A giant vacuum.
I really just have a lot of questions. Like a lot. Angry questions. Confused questions. Persecution questions. Minority questions.
I feel a palpable fear like America is about to burst into a civil war and I’m about to be reminded that my life is worth less than property.
I have written about racism. Used labels like white people. Black people. Used insensitive analogies like coming out. Back in the day, I would edge my bet. I’d try to be very Christian without slapping a label on myself. I would wanna be that one Christian that everyone around kinda got a long with but no one knew what I believed.
Truth is. I don’t care to be admired. I care to stand up for what I believe. I care to speak the best version of truth every moment I speak.
Today, I am writing to blame. To stick my one finger and point it at you. To disregard the three pointing back at me. I am writing to call out the failed, fine failing, experiment that has gotten us here.
What did you think would happen when we rip out faith from culture? Fine forget P.C. Let’s call it religion even. What did you think will happen? What did you think will replace it? Something better? How? Why would better magically replace religion?
America is a complicated experiment and machinery made of first, religion. First. Numero uno. Premier. Religion. Everything about America started on the premise of faith. On premises found in the Bible. Both everything good and everything bad. Bad of course being a relative judgment.
The laws of America, the constitution stood on the shoulders of faith. They were a result of Puritans and generally religious men wrestling with right living and desiring to codify a mechanism that is fed by what it feeds on. The constitution guides the law, the law embalms the culture, the culture interprets the constitution. The cycle continues.
If that feels like circular reasoning, it is. The culture was designed to adapt and improve and find enlightenment as it understudies modernism. Unfortunately in the framework of America, culture wasn’t designed to snap so far out of its core- religion, faith.
The constitution is practically useless without a religious lens. The laws are basically safeguarding an incoherent mess without a cultural compass. So here we are.
Don’t tell me that I am just old school and kicking against change. I know I am used to being in that position but this time, I just cannot see another way to make sense of all this mess.
One of the fundamental make up of religion was its stubbornness to change. A radical’s nightmare but a safety pin for a stable society. In religion, a change in perspective, an enlightenment takes a journey of dialog and intentional wrestling with truth to accept an alteration to culture.
For instance, it was religion that was used to justify slavery. Some men gathered together and found ways to interpret scripture to suit the needs at the time. By slavery, I mean whatever kind created the degenerate treatment of humans as less than human.
It was also religion that triggered the denouncement of humans as less than. See I personally believe religion wasn’t wrong to permit slavery. I stand corrected and willing to debate this point. My moral compass on wisdom- the Bible has shown me nothing to condemn slavery. There are plenty of instances at least back in history when slaves were taken as an alternative to utter destruction as a result of a loss in battle. There are scenarios where in a society with an incredible gulf in class, the enslavement of a child to a family in a higher class was a better human experience for that child than living in abject poverty.
Slavery as a broad term is often frowned upon but the history of it is a lot more complicated than we care to admit and it’s often very short sighted to interpret ancient history through the prescription glasses of today’s culture.
Imagine, for instance, the practice of giving a man’s wife to his brother to procreate when he dies without a son or extreme examples even like the practice of child sacrifice. Today, these are absolutely repulsive and almost universally classified as wrong.
But you enter into the context of these actions and you realize that it was merciful for a man to have sex with his dead brother’s wife. Merciful not merely to the brother or father but to the brother’s wife because a childless woman was essentially like a ship without an anchor. The extension of a bloodline was important not merely to royalty but families. Within the framework of their culture, a child represented not merely a bundle of joy but the fulfillment of a silent contract with society.
We have taken these religious historical contexts and judged them as irrelevant and obsolete. We have evolved and we are now smarter and better and wiser. We have condemned faith and found it guilty. We feel vindicated to banish it to an eternity of shame.
That is great. But what have we replaced her with and how has what it has been replaced with fared? Let’s make some key observations:
- Religion served as a unifying baseline upon which we found common ground. Today, logic has become baseline but unfortunately, logic differs as drastically as the weather and altitude. It’s practically impossible to find unity in a society devoid of absolute truth.
- Religion had a grip on conscience in a way that logic can not compare. The mythical, mysterious nature of faith creates a willingness to surrender and trust a framework that is clearly superior to an individual. Logic not only has no grasp of conscience it thrives without empathy. What good can come out of a world shaped devoid of empathy?
- Religion defined character. What to strive for and who an example looks like. Today, character is a relative concoction of preference and personal perspective.
Maybe the best way of describing this dilemma is to picture restaurant operations. In most restaurants, there is a chef and there is a recipe. The chef can have different background and training but the recipe provides consistency. Imagine a decree going out that restaurants can no longer have recipes. In other words, whatever the chef makes when a patron orders is what the patron gets. Some will be quick to jump to encourage the artistry and creativity on display as a result. What this creates essentially though is a high barrier to entry for chefs. You’ll have entirely unsatisfied customers because of the wide variety and inconsistent meals that will be served. Consequently, we will find that the masses will lose confidence in restaurants because of the unpredictable nature of the food it serves.
Food is important to any society. So is religion — our recipe for culture. What are we gonna do about the obliteration of faith because the very fabric of America depends on it yet it’s being ripped apart but outside the church, few seem to see a correlation between the waning authority and education by the church and the decaying of culture. I’m all for evolution but I’m struggling to see the new design pattern for life.