Christianity--The Antidote to Fatalism
Fatalism is a philosophical belief that whatever is going to happen has already been predetermined. Fatalism is a persistent feature of Eastern religions, expressed sometimes as "bad karma." The fatalistic driver sees no reason to learn how to steer his car out of a skid; he believes that the skid was predetermined by the gods or nature, and what happens will happen no matter what he might attempt to do to change the trajectory of the car. The person who is fatalistic about his health sees little reason for careful nutrition or exercise. Police and fire departments are also superfluous to people of the fatalistic persuasion, believing that policemen and firemen cannot prevent or remedy tragedies that have somehow already been determined.
Jesus Christ was the opposite of fatalistic thinking. He came that man might have the choice of an abundant life if he wanted it (John 10: 10). It is not inevitable that a person must live in Hell for eternity--it will be his choice (John 3: 16; Mark 16: 16) if he does so. Christ came at the perfect time to defeat fatalism--
Rom 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die
Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ broke the chain of fatalistic events that Satan, the accuser, had planned for us. Man had built up a sin problem for himself, one that he was unable to remedy. Christ came and paid the price so that the "inevitable" did not have to happen. Man has a choice of two futures.
Because we do not believe in fatalism, we preach the Gospel, like Paul--"2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2Co 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. "
Christ died to provide us a choice for our futures. Our futures depend upon our choices, not upon fate or the choices of some unknown god (little G).
The defeat of spiritual fatalism spills over into secular ways of life. We build highways according to carefully established principles of engineering because it is believed that doing so will enhance the chances of getting from one place to another safely. We buy fire extinguishers, believing that doing so gives us an alternative to burning up in a small-fire-gone-large. We have air traffic control in the skies to prevent aircraft from running into each other in bad weather. The teachings about the values of hard work and preparedness in Proverbs 6: 6-15 are the opposite of fatalism: If we save for the winter, we don't have to starve.
There is a certain amount of fear in the world right now. I believe that now, as always, we as God's people have choices before us. We do not have to accept a dark future. We have the power of prayer. In this country, we have the power of the vote. We have freedom of speech and the freedom to be safe in our homes while living as law-abiding citizens. Let us use the resources we have to determine, within God's will, our futures.
Our prayers to God are usually about the choice of several alternatives. We pray for rain because we believe that God had the choice between a dry future and an adequately watered one. We pray for leaders with integrity in government because we believe God holds the choices between integrity and corruption. Prayer, in and of itself, is a rejection of fatalism.
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Sid Womack, webmaster