The Season For Life Saving
Is Always Open
From an early stage in my Christian experience I was told that “Jesus is ‘THE‘ Savior not ‘A‘ Savior,” with no qualification. The meaning was obvious. There was only one Savior and Jesus was it. When said, the idea was expressed enthusiastically, with a hint of accusation.
If you didn’t agree, you were in trouble.
Needing to think about it was reason to question one’s loyalty.
Of course, in the early years I loved it and thought it was a very clever way to make a strong point. It made a great party cry for believers.
Looking back, I now realize that statement is a little misleading and smacks of religious totalitarianism.
When you think about it, and I’ve had a lot of time to do that, you realize that Jesus isn’t the only Savior. In fact, there are many saviors in the world and you really can’t get the right perspective on Jesus till you’ve given all of them due consideration.
Let’s take a look at a few.
We all know what a lifeguard is. Lifeguards are the very fit, able bodied men and women who sit in elevated seats along every public beach in the world. They vigilantly watch for swimmers who get into trouble and swim to the rescue when they do.
In short, these guards save people from drowning.
One Yahoo report indicated lifeguards save over 100,000 lives every year. Australian lifesavers are credited with saving approximately 15,000 each year and that’s just one country. Just under 15,000 UK swimmers will need lifeguard assistance annually and about 7,000 of those get into serious trouble.
The question is, would you consider these life saving individuals saviors? According to one drowning survivor, Dimitry Zhalkevich, the answer is a definite yes! He quit drinking and smoking after being saved from drowning and said the experience “opened my eyes. I want to live a better life.”
That response has “salvation” written all over it but there’s more.
- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) or Paramedics
EMT’s are the first responders to deal with medical problems wherever they may happen. Unlike lifeguards, they don’t sit in convenient spots and wait for medical problems to come to them, which means logistics is a big problem.
They navigate heavy traffic, neighborhood confusion and household disarray just to get to one victim and it isn’t uncommon for them to arrive too late. Makes their job frustrating.
EMT’s don’t save as many people as lifeguards but when they do save a life, it’s only because they work very diligently.
There’s no doubt that the people whose lives are saved by EMT’s think of them as saviors.
- Inventor of the seat belt
Seat belts are law today. We all have them. We all use them, or should, and many people are alive today because of them.
In 2009 almost 13,000 lives were saved by seat belts in the United States alone. According to one authority seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury.
Maybe we should consider the inventor of the device a savior.
You can’t put a number on how many lives The Red Cross has saved but in the fiscal year 2011 they assisted 229 million people in 76 different countries. Not all of those people would have died without their help but a large number of them would have.
They also work to reduce the fatalities caused by preventable diseases. Measles is a good example. In 1999 the estimated number of deaths caused by measles was 856K. Their work reduced that number to approximately 165K by 2008.
So we have another group of people that, without question, could be referred to as saviors.
- Educational Institutions
Unfortunately, educational institutions haven’t always allowed free thinking but today they not only allow it they require it. They don’t save us from ignorance – no one has all knowledge – but they do save us from mental lethargy and academic tyranny.
Educational institutions provoke thought, they encourage us to be rational, they teach us how to formulate arguments and provoke healthy debate. They are the saviors of free thinking.
They also dispel delusion. Once you’ve had your ideas tested by another person’s perspective you aren’t so enamored by your own ideas anymore.
- Governments and law enforcement agencies
Well balanced governments create legislation to prevent any belief system from becoming legally and physically dominant. Every view point is represented equally. We call that democracy. When it works well differing opinions exist side by side peacefully. We call that pluralism.
But to do that governments must protect a wide variety of beliefs, lifestyles and tastes. We may not like some of the individuals they protect. We may disagree with some of the lifestyles government tolerates but we should never forget that government protects all view points from domination by any single viewpoint.
They save us from oppression. They give us freedom of choice. Without them we would have anarchy. Even when they don’t work so well they save lives.
Truth? Deomocracy is Christian even when the government is not.
Therefore, the biblical philosophy regarding human government is “bad government is better than no government at all.”
But the next question is, where does that leave Jesus? How is He different to all these other saviors?
Those questions are answered in the next few posts.