Chapter 9: The allure of utopia: Klaas Schilders stress on the relevance of hic et nunc
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At the time of the First World War and the Russian Revolution, Western civilisation was in a deep crisis. The alternative of the Russian Revolution seemed attractive to many in the West, utopian ideas of a better society were around as well as reflection on the Apocalypse of St John. One of the intellectuals who reflected on this situation was Reverend Klaas Schilder in the Netherlands. He was raised in a conservative political tradition and gave lectures and wrote a book about the Apocalypse in the light of the allure of the socialist utopia. Contrary to the popular view, he interpreted the Apocalypse not as a utopian book. The prophecy of this book in the Bible is not about a world to come, let alone a better world, but about this world, and about present-day society. Its sobering message is there is no escape from history, a society contrasting the present one is a chimera. Life is a struggle and will stay a struggle, dreaming of other possible worlds is dangerous escapism. People were co-workers of God, not to bring heaven on earth and create an entire utopia, but to work day by day in the confines of history. The here and now is relevant only. His view inspired many to be active and view themselves in their day-to-day existence as co-workers of God. Interestingly his anti-utopian view had utopian traits as well: the ideal society is not in the future, but starts here and now.