Man is estranged from God, his impulses and moral faculties are warped, his nature is permanently corrupted.
Because of our sin and spiritual rebellion, the earth is cursed and each successive generation inherits the genetic drag.
We live in a state of cognitive dissonance, knowing God's law but compelled to forever break it.
Apart from God's saving grace, we will die in our sins and dwell in eternal torment.
The world system is intrinsically evil; civilization will get worse and worse, exceedingly violent and depraved, until God intervenes.
Hell is the destination for all those who reject God's grace; that road is wide and many walk it.
No wonder there are so many jaded negativists! The Bible confirms the fact that people are screwed up (this includes celebrities, diplomats, game show hosts and Dr. Phil), the world's going to hell in a handbasket, and if we don't pull our heads out of our rectal cavities, we'll find ourselves in the mix.
The Christian worldview is built upon a series of blunt, bald, unglamorous declarations about the state of things. Like it or not, there is reason to distrust others, be suspicious of anything popular, eschew all things rosy and buck utopian ideals. Armageddon is inevitable.
Thankfully, the Scripture doesn't stop there. If it did, we could rightly slink off into despondency or smug judgementalism. And herein lies the Christian cynic's dilemma: The same Book that charts Hell and the handbasket we're heading there in, proclaims hope to the captives, rest to the restless and cheer for the chronic pessimist.
To the dismay of cynics everywhere, the last book of the Bible sounds a note of eternal optimism.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Rev. 22:1-5 NIV)
Whereas Genesis opens with the Desecration of Earth, Revelation concludes with its Reclamation. For now, evil reigns. As do cynics. But a Day shall come when the tares are plucked from the field, the chaff torched and the Garden restored to its former beauty.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev. 21:4-5 NIV)
And therein lies the rub. While Scripture permits us a critical, unbelieving eye as it pertains to the things of earth, it does not allow us to remain there. We are faced with an ultimatum: Either God wins or He doesn't; either the Son rises or the Night prevails; either the new comes or it's same old, same old.
And this is the crossroad -- the point of impact -- where every Christian cynic inevitably arrives.
At the heart of terminal cynicism is unbelief -- an unwillingness to take God at His Word, to trust Him to bring about what He has promised. Yes, I have reason to be skeptical, critical, derisive and suspicious. But I also have reason to rejoice, to have hope. When I padlocked the door to my church and hung up my robes, I had the option of wallowing. Did I get a raw deal? Possibly. Was the church to blame? In part. Did I have issues? You bet. But I couldn't open the Bible without verses like this tugging at the cancerous root:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NKJV).
Call it wishful thinkful, Pollyanna, rose colored glasses -- whatever. Either it's true or it ain't. Either God can work all things together for good, or He can't. For all my regrets, my frustrations, my anger, and my disgust, I have come to believe it's true. God wins. Cynicism must ultimately yield. In the end, I'm still a jaded negativist. But, let's just say, I'm becoming more skeptical of myself.