Today I went to Church at the parish I was a member of for many years in a service in the original building which is well over one hundred and fifty years old. This might not sound old for a church but it is very old for an Australian church. There are many commemorative plaques in the building dating quite far back, two at least of which are dedicated to war dead. This got me thinking further about the idea of sacrifice.
“Would you die for what you believe?”
I’ve been wondering how effective a question this would be rhetorically to ask someone I strongly disagree with. Especially someone who considers the society we live in (speaking of the Western world generally), to be generally good and getting better. I have thought myself about it while forever reminding myself that saying is a lot easier than doing. So I do believe I would (or pray that I would) sacrifice myself for God, my children, my wife, my brothers, my friends. I’d also pray that I’d give my life in place of someone younger and more vulnerable than me or for many if I were put in such an unlikely situation. But to sacrifice my life for the political and social order as it exists today?
It would truly seem like a waste even of my humble being. I find myself asking what precisely I think worth preserving as my country and I see very little worth preserving. I haven’t for a long time felt any closeness to the politicians running the country; many of whom seem to hate all that made it what it was. The institutions I see value in are either converged beyond saving by cultural enemies, in the process of being so or rendered benign if not destroyed completely. Why would I want to give my life for the remains?
It actually makes me somewhat angry to imagine some political hack speaking platitudes in front of my coffin and using my death to justify the morally, socially and soon to be economically bankrupt society we live in. Perhaps I shouldn’t imagine such things but I’ve always been a daydreamer.
If someone with strong convictions can feel this way, I can’t imagine there are many who if given pause to think about it, would feel much different. But this does give me some hope that the people responsible for or promoting the society we have now aren’t ready to defend it with their entire being which makes them vulnerable to those who want to rebuild from the foundation.