"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Monday, August 01, 2005

Scottish MP has vivid mystical vision

For years I've been fascinated with NDEs. Though I'm willing to entertain the idea that many are due to changes in brain chemistry in extremis, I find myself unable to explain away all similar experiences in that fashion. They occur under too many different conditions, are way too coherent, and are undergone by too many emotionally stable people, to be dismissed as endorphin-induced dreaming.

One example is what happened to Lord Rannoch, a prominent Euroskeptic and member of the British House of Lords. Read the account for yourself. I'm interested in two points: the message Lord Rannoch alleged he was given, and the conclusion he drew.

The message is, or was said to have been, that "God was sad because he was losing the fight of good against evil and sad because people have lost faith." With qualification, I believe that was the actual divine message. I qualify because I don't believe it possible that God will actually "lose" in the end; at most, his "losing" means that evil appears to be winning the day, just as it did at the crucifixion of Jesus. But it's certainly true in Europe and the English-speaking countries that people have lost faith—though even there one might argue that it's not true to the same extent in the U.S. I believe that Jesus Christ is sad, roughly for the reasons Lord Rannoch reports.

But what practical conclusion does the peer draw? "It has given me a greater awareness of issues of right and wrong and has also made me pretty fearless....I don't mind taking on the House of Lords on an issue about Europe even if it means I will be ridiculed and despised because it is part of the crusade of right against wrong..." Sheesh. I appreciate Euroskepticism but I hardly consider the battle over British integration with the EU to be one of eschatological significance. Even the moral contours are not altogether black and white.

Perhaps it is just such egoism that explains why politicians almost always make poor evangelists, even though some ministers, such as Martin Luther King, have made effective politicians.

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