Some may not have noticed, what with all the “Cecil the lion” coverage and the cell phone outage, but a certain organization has made news these last few weeks for harvesting body parts from murder victims and selling them for Frankenstein experimentation. Shocking, right? Not really. Years of being bombarded with sensory warfare from television and movies has desensitized us to the harshness of reality. Reality is much more brutal than even our worst nightmares, but we’re used to the macabre in fiction. So rather than roaring with outrage, most people have yawned and turned the channel back over to SportsCenter. I wonder who Ronda Rousey will knock out next? That girl can fight…
A friend forwarded me an article the other day from Anthony Esolen published on Crisismagazine.com. Esolen postulates that we now live in a sub-pagan state. I like that characterization. Our president has reminded us on occasion that we are not a Christian nation. True. We are not a Muslim nation, or a Jewish nation. We are closer to a pagan nation. There are altars built to many gods (Satan is getting some new ones, not to be left out. Places like Oklahoma and Detroit are honoring the old devil). In fact, we meet most of the requirements for paganism. We have human sacrifices going on. Check. Blood-sports? Check. General disregard for human life? Check. Mass hedonism? Double check! So, while our currency still says “One nation under God” our Judeo/Christian underpinnings are giving way day by day. It’s a cycle. Civilization is a process that takes one step forward and two hundred steps back. The American experiment may have been a big step forward, but the momentum may rock the pendulum even further back because of it.
One of the most amazing things to me when I first discovered the Old Testament was the length and breadth of impropriety that went on in between cycles of peace and prosperity. When you look back throughout recorded human history the surprising thing is that the Dark Ages were not some anomaly. They are the norm. Humans have spent most of our history fighting, killing, raping, and pillaging. While those of us that grew up in a period of relative peace and prosperity might feel like things are spinning out of control of late, we should instead realize that this is the normal state of the world. Renaissance is the rarity. A human life is so brief that we fail to grasp the grand scheme. British general and historian, Glubb Pasha, outlined the course of empires throughout history and found that they all share similar life cycles. They begin with the age of pioneers, followed by: Conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect, decadence, decline and collapse. In the words of Battlestar Gallactica (greatest TV show ever, by the way), “This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.” With each phase our empire picks up steam; the proverbial snowball headed for hell.
Esolen suggests in the article referenced above that it is up to us to do “everything” in facing the evils of our sub-pagan society. He compares the decadence and decline to a bombed out city where it is nearly impossible to make a list of priorities to rebuild, so you must tackle everything at once. That’s a fair assessment. I think the most important thing is to not cower in fear. If you think that outrage over a lion getting shot is ridiculous, say so. If you want to call him Bruce instead of Caitlyn, do it. If you want to call murder by its name, call it. The only territory on the planet that remains unconquered is within the human mind. It is the ultimate place to reject the insanity of our pagan neighbors. Despite the thought police that surround us there is still one area of sovereign soil that we can defend until the last, our own beliefs. Too many times we take the easy way out. We go along to get along. This week I decided to be true. General John Stark said, “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.” The only freedom we may enjoy for the foreseeable future is the freedom to speak our minds without fear of the repercussions. Forsaking eternal truth for temporal comfort is a most pagan behavior.