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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sins of the Fathers

I know. The title references a topic I discussed a couple of weeks ago. This is not related to that. Please, if that earlier discussion is still in your memory banks, don't allow that to taint your thoughts on this ...

We face a host of problems today. There is the general decline of morality in the country. There will always be deniers, but it can hardly be argued with any rationality that the moral values of America today are much lower than they were in the 1950's let alone in the 1850's. Yes, yes, we've made some improvements. We have less racism and more fair work conditions and so on. However, the sensuality, selfishness, greed, and arrogance that rules the day are an ever-increasing condition that troubles every corner of our society. Church membership seems to be declining. Hate against Christianity seems to be increasing. Sexual immorality is the norm and marriage is being pushed off the cliff favor of a brand new concept labeled "marriage" with very little connection to the longstanding, traditional understanding of the notion of actual marriage.

Where do we go from here? How do we fight against these forces? How can we shore up education, push politics back to a kinder and more moral day, correct the church's apparent failings, staunch the discrimination we see rising, and defend marriage and the family? The answer depends on where you think the conflict lies. If you think it is a conflict of our day, then you'll need to use the tools and means and conditions of our day to go to work on it. I would suggest that much of what we see is not rooted in today. If I'm right, battling today's conditions would be pointless since the problem is not here, but elsewhere. I would argue that our current conditions are found in the sins of our fathers (so to speak).

Take, for instance, discrimination. Back in the '60's our society (rightly) decided that discriminating on the basis of race was wrong. The remedy for that problem ... was legislation. Laws were enacted to deny racists the ability to practice their racism. Obviously no laws were enacted to stop them from being racist; they just couldn't practice it. Precedent: If you want to fix a problem, pass a law. Nothing, you see, was done to fix the problem. No private effort was expended in changing minds, bringing to bear market forces (for instance), or facing the problem in general. Today, then, we have a host of racists (on both sides) who stay within the law while hating those of another race. Problem not solved. But we do understand that passing laws to fix problems is the best way to go.

Take, for instance, feminism. Motivated predominantly by a large sense of self without regard for non-females and a rebellion against the existing authority (which was largely male), this movement burned bras, pushed the glass ceiling, and informed women that making a home, supporting a husband, and raising the next generation of humans was not good. No, not "not good enough"; not good. Men shouldn't be in charge. Women shouldn't be at home. Some argued that married women were rape victims at best and prostitutes at worst. Men either needed to get out or become female. Today? Well, lesson learned. Women are everywhere -- everywhere that used to be their venues as well as everywhere that used to be male dominated. They're pastors now despite the direct contradiction to Scripture. They're in combat of all places. Men, on the other hand, are declining in homes, families, fatherhood, jobs, education, even church. Churches have almost entirely lost the concept of manhood, denied the fundamental patriarchal structure of family and church leadership prescribed by Scripture, and abandoned just about anything in their structures that appeal to men. They are, after all, not supposed to. Remember? Men either need to get out or become female! Come on! Keep up, guys. Get in touch with your feminine side. Give up those testosterone functions. It's no longer fitting. Biblical, yes, but not fitting.

And, of course, there is the obvious concessions and surrenders offered in the area of sex and marriage. Sex before marriage was unacceptable. Now? Quite normal -- in the church. Marriage was about a man and a woman forming the basis for a family. Now it's about finding personal satisfaction and interpersonal compatibility. Suggesting today that marriage is the only biblical place for sexual relations, and that marriage is designed, largely, for procreation is tantamount to claiming that the Earth is flat. "Come on! We know better now! Get with the times!" So we surrender to the losses allowed by our recent forebearers and begin to evaluate truth, God, and the Bible from a non-biblical, culturally-based, worldly perspective.

And, of course, these things interact with each other. Contraception in the '50's was considered wrong, embraced in the '60's by feminists who no longer needed to "bear the burden" of having children, and moved to separate sex from reproduction. Marriage died a little. No-fault divorce spread in the '70's and feminists rejoiced that divorce was no longer primarily a male achievement. In fact, in 1980, the ratio of men divorcing their wives to wives divorcing their husbands was 600:1. By 1990, that ratio had changed to 1:12. For every man that divorced his wife, 12 women divorced their husbands. And marriage died a little more. Now the children of single mothers are approaching equilibrium with the children of married mothers, and marriage dies a little more, all due to creeping "sins of the fathers" in accepting early sin until it was codified and normalized.

There is a tendency to think "As it is today it has always been." Of course, that's an unconscious thought, because simple examination will tell you it's just not so. Sometimes things get better. Sometimes they get worse. Accepting what we see today as "normal" simply because we see it today would be a mistake. Suggesting that today's problems are the problem would be shortsighted. Unraveling the mess we've inherited from "the sins of the fathers" isn't easy. That's why it's so important to have a solid rock, a bottom line, a firm basis from which to draw a picture of reality. That's the Bible, God's Word. We can get skewed by worldly thinking, cultural perspective, "what is". It's not always based on truth. That is why the psalmist wrote, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psa 119:105). And "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word" (Psa 119:9). A good approach to all of life.


Kristi said...

I've read everything you write, and I have one questins about the thing that bothered me the most about your post. Why should women not be in combat?

Stan said...

Biblically, women are to be cherished, cared for, respected, honored, treated as "the weaker vessel" (as you would treat fine china). Practically, why would that which is best of mankind wish to participate in that which is worst of mankind?

Twenty years ago no one would have asked the question. Today, I'm strange for suggesting it. It's an example of the "advances" of feminism in our world's thinking. The day is gone when men go to war to defend the lives of their women. In fact, gone are the days when men and women are different. That, of course, isn't the biblical view, but it is the cultural view today. And I'm sad about it.

Dan said...

I read this book review article yesterday in the WSJ. It won't make much sense as it pertains to Kristi and your comment until the last sentence.