22 Apr An Individual Paradise is Not Enough: How Our Contagious World Aches for a Cosmic Hope
Published in Mere Orthodoxy, April 20, 2020
Our world feels contaminated with disease. And yet, precisely in light of this contagion, perhaps we can learn more about the breadth and depth of Christian resurrection hope. Indeed, our cultural imagination may be more in tune to a reality that has a great deal to do with Eastertide season: the way in which the whole world is in need of healing, in need of a Deliverer.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, a central cultural point of reference for resurrection hope was simply the hope in the afterlife of the individual. Indeed, despite the much-reported increase in Americans who have no religious affiliation, belief in an afterlife seems to be very popular. About a third of those who do not believe in God still believe in life after death. A University of Chicago study indicates that, while belief in God and affiliation with a particular religion have been in decline in the United States in recent decades, a growing number believe in “life after death.” Whatever the reasons for this growing belief, stories about the afterlife continue to have a prominent place in Western culture, even in contexts where religious hopes are proscribed from polite conversations.