Is nothing sacred? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yesterday, I wrote about recognizing marriage as a sacred calling. As I wrote out those words, I thought about that. What is the sacred in our society? Do we have a place for it anymore?
In his book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Trueman writes about first, second, and third world cultures. First-world cultures put the ideas on how we should live on notions of fate or the gods. They’re not built on anything ultimate in a sense, but they are great and outside of us and we ought to follow them. The gods say it so whatever their reasons, you must obey.
Second-world cultures are those that do base the ideas in one transcendent God who can to some extent be known. Christianity presents such a culture. It’s not just “The God says so” which would be sufficient in itself, but also here is why the God says so and here are the reasons and God can enforce His rules.
Third-world cultures are like what America is in now. Everything is rooted in the secular. There is nothing outside of ourselves that morality is grounded in. It is all built on secularism.
What that also means is nothing outside enforces us. We have to enforce it. That also means there is no longer anything transcendent and lasting. Ultimately, it is moral relativism, but there is a who says going on in this culture. Who says? Whoever is in charge says. That’s who.
Consider our recent Supreme Court scenarios. Under this kind of ideology, the voice of the people is in some ways the voice of God. If the Court says abortion is allowable, then that is that. The case has spoken. The court is closed. Likewise if it says it’s going to stay out of it. Whatever side you take, I hope the problem is apparent. It’s the saying that a government that is big enough to give you rights is also big enough to take them away.
That’s why in America, our founding document is a second-world document. It roots our rights in a creator. The government doesn’t give us these rights. It recognizes these rights. It also cannot take away these rights.
However, if we remove that, then the only way to enforce the powers of the third-world and whoever is in charge is, well, power. Force will have to be used. The more secular a culture is, the more likely it will use this kind of force to control its citizens.
In looking at marriage also, we have lost the sacred. Marriage used to be a sacred calling where the two made a commitment. Now we have cheapened most everything about marriage. In the past, it would have been that if a man wanted to see a woman in all of her glory, he really needed to work a lot and prove he was a man and show the girl he was worth marrying and he would be treated on their wedding night, and hopefully, she would be as well.
Now? Nope. All you have to do is browse the internet for a few seconds and look at porn. If anything diminishes a human being, it is pornography, both the viewed and the viewer diminish one another in this. Internet pornography is one of the most destructive forces in our world today. It is a cheapening of the good gift of humanity and sexuality and turns women especially into objects to be consumed. If women truly wanted to fight the patriarchy, they would take a stand against internet pornography, abortion, and anything else that makes a man give them anything less than a lifetime commitment.
It’s honestly hard to think of anything our world holds as sacred. In a sense, we treat sexuality like the highest good, making it an aspect of your highest identity and if you haven’t had sex, there’s something wrong with you. How else is just a movie title like The Forty Year-old Virgin possible? At the same time, we treat it as simply a recreational activity and say casual sex is no big deal. It’s hard to think of how you can have it both ways. In a Christian worldview, you understand that sex is an aspect of something much bigger. It is indeed part of your identity, in that you are male or female and nothing can ever change that, and as an activity, it is an intimate one that is reserved for the most intimate of relationships.
One aspect of saving our culture is going to have to be the recovery of the sacred. Right now, we live in a culture of power plays and whoever is in charge has the power to enforce what they want and it will shift back and forth constantly as long as we have nothing outside of ourselves to ground it in. Hear this. You cannot be a true moral reformer if you hold to third-world principles of morality. It takes a second-worlder who says “No. This is something greater than us regardless of what the culture says.” You cannot stand up against slavery, Nazism, or any other evil and be a part of a third-world culture truly for you are just going with what you want for whatever reason and as soon as the other side gets more power, they can change that immediately and what standard can be pointed to beyond men to say “This is wrong.”?
Right now, our culture is on a suicide path. Those of us who are Christians and see the danger should be raising the warning alarms and crying out that something must change. We must be the Ezekiel watchman or else God will hold us accountable for not speaking up. When men forget God, what happens is chaos and some men become god for their culture. Nietzsche recognized this and lamented it knowing it would lead to chaos. He was indeed right. Nietzsche recognized the seriousness of the idea of the death of God and would think most atheists today are gutless embarrassments.
The rest of us. Stand strong. Everyday, build up the sacred in your own life and demonstrate it to the world. Remember Lewis also said that outside of the sacrament (And he said this as a Protestant) the most holy sight you see will be your neighbor. It all starts with how you treat him.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)