As the saga with Hollywood scumbag Harvey Weinstein has unfolded, one thing is abundantly clear, and that is that Gospel truths are inescapable. One in particular is evident: substitutionary atonement.
Our culture is guilt-ridden due to our sexual “liberty.” For decades, we’ve applauded and awarded movies wherein the actors disrobe for our collective erotic pleasure, and the more scintillating the better. Actresses’ cleavage is plastered on our glossy magazine covers that we might collectively drink in the arousing pleasure of our Aphrodite. We’ve cordoned off city streets in order for grown men and women to walk around gyrating their hips in sexual liberation, and we applaud and throw confetti, rejoicing in the orgy. We’ve freed the nipple. We’ve made it a cultural norm for couples to sleep together prior to any sort of covenantal vows, thus encouraging “test drive sex.” We have sought every which way to remove responsibility from sexuality, and thus have subsidized “birth control” in our federal and state budgets. This lawlessness does not, and cannot, come without guilty conscience.
You may disdain God’s law, but you may not escape God’s law. A person may wish the second law of thermodynamics didn’t exist, but they cannot imagine their way out of a universe in which that law and the force of it exists. Sin brings guilt. Guilty consciences can only be cleansed one way. However, the human heart is quite clever at coming up with ways to palliate our guilt by kicking the can down the road.
My case in point is that within a week, our culture has poured out all our wrath upon Weinstein. He’s been taken outside the camp, bearing away all our sins. Notice that there is hardly a voice out there who has not condemned how ghastly his sins were: how wicked, how evil, how dark, how wrong. We have stripped the man of his position, his awards, his achievements, and his glory. Our priests have laid their hands upon his head, and he is now on a plane, headed out into the wilderness, bearing our sins with him.
Our societal guilt has been soothed because someone has been made to bear it for us instead.Our societal guilt has been soothed because someone has been made to bear it for us instead. Both liberals and conservatives have delighted to roundly condemn the heinous sexual sins of the Hollywood magnate. What hardly anyone has done is confess their sin and guilt. We still insist that the right to murder a baby accidentally conceived is an inherent right. We still won’t cancel our porn subscriptions. We still want vicarious sexual indulgence as we watch the latest season of The Bachelor. We still want to leave the natural use of male and female. We want to twist our sexual drives every which way in hopes that the euphoria will be somehow higher and better. We want our children instructed at school in the latest sexual kinks. We assume our teens will access to porn, and we give them the devices to do so, despite the growing evidence that this is incredibly damaging to their long term health.
Thus, to assuage our guilt, we find the likes of Weinstein and see in him a sad shadow of a hope for atonement. Someone must bear our guilt. The wages of our sin is death, after all. We don’t want to die. So we hope someone will die for us. Weinstein will do. He is guilty. Social and political factions have united surprisingly quickly, and have ceremonially declared that here is our scapegoat (Lev. 16). The crowds cheer. Our sins are atoned.
But if a thousand rams and rivers of oil were not sufficient to eternally redeem and atone mankind’s sin (Mic. 6:7), then Harvey Weinstein is only a temporary reprieve from the Everest of guilt that is crushing us to powder. The only eternal sacrifice for sin is Christ. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).” Either you will bear the guilt of your sin, or Christ will. Any other scapegoat is futile. Any other rock is sand. You will either be crushed by the Stone, or else fall upon it as your lone hope of salvation (Mt. 21:44).