Disillusionment: The Christian Response
Do you remember the scene in the movie Braveheart when William Wallace is betrayed by Scottish noblemen? He thought they were on his side during a crucial battle against England only to learn they had been bought off. The betrayal turned Wallace’s world upside down. Disillusionment is not a good place to be. Have you ever experienced it? Typically, it’s when people or circumstances turn out to be dramatically different than what you once thought them to be.
This usually happens on an individual, private level, but it can happen on a large societal level as well. It happened on a large scale after World War I. Before the war, Europeans were optimistic about enlightened ideals taking root on their continent. Reason and science were about to take humanity to a new level of peace and universal contentment. The war shattered that illusion, irrationality reigned, and millions died.
We know that disillusionment on a personal level often causes unwise decisions, which in turn can spiral one’s life out of control. When it happens on a societal level, the consequences are far-reaching. After World War I, many drifted toward skepticism (doubting all), cynicism (scorning all), and nihilism (rejecting all). But, worst of all, whole countries embraced either Marxist Socialism or Fascism, two evils on the extreme opposite ends of the political spectrum. The result, of course, was World War II.
As I ponder the American political landscape of late, I am seeing a sizable chunk of the population quite disillusioned after the 2016 presidential election. We heard stories of colleges, high schools, and even elementary schools creating special counseling and therapy sessions for those overly distraught leading up to and after the election. It seems that a Hillary Clinton victory was so certain, a different outcome felt like a betrayal. I recall hearing interviews of people who said they did not know of a single person in their world who voted for Trump.
It now seems the disillusionment over Trump’s victory is wider and deeper than we could have imagined. Major segments of the media and upper echelons of the federal bureaucracy were shocked beyond belief on the evening of November 8th, 2016. Like the widespread disillusionment after WWI, we are observing something unpleasant. There appears to be a sentiment, in and out of government, that Trump’s presidency must be brought down. And if it can’t be brought down, then it needs to be nullified.
Oh, if only Christian values and a Christian worldview could dominate our culture once again! But alas, we live in a fallen world. We need to be reminded that the Kingdom of God, here on earth, is a work in progress. There are millions upon millions of Kingdom builders working daily to make His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the meantime, we can operate above the petty partisan silliness and keep our eyes on Christ, the antidote to disillusionment.
About the Author
Lt. Col. Gene Doremus grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York in a very large family: eight brothers and six sisters. After nine enlisted years in the Air Force, he became an officer and served twenty-two more years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Most of his career was in munitions or aircraft maintenance where he proudly served on the deployed headquarters staff during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. His claim to fame came immediately after 9/11 when he led the U.S. Central Command’s Joint Munitions Office for Operation Enduring Freedom. Retiring in 2005, he taught JROTC for six years.