An excellent perspective on the breakdown of our society
(This article will deal with matters of religious faith, so if you're not into that, you might want to skip it.)
Fellow author and Christian John C. Wright has penned a magnificent essay, one of the best I've ever read about our modern world and the society in which we live. It's Christian in focus, but I think it also contains general wisdom that even those without religious faith can recognize. He titled it "The Empire of Lies". Here's an excerpt.
No-fault divorce, and the corruption of manners, abandoned women to a sexual free-for-all, with obvious and expected results: see the rates of self-mutilation and suicide among women.
Sodomy is legal, and sodomite union is honored and celebrated not just as equal to matrimony, but granted privileges clearly superior: no homosexual baker fears to refuse to make a cake for a normal couple.
The ancient horror of killing unwanted infants, the practices of Carthaginians honoring Moloch, or the Spartans tossing stunted or crippled babes into the pit of Apothetae, has not only returned in a greater number and more grisly form, it has been honored as a legal right and sacred rite.
And horrors never practiced even in the darkest years of even the cruelest excesses of Aztec or Babylonian are currently promoted as necessary medical and psychological practice, namely, the castration and sexual mutilation of children, and drugging them with hormones to hinder adolescent development permanently.
All this is done in service of a vision of the self-anointed visionaries. At one time, it was done in the name of a coming Utopia, albeit that rhetoric has trailed off into awkward silence in my lifetime.
Now all this is done in the name of nothing and no one, for no clear purpose. Anarchic riots are funded and organized by proponents of totalitarianism; totalitarian thought-policing is done by private companies in the name of safety; socialism is promoted by plutocrats; racism is denounced by racists enacting racist policies in the name of anti-racism; atheists fund and applaud jihadist terrorism; and on and on.
Each policy or group promoted by the vision of the blind is contradicted by another. The riddle has a simple answer: the alliance of dogmatic relativists, anarchist totalitarians, socialist plutocrats, and atheist jihadists springs out of their mutual hatred of Christ, of Christendom, of the Western civilization in general, and America in particular.
This blind vision has no name, for to name it is to banish it, but it is nihilist in philosophy, subjectivist in ethics, socialist in economics, collectivist in law, totalitarian in politics. In theology, it is the summation and sublimation off all prior heresies distilled and combined into one. It is hence the total rejection of Creator and of all creation, hence of all things true and beautiful and good.
There's much more at the link, and all of it is well worth reading.
Eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope famously wrote, "The proper study of mankind is man". However, he did so within the context of a Christian faith that had informed and given structure to every legal code in Europe, and was an accepted norm in his society. Today, where Christianity is under siege by secularism - so much so that ours has been called a post-Christian society - that structure has vanished. There is no conception of any authority or wisdom higher than humankind. That leaves moral and ethical development to bog down in a morass of competing human philosophies, emotions and feelings that pay little, if any, attention to the great philosophies of life developed over millennia by our forefathers.
In losing that structure, that history and tradition and evolved wisdom, I fear - like Mr. Wright - that we've lost our way. If we have no primary claim on our loyalty, morally or in any other way, then we are adrift on a human sea at the mercy of the prevailing societal winds. There is no star to steer by, no rudder to guide our course. Any moral or ethical norm is as good as any other, because there's no overriding yardstick against which to measure it.
And, I suppose, that's just what the secular humanists want, those in charge of our society at present. With nothing to guide them except what they believe or desire, with no constraints on what they do or how they do it, they can (and will) do as they please. Far too many people follow that example. How many parents still set standards for their children, and raise them to observe those standards? Too many simply shrug their shoulders and abdicate the moral formation of their children to schools and churches - almost all of which have also been overtaken by secular humanist ideas, and are no longer sound institutions at root. Is it any wonder that our youth turn to hedonism and self-indulgence? "If it feels good, do it" was a rebellious mantra of the '60's, but it's now the unspoken assumption that appears to guide the majority of society.
Indeed, anyone wishing to live a Christian lifestyle is now regarded with suspicion by many of the organs and structures of society. Often, they will face official and commercial oppression. For example:
- A Christian Colorado baker is fighting yet another lawsuit after being sued by the State and private individuals for applying Christian standards to his business.
- The bank account of a Christian religious freedom organization is closed without any reason being given, and the bank demands details of their donors and political positions before it will consider reopening the account.
- The US armed forces routinely reject religious accommodation requests from Christians concerning COVID-19 vaccination.
There are many other such incidents that one could cite, but for reasons of space I'll just mention those three.
I agree with Mr. Wright. We are living in an empire of lies. That makes it even more important that we take a stand for the truth in which we believe. Yes, it will cost us to do so - but Christ warned us about that. We should expect nothing less.