Friday, April 13, 2007

The Gospel according to the UN

One of the places we visited in the US was the UN building. Of the touristy stuff we did it was probably the most interesting part of the trip. As a Christian it was especially interesting for a number of reasons.

In particular two murals struck me as interesting, almost startling.

The first one (outside the Security Council Chamber) pictures the story of human history from early 20th century confusion, death, plague in a war-torn fractured world followed by something of a recreation of humanity through the UN (which emerges from the chaos of the 'old' world) into a world of peace etc.

The second one (inside the Security Council Chamber) tells a similar story, similar imagery of re-birth and unification is used, though this time the UN is pictured as a pheonix rising from the ashes and death of the old world order.

  • Both of these murals picture 'gospels' - they tell the story of human history as a story of re-birth, decreation, new creation, death-resurrection of humanity/the world.
  • In both of these 'gospels' the Messianic saviour/redeemer/peacemaker/re-creator of the world is the UN.
  • Both of these murals display therefore a false hope, false gospel, false saviour, all based on secular humanism and religious pluralism (the UN was big on that too - another chamber sported another mural with the slogan 'do unto others...' etc. We were told that the mural was intended to represent the core message of all religions. Elsewhere we were treated to a view of some construction containing Buddha's remains, added in deference to the unique contribution Buddhism has made to the world).
  • Even though it might do some good, the UN, when it sees itself in the same vein as in these murals, is an idol, an antichrist even, and therefore destined to failure.
  • Only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ really offers what the UN seeks to achieve. This obviously is best seen if we have a creation-affirming understanding of the gospel that sees Christ's Lordship as extending to political/economic & social structures, as a Lordship that re-creates and reconciles creation as well as individuals, as a Lordship that directly rivals secular humanism's claim to provide the path to true human life and experience in God's world. A society/city/world-building gospel (which fitted really well with what we'd been reading/seeing/hearing from the Redeemer Presbyterian people).
'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you'

'May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastland render him tribute...May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed'

'Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat'


Neil J. said...


I don't have anything to add, but was disappointed to see no comments yet on this post. Your thoughts are full of insight, and remind me of an essay I did for ET2.1 on the European Union Constitution.

Pete said...

I presume you still have the essay? I'd quite like to see it if possible.

It really was very striking how obviously 'gospel' the whole thing was. I suspect the mural artists were conscious of the biblical imagery they were plundering (as well as that taken from mythology and other world religions).

And the extent to which the UN can advise and (in security matters) dictate conduct around the world (the economic council has influence over things like the price of milk and the colour scheme of traffic lights I think) is quite alarming in some senses. It was all quite like Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon in some respects, especially the world-unifying/homogenising aspect.

Another kingdom for Christ's to flatten therefore (Dan 2:44-45).