“Instead of a world living in peace because it is without religion, why not imagine a world without nation states?… Every major war in the last 300 years has been fought by nation states, not by the Church… The state apparatus for investigating civilians now is far more extensive than anything dreamed up by the Spanish Inquisition, although both were created to serve the same purpose: to preserve a government’s public ideology and control of society, whether based on religion or on modern constitutional order.
“…The point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making ‘laws’ beyond its competence.
“Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about ‘Holy Mother the State,’ or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.”
Francis Cardinal George, “The Wrong Side of History“
I like Francis Cardinal George’s take on this idea more than John Lennon’s, but it’s such a beautiful song, one must admit:
Not only the music, the lyrics themselves are very appealing. This is a socialist song and socialism, as well as other similar ideologies, is rooted in the postmillenial heresy (e.g,, see Rothbard https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/the-menace-of-the-religious-left/).
The socialists and their predecessors want to bring heaven on earth through the strong arm of the state, tricking us through the desire for peace, endless abundance, and fulfillment of all our dreams, which is within us. The results are disastrous, as economic theory foretells and history has shown many times: an endless nightmare of war and dearth.
Sure. I’m not promoting socialism with the song, or a world with no religion (obviously). But the song does echo some of the sentiments of the quote. And it’s pretty.
Yes, it is true. Also, the desire for a world without religion, where we do not have to curb our passions, will be fulfilled in the next life, when (hopefully) we’ll see God face to face.
Hi bedware, I’m not sure we can conclude that a world without religion would necessarily be one in which we do not have to curb our passions. Just as we cannot conclude that one with religion would necessarily be one in which we would have to curb our passions.
The purpose of religion is to tie, to restrict our passions. In this created world we definitely need the *true* religion, because our nature is wounded by original sin and therefore our passions sway us into sin. In the next world, we will need no restriction, since it will be impossible to sin. Will we need a commandment not worship other gods? Or to honor our parents? To curb our sexual appetite? Of course not. So there won’t be any need for any religion in the next world. To summarize:
The next world will be without religion (in the sense of restriction) and, being in union with God, we won’t have to curb our passions.
This world needs the *true* religion so that, with the the help of the sacraments, sacramentals, and prayers, we may control our passions and live a life of grace.
Hi bedware, perhaps we view the “purpose” of religion differently. I see the Gospel as the Way to eternal life. I follow Him and His Way of nonviolent love (agape) of friends and enemies. If all I need is a set of chains to keep me from hurting someone, then a prison camp would do.
Yes, you’re right. I meant religion in the etymological sense of the world: something that ties you up. This part may be less palatable, but we won’t need it forever, because when perfection is reached, it will be evacuated (cfr. 1 Corinthians 13). Also if one has grace, keeping the commandments is second nature (or at least facilitated), as you pointed out. The compulsory aspect seems to go into the background for those who have charity . But here on earth everyone must keep them, whether out of love of God, as the more spiritually advanced do, or out of fear of eternal punishment at least, in the hope of growing in charity. Following St. Paul, we distinguish three stages in the spiritual life, from slave (keeping the commandments out of fear), to mercenary (that’s what I am supposed to do), to son (living in God’s love). The average church goer is in the middle.