A Wreck of Follies
Solomon rightly warned us, “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly (Pro 17:12).” What we are witnessing in recent months is a wreck of follies. It is fools answering fools; mama bear vs. mama bear. We have tribes that have formed around unifying principles, and when those principles meet adversaries (as they must), the answer is broken windows, shouting matches, all gas, no brakes. To reason with the stampede is futile. The recent clash between warring factions displayed the extent to which we have lost the ability to reason and, in return, offer repartee.
As a society, we crave an explanation––a scapegoat––for why these things keep happening. For all the talk of living peaceably, we have found that moral relativism always ends in feuds. Truth is not the innocent exploration of the individual’s subjective reality; for, as ideas are formed, creeds are sure to follow, and creeds attract crowds, crowds arouse passions, and passions convince us that because we are all doing it, it must be right. Our conscience is ignored because surely thousands marching in the same direction can’t be wrong?
The blame, I believe, for these clashes factions of fools lies at the feet of fathers. This generation has been raised by single mothers in many cases, or else distant and aloof fathers. But, it all boils down to a generation of dads who left the task of instilling wisdom into their sons and daughters to a government that cannot balance its own budget, a secular education system that has at best taught moralistic deism, and at worse moral relativism.
Relativism knows no atonement and forgiveness.The consequence is a generation who has more access to information than any generation before them, but for all that information have not received wisdom. Their vague deism coupled with moral relativism leaves these tribes with a lust for dad’s respect. When their turf is violated, as it was in Charlottesville, a fight for dominance breaks out, and what ensues is endless revenge. The only way they know how to argue is en masse. Blood has been drawn; now it is “one of theirs for one of ours.” Relativism knows no atonement and forgiveness.
Intimidation is Easier than Arguments
Our nation has formed the silly habit of organizing large groups of people in an attempt to change the culture of our entire nation. In the most recent “exchange of ideas” in Charlottesville, both groups were trying to create culture. Ironically, they were doing so while rioting, shouting, and either insisting on pulling down the statues of a bygone culture or ramming their Dodge Charger into the crowd. Negotiations went sour, you might say.
My dad often said, “What you recruit people to is what they are gonna continue to expect.” If you recruit to a mob of ruffians, you will not get well-reasoned arguments as the by-product. The modern impulse is to gather the biggest crowd possible, chant, march, and throw rocks if necessary as a means of changing culture. Reasoned, principled arguments be damned. What we see is that argument by means of intimidation is certain to produce flimsy arguments, ugly interactions, and more bad news.
Protests are never accompanied with glorious artistry, poetry, or music. What symphonies have these groups (White Supremacists, the alt-right, BLM, antifa, etc.) composed? What masterpieces have they painted? What soaring literature have they given us? Revolutionaries are bad artists, storytellers, and artisans. We are faced with revolution, and radicals on either end are clamoring for the steering wheel. Both sides waving the flags of totalitarian dictatorships which were toppled, and ironically arguing over whether a statue of a man who fought for limited government should be kept or canned. Revolutionaries are not good history students.
Confessing Our Forefather’s Sins, Whitewashing Ours
After Charlottesville, some pastors said that if your preacher did not preach against racism the Sunday after, you should leave your church. The problem is that condemning a sin that most of us are not guilty of is rather easy. It will get you retweets. It will not be popular to condemn the sins we are committing right now.
The real travesty is the millions of black babies which will be aborted this year. The real travesty is the millions of black babies which will be aborted this year. Our tax dollars will pay for this racism, and our government-run healthcare system has enshrined this genocide in our legislation. Racism of a bygone generation is easy to rail against. The racism of the today looks a lot like welfare programs which incentivizes fatherlessness in the black community, and thus perpetuates the slaughter of unborn black babies. As a Christian, if you believe abortion is wrong, but you voted for pro-choice candidates, do not undertake to lecture on the systemic racism of two hundred years ago. We are killing black people at levels that dwarf the slave trade.
A Noble Opponent
One other observation before I bring this in for a landing. The reason there are Robert E. Lee memorials is because at one point we, as a nation, understood there was such a thing as a worthy enemy. We have now come to the point of being unable to recognize a noble opponent. We’ve lost all nobility as a result of our disavowal of absolute truth. Nowadays, the only truth that matters is the individual’s.
Yet we are designed to be social creatures, so we, by necessity, seek out allies who will coddle and reinforce our subjective moralism. When the inevitable disagreement over truth, ethics or what something means arises (a Robert E. Lee Statue, for instance), we can only push and shove and draw blood. There’s no basis for why something is good, true, or beautiful. We only have deeply held feelings, and the heated passion that those guys disagree with me.
The reason we tolerated Confederate Flags and Memorials for so long as a country was precisely because of the bitter rift which the Civil War produced. It was American fighting American. After all the musket balls had landed, we realized how riven our country was. Brother was fighting brother in more than one instance. Robert E. Lee came to embody the best of the South, and honoring him was not condoning slavery, it was a noblesse oblige towards our fellow citizens.
Finally, love God and love Thy neighbor is the sum of the Christian Gospel. The only ground for man to have peace with man, is for man to make peace with God. But for us to make peace with God we need a mediator who can stand before a Holy God. This is why we need Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man. Blood for blood is the only ethical system which moralism can produce. The feuds and wars will continue on as long as it is simply us versus them. It isn’t until we realize that all of Adam’s kids are under God’s wrath, and then turn and receive the mediatorial peace which Christ’s blood obtained that we can have fellowship with our brother (1 Jn. 1:5-10).
Thus, when we look at the folly of these clashing groups it must not be far from our mind that Christ’s substitutionary atonement is the answer. The fatherlessness that afflicts this generation and leads them to “take up arms” is a hunger to be something, fight for something, and––at its root––to hear a father’s “good job, son.” We want a father’s favor. It will only be found in Jesus Christ, the Advocate with our Heavenly Father.