The underlying trends toward a heaven on earth are often obscured by the “noise” of the day, pessimism and cynicism. But I believe that with God’s enduring, steadfast love humankind will ultimately reach a heaven on earth. The ten elements that I believe are essential in this quest are as follows:
1. Peace: The major keys to peace lie in our ability to prosper and spread democracies worldwide. Going beyond toleration to respect of all loving faiths is also critical. Advancing to general acceptance and appreciation across racial lines will build peace within and between nations.
2. Security: We must strive to gain security from terrorism and crime. It is critical that we stop radical Islamics. History is replete with fanatics such as Hitler who somehow gain power with genocide and aggression. Recognizing the danger and acting internationally through winning minds and hearts without letting up on international pressure are essential to a victory over terrorism. For example see Paul Marek’s powerful essay, “A Look at Radical Islam” and James K. Glassman’s persuasive contribution, “How to Win the War of Ideas.”
3. Freedom: Freedom is prized by all humans, whether they currently possess it or not. Implicit in the democratic ideal is that free individuals will generally act in their own best interests. And the sum of a free society’s actions will allow a greater whole than with nations who repress its people.
4. Democracies: Democracies worldwide in the long run would be the best kind of government for reaching and enjoying a heaven on earth, for they empower the individual, and ultimately societies, to make good choices. History has shown that democratic governments are less likely to make war with one another. Additionally, they discourage tyrants who are corrupted by power. Democracies provide for the orderly transfer of power. However, we must realize that elections don’t necessarily produce the best leader in every case.
5. Prosperity: Capitalism tempered with democracy and free, fair trade can lead to worldwide growth and wealth, which can benefit each of us and all of us to the degree that our own talents and resources permit. Preparation and opportunity go hand-in-hand with self-discipline and hard work. Each of us must strive for financial literacy and make it our business to know what we own. We have a responsibility beyond ourselves in our wealth. We are not meant to love money, but to treat it with respect and be generous toward worthy ends.
6. Spiritual Harmony: We must move beyond religious tolerance to real respect among all the world’s loving spiritual beliefs and practices. Even differing beliefs can lead to similar values, which in turn may lead to behavior that is acceptable to God. Loving religions teach us how to live our lives and how to cope with our own mortality. God’s enduring, steadfast love will empower us here, just as I firmly believe that love will allow all the other elements.
7. Racial Harmony: While the lack of racial harmony goes back to ancient times, that certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome this obstacle. Our nation has moved forward largely by peaceful means over recent decades, including the election of an African American president. Many other nations have also advanced in this march toward racial harmony. In our country we owe much of this nonviolent racial progress to Martin Luther King, Jr. See “Where Do We Go From Here?” in that great leader’s own words. The Golden Rule is especially important in treating others with respect.
8. Ecological Harmony: We must tend to the world’s God-given environment – emphasizing natural beauty and perpetual conservation. Concurrently, we must achieve a balance between those worthy goals and the necessity of rescuing those in abject poverty, as well as maintaining the economic progress of all nations.
9. Health: Technology and medical science are vital to advance the health of the world’s population. Additionally, our own physical, mental and spiritual habits must embody disciplines that promote good health. Death is inevitable until God acts to prevent it, but wholesome, active behavior can result in longer and longer lives as medical science, our habits and economic means progress.
10. Moral Purpose and Meaning: Moral purpose and meaning is perhaps the hardest element to achieve. We do not always do the right thing day by day. Our DNA and environments are not perfect. We have weaknesses that can result in horrors such as the Holocaust. But our flaws do not mean that a nurturing environment can’t lead to success after success until God finally takes over and pulls us out of the misery of our human condition.
When you consider the above, think about this excerpt from the New Testament, Matthew 19:26, “with God all things are possible.”