Phelps wrote, “Could our common horror to bleak headlines be an indication that we know intuitively how our humanity is intertwined, and that we are all being drawn to a more harmonious and hopeful future?” The answer is No. Mankind has been spiraling toward disaster ever since the beginning and will continue on that hopeless trajectory probably at ever increasing speed.
Pastors and other religionists have consistently given the impression that man (generic for everyone) is inherently good and left to his own devices will do what Phelps mentioned...create a harmonious future. According to scripture, this will never happen. If it were a possibility, the ministry of Christ would have been unnecessary.
The reason is simple, to wit, that the mover and shaker of the world is not God, though he can intervene in the world's affairs. The primary power governing the globe is Satan, the personification of Evil. In fact, Jesus made it clear on more than one occasion that Satan is the “ruler of the world.” The apostle Paul also made that fact clear more than once, in one writing referencing Satan as the “evil god of this world.”
Virtually from beginning to end, the scripture points toward the inevitability of catastrophes in real time and a final destruction, its most vivid accounts being in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, which most notably describes such things as the “Battle of Armageddon,” about which theologians argue incessantly and self-styled prophets make erroneous projections as to timing, participants and outcomes.
Inherent in misunderstandings of what scriptures indicate is the strange practice of preachers in constantly emphasizing “love” as the great unifier (harmonizer) of people. It isn't. Perhaps the greatest unifier is fear, which unmistakably is the case today. NATO, formed to forever stop the Soviet Union from conquering the world after World War II, is a good example.
Jesus did say to “love your enemy,” but there's such a thing as “tough love,” which is the kind of love accruing to the ilk of bin Laden, Saddam or, during WWII, Hitler. Preachers notoriously neglect to mention that Jesus, at his last meal with the disciples before the crucifixion, told them to purchase swords even if clothing had to be sold for funds. He explained that they were for defense, not aggression. He was talking about the exercise of “tough love.”
On another occasion, Jesus made a whip and administered corporal punishment to defilers of the temple – tough love. On another occasion, he called church leaders whitewashed tombs and vipers – tough love. He endured the crucifixion – tough love. In a world he acknowledged was/is ruled by Evil, Jesus was no wimp, but he recognized the enemy.
In 1983, President Reagan fingered the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” In 2002, President Bush 43 labeled Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “axis evil.” Communism, undergirded by atheism, is an example of Evil ruling entire countries such as China and Russia, in both of which their leaders killed mega-millions of their own citizens – cannibalism, the opposite of love.
The “hopeful trajectory of the world” is an illusion...doesn't exist and never has. The world, as judged by Jesus Christ, is on a trajectory of evil that will never be interdicted, no matter how hard many good people try...and there are millions of good people. Collectively, however, the human race is inherently evil, notwithstanding the contradictions by the self-righteous. Satan rules.
The current moral trajectory in this country is evil, not least because of the inordinate emphasis on “diversity/political-correctness,” which insists on the “anything goes” philosophy, no matter how seamy or perverted or protected. The paradigm for Evil expressed by Jesus was Sodom (Matthew 11). So, the business at hand for the folks who try to “harmonize” accrues to making life as bearable as possible for as many people as possible, i.e., fighting Evil.
And so it goes.