of us should do the same.

He concludes with some words to his fellow Catholics (which all of us need to hear):

According to various polling data, a majority of Catholics voted for Obama in the last two presidential elections. All that talk about social justice, hope, and change was difficult to resist. On the other hand, Catholics who gave Obama the benefit of the doubt over issues that are often considered (mistakenly) as specifically “Catholic” – birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage, religious liberty – have been proven to be more than a tad naïve.
Catholics have, so to speak, been fooled once. According to the old adage, the blame for being fooled once can be assigned to others – in this case, dishonest politicians and manipulative media. But Catholics who persist in believing that Obama and his left-wing machine have the country’s best interests at heart when it comes to racial matters, health care, immigration, and foreign policy will have no one to blame but themselves when the next bill comes due.
Sometimes, assuming the worst is the best policy.

Quite so. As I pointed out to my overly optimistic student, trying to see the best in everything, even to the point of denying reality, is hardly a Christian virtue. Followers of Christ, of all people, should be the most level-headed, realistic, and sober people around.

There is nothing at all Christlike about hiding our heads in the sand, trying to always think “happy” thoughts, or pretending that everything is simply peachy when in fact it is not. This is a recipe for disaster, and is hardly praiseworthy.

It is time that some Christians wake up, and wake up fast. Waking up to the real world around us would be a good place to begin. Otherwise these folks are simply part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

www.crisismagazine.com/2015/assuming-worst

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10 Replies to “Needed: A Healthy Dose of Reality”

  1. Seeing is a bit of a thing of mine! Always has been since I was a kid and an unbeliever. I am always working at it. One of the great seeing’s is Moses in the wilderness. There are things you cannot see unless you are in the wilderness, other you can only see from the mountain tops. The prophetic scripture can only be seen from being on Mt Zion.

    Moses saw a burning bush! It was not a big thing but just a scrubby little thing. Most of us would have missed it, but he didn’t. So he turned aside to see. The implications were huge! The Rabbi’s have it! The implication was if he looked into this burning bush (this is not just a casual glance) he would see something that would change him forever, and he was.

    I have had this experience! Once you see, that is it, there is no going back, you are different. I have an inkling of what he saw but that is another story, it has to do with judgement. Fire always involves judgement. When I went to bible college I went to get the fire of God and I did, but it was not what I was expecting, on the contrary it was the opposite, it was a very very hard lesson. I could accept or reject what I saw! And it was not nice! Knowing the truth sets us free that is knowing the truth about ourselves as God reveals it!

    God in his providence sends us all burning bushes but we refuse to turn aside to see, we turn our backs and walk away because out intuition tells us we will not like what we see.
    It may be a failed marriage! ministry, relationship, business even a serious illness, and many of us live in denial! With Moses he had stepped out in confidence but also in presumption and had to flee into the wilderness. God was waiting there but the preparation took a long time.

    There is an amazing burning bush today, absolutely incredible, but no one really wants to look into it, only over it or with a soppy christian sentimentality that makes us feel good. That bush is Israel and God dealings with her. Those have been unbelievably harsh, but if he dealt with them that way then why not us? So we avoid really looking, especially into the fire of the holocaust.

    If we look into that blood and guts and horror an amazing phenomena happens, we see God in the midst rising up. The three Hebrew youths saw the same thing in their fire.

    In our day there are many fires, Islam is one that is starting to flare up, but can we really see past the outer edges to see God behind it? Another is the condition of our churches, better not go there! The truth is we don’t really want to look because if we see God in our fire we will be judged and fall to the ground stricken and broken.
    Jacob saw a fire, he met an angel, but he never tried to run away he wrestled and out of it he became changed, forever, even his name was changed! Has ours? We are cowards at heart, it is not that we can’t see, it is we wont see because we sense we will be found out.This is where real faith is found, we step out facing death, all the rest is a fraud. True seeing comes with a cost, it costs us our lives, all the rest is religious posturing and nonsense even if it is building the biggest churches in the world. Dont be duped! Millions are! They don’t see because they WONT see! That last thing they want to consider is the very place they will find God!

    Part of the final judgement is over our refusal to turn aside to see who “His” brothers” are and we need to realize to turn our backs on them is to turn our backs on HIM! The great falling away is over refusing to see when God has shoved it it right in our faces. Sorry for the long post.

  2. Thank you, Bill, for this enlightening post. When we see ourselves in the Light of Christ, as John did on Patmos, it can be a sobering revelation, but it is a revelation.
    It can jolt us awake to a greater reality than the one we were living in. It can be stern and austere and hard to take, but the Prodigal Son realised it was better to return to his father’s house than stay in the pig sty, eating husks and wondering where his next meal was coming from.
    Scripture prophesises dark days ahead, but whistling while we walk is not condemned. God is in the miracle business and we are to praise Him for them.
    It can be difficult to find balance in the midst of difficulty and depressing times, but I’m encouraged by your site.

  3. How about “Hopeful Realists”, to shift away from being too cynical/pessimistic, and to take into account the reality that Jesus has won the battle on the cross?

    I.e. a little more to the ‘optimistic’ side than middle, without caving into pure optimism.

  4. Dear brother Bill in Christ.
    What an amazing God that he transforms everything for those whose heart is fixed on Jesus. By seeing “a dose of reality” that it has been explained the grace upon grace is produced because of faith. The beloved disciple of Jesus John testified “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (3:16). The Spirit of Jesus assures us that “nothing will be impossible for you if you have faith as little as a mustard seed” (Mt 17: 20). Again John’s witness shows the empowerment (God shares His divinity) is in us to shine in the darkness. (cf, Jn 1: 4-5)

    ‘A dose of reality’ was well demonstrated when Jesus spend 40 days in the wilderness and tempted by the Satan. Jesus’ charisma leads us to see an Only Reality. In that Reality it contains both the Truth of Death and the Truth of Life. Human being is merely a worldly existence before Jesus accomplished the Will of God in the Cross. But man’s existence is no more worldly existence only but also divine existence. ‘The dose of reality’ is inspired into a heart-touched understanding of God’s will to me.

    God owns us. He is with us wherever darkness is. Therefore, we belong and own God and we know firmly whose power over Death and Life with abundant grace and discernment, when we experience fear, anger, sad, desperation, complain, fighting, frustration, blasphemes, hatred. Jesus after 40 days in wilderness went to his own town Nazareth to preach as a Sign of objection in Israel. I start to see clearly I am still in the wilderness (of this world) fighting with my own demons at the most of time. Nevertheless, God unceasingly empowers those who fight for truth and lead them into his wilderness to share his Word and form a prayerful selfless spirit in them. Thankfully, I am able to begin join the journey of Jesus with saints to Calvary without baggage (money, food, extra tunic, sandal…etc), instead rather the Word of God.
    Thank you Bill. May God bless you and keep you close to his heart.
    LYT Walters (Taiwanese) – wife of BT

  5. Dear Naomi. Thank you for that beautiful comment to my wife’s posting. I believe that Naomi was the great grandmother of King David. You are in good company!

  6. Dear BT Walters, yes Naomi was King David’s great-grandmother and I was delighted to be able to walk through the Old City of David in Jerusalem last October. During which time I and my son was being shot at by muslims living in and around the Pool of Siloam and the Kidron valley. Jerusalem is certainly the crucible of the world. Here is to living in His reality and fighting with our own demons.
    Blessings, Naomi

  7. I just watched Walid Shoebad’s “Islam and the Bible” which is one of the Prophecy Series. It is amazing what we read over, because we do not have the background that Walid has. But I am so grateful to God that He has given us men and women like Bill and Walid who dig and have the ability to make the rest of us understand the deeper things of the Bible and we as Christians need to go deeper as well and understand what God thru the Holy Spirit has written in His Word for this day and age.

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