Searching for Saviors in All the Wrong Places

There’s only one Savior and one Truth – Jesus Christ.

Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo: Pixabay/CC0)

As someone who was very engaged in politics for decades, the 2016 election was one that gave me pause. Zealous reactions of elation, vitriol, and disappointment by many people on both ends of the spectrum led to a sort of epiphany. I started asking, just what are all these people looking for, anyway? And then I realized – they’re all looking for a savior.

The search for a savior isn’t reserved just for politics, of course, and by no means is it limited to any one demographic. Among the poor and lower-middle class, many seek salvation and hope through the lottery. Before implementing its own lottery years ago, the state of North Carolina conducted a study of lotteries of other states and came upon some interesting findings. Households earning less than $30,000 per year spent an average of $50 per month on lottery tickets. Those with incomes over $50,000 spent an average of just $3 per month. Other studies have shown similar results. The litigious nature of our society has a similar appeal, though not at all reserved for the poor, as those with higher incomes are more likely to file lawsuits. Can the hope of a windfall of money be a savior?

Then you have the enormous amount of time and money spent on sports each year. About $25 billion is spent by Americans annually directly on tickets to events, with another $35 billion on merchandise. (These figures skew toward men, comprising 60%. More people in the Southeast spend money on sports, with those in the Northeast spending more per item.) On top of that, you have around $400 billion being spent annually on sports gambling, with 75% of that being channeled through illegal or non-regulated gambling. And when one’s team wins, many achieve a high that’s unmatched by day-to-day relationships and experiences, and when that team loses, people often react with crushing depression. Can a sports team or player be a savior?

Very recently, we have the college entrance scandal hitting the news wherein wealthy parents and celebrities paid $25 million to assure their teen would gain admittance into the prestigious college of their choice. They were willing to lie and cheat and do whatever it took to get their kid into that school. Can a specific college or subsequent job be a savior?

On the political front, many are convinced that “all we need” is to get the right candidate to lead us to the utopia of democratic socialism, and everything Donald Trump says is evil, because of course we all know he’s the Devil. And on the other end of the spectrum, you have millions who have hitched their wagon to our POTUS with a fervor rarely seen in politics, taking very personally any attempts to ask questions or point out problematic behavior on his part. In short, both sides have lost any semblance of healthy skepticism or objectivity. Can a president or politician be a savior?

In the realm of religion, you have 100s of millions adamantly adhering to an ideology (Islam) that is essentially based on the heresy of Arianism (that Jesus is just a created being), with many willing to go to extremes to defend the honor of the one who initiated such beliefs. Many of other faith stripes (including many Catholics) refuse to learn and ask questions about their own belief systems. Can a blind ideology be a savior?

There are so many other “saviors” people seek that could be explored here. Some seek salvation in a bottle. Others seek it in their own intellect or physical prowess or looks or creativity or pride. Still others think that if they just find that perfect, significant other, all will be well. In every single search along these lines, we are guaranteed to find disappointment. Yet, we keep coming back with the same strategy. “THIS time, it’ll be different!” Or, we fall into despair.

We are wired to seek Truth. We are wired to seek a savior. So, it makes sense that we are so driven to find that Truth and that Savior. However, we seem to have forgotten what this all means. It’s time to take a step back and realize from where (and from WHOM) salvation comes. There’s only one Savior and one Truth – Jesus Christ. And He’s waiting for you right now in the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Go to Him. He’ll be delighted to see you!