On Apocalyptic Anxiety: Why There’s Still Hope

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts recently on the growing phenomenon of climate anxiety–the concern over the climate change situation, whether it’s still reversible, and the concern for future generations dealing with it. This has, of course, only been exacerbated by recent reports projecting a 1.5% increase from pre-industrial levels by 2030–which brings the timeline up rather more speedily than many had reckoned on.

Climate anxiety isn’t the only thing that has people worried about the potential end of the world these days. From the resurgence of Russia, the domination of China, the concern about nuclear proliferation, the continued tensions in the Middle East, to the possibilities of asteroid or comet impact, supervolcano eruption, alien invasion, or even just the revival of right wing populism, the human race faces multiple seemingly species-ending challenges.

In the face of all of this, fear is a natural response, and despair is easy to give into–and yet, I think there’s reason for hope. I think that we in North America tend to look at these issues and feel that there must be something we can do as individuals to stop it–and yet this is the danger of our individualistic culture–it makes us think that we alone can be superhuman, and when we can’t stop things as individuals we feel less than human, completely and utterly powerless.

Yet this is not the Christian message. Paul writes at length about the Body of Christ–one body, many members, each with their own purpose to fulfill, unified and made greater than the sum by the Holy Spirit. This, I think is reason for hope. In the Gospels, Jesus claims that his followers will do all that he has done, and even greater things. On the surface, this seems ridiculous–Jesus was after all the Son of God, fully divine and fully human–how can we ever hope to match that?! Yet, sometimes I wonder whether Jesus was not talking purely about us as individuals, but rather as a community, as the Body of Christ?

When seen through this lens, I think there is tremendous hope. Humankind collectively has been working towards a more egalitarian, ecologically conscious, compassionate society for generations–so much so that even in the midst of the civil rights movements Martin Luther King Jr. saw the moral arc of the universe being long but bending towards justice–George Takei sees much the same thing today despite plenty of reason not to–and I’m starting to see the same thing, when I look at the trends of history and the hearts of the people around me.

So yes, things do look bleak–there is no denying it–and as individuals we can feel powerless (though even this is a lie). The good news though, is that we are not in it alone–these crises affect the whole of the Body of Christ, the whole of humankind. Together, unified in ways we don’t completely understand by the Holy Spirit, we can transform this world, heal it, and make that moral arc of the universe take a sharp curve towards justice. Personally, I won’t count humanity out until or unless we’re actually out. Let’s get to work, people!

Published by Devin Hogg

My name is Devin Hogg. I was born and raised in Carnarvon, Ontario, Canada. I moved to Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2009 for university and lived here ever since. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies, going on long walks, swimming, and practicing Chen style Tai Chi. I love to write poetry and blog regularly about topics such as mental health, sci-fi/fantasy series, faith, sexuality, and politics.

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