For the last century Western civilization has been playing make believe. We have been “slouching toward Bethlehem” across a desert filled with bones and all we seem aware of is the mirage of an oasis out on the horizon. The longer we stagger across these burning sands, the further off paradise seems, and yet we are sure it’s out there -- if we just take another step -- just one more bill passed in Congress, just one more Supreme Court decision, just one more election and we’ll reside permanently in Shangri-La.
The unease of the country -- and of Europe -- belies this, however. Deep in our bones we know that if we keep going in this direction, we’ll find nothing but pain. The human soul was not made for deception -- the Fall cramped our hearts so that we turn to it whenever we’re in a tight place, but we can’t thrive on prevarication, we can’t plant our crops in fake dirt, and more and more people are beginning to understand this. We can taste the difference between saccharine and sugar; the former leaves a tinny aftertaste that betrays its poison -- so with this terrible mirage.
Evidence of this mass delusion pops up everywhere:
Many of our churches are satisfied with the mere appearance of growth. Just get the butts in the pews and the mortgage paid off, and leave actual spiritual improvement for someone else. True spiritual growth is tedious and painful and is unlikely to attract crowds. The “health and wealth” gospel does. So does loud music (which eliminates, in good Harrison Bergeron fashion, any tendency to actually think). Youth groups draw crowds where little but fun games and soda pop fill the agenda. If we just concentrate on the hallucination on the horizon -- a better world, one made by man, one filled with fuzzy feelings and emptied of pain. Just lift your hands heavenward and sing one more tuneless chorus and the pearly gates will open here on earth.
Our schools have been most guilty in promoting the hazy hopefulness. Educators (and parents) thought they could merely praise kids into learning; there would be no risk of failure, no hard work. When that produced miserable results school districts did two things: they demanded more money, and they opted for good PR instead of good performance. Before long students caught on that it was all just pretend and the scores dropped even lower. Not only did public education become a mirage of its own, but what little was successfully taught was just more of the illusion -- global warming, multiculturalism, evolution, white guilt, sexual license, all smoke and mirrors, all sleight of hand.
Philosophers dreamt of financial equality for all -- a beer in every hand, and financiers (who liked the idea of moving money around, shell game style) thought they could use government to accomplish that (and get rich themselves while they were at it). They instituted the Federal Reserve as a smoke machine to protect and manipulate the illusion. Now no one knows where the money is, and the public is choking on the phony figures we’re supposed to swallow. We live out here in the sand and we’re beginning to doubt the fantasy.
Government, like the Wizard in Oz, hides behind the curtain pretending it’s God, selling always the idea that it is the goose laying golden eggs while it creeps around stealing our chickens. Apparently half the country still thinks government will provide for them and protect them just as a parent or as God might, but more and more are realizing that any contact the government has with the goose is the stranglehold it has on it.
The press, the supposed 4th estate, is nothing more than the screen the Wizard hides behind. It has also bought into the phony utopian fog. Journalists seem drunk with the power they have to herd the public off into the wilderness of financial and social experimentation. But arrogance won’t get you paradise because arrogance makes us all stupid.
The concept of actually loving our fellow man proved difficult so we decided to fake it. We sought to eradicate racism by merely imagining a world in which no one ever talked down to, or badly about anyone -- ever, so we learned to be aggrieved about everything. We made petty rules about words and symbols, about cakes and bathrooms, and then we ruthlessly enforced those rules. We made racism (sexism, homophobia, etc. ad nauseum) even worse by talking about it all the time, picking the scab, and by concentrating on the differences between groups, therefore making everyone into faceless members of an angry club. So the oasis recedes before us.
Women attempted to bolster their sense of importance by complaining about every imagined slight -- being called Mrs. or Miss, or having a door opened for them, or suffering through a compliment. They complain about our supposed rape culture, but have become immodest and sexually aggressive themselves. They falsely accuse and then complain that they haven’t been taken seriously. Then they support Sharia Law and Muslim extremists even though, of all people groups on earth, the Muslims treat women the worst. Thus feminists have become laughing stocks, and women cringe at the thought of voting for the first female president because she is the perfect caricature of womanhood -- shrill, snarky, power-mad and devious, shackled to a philandering thief. Have we reached Nirvana yet?
We thought we could rid the world of war by inculcating a multicultural ethic -- teaching that all cultures are equally effective and equally able to provide health and prosperity for their constituents, which is pure nonsense. All we’ve done is destroy our own customs and ethics. American culture has always been fragile because it is always being altered with each new immigrant group, but now it is overloaded with South American Marxism and with Islamic practices -- neither of which mesh well with the energy and independence of American life. Instead of creating utopia, we’ve created chaos.
We thought all foreign policy problems would go away if we worked toward a one-world government. It has only made us weak and vulnerable. The Bilderbergers can plan all they want, but a complete world government will not happen under the auspices of mere humans -- not even in the tumultuous events of the Great Tribulation. Not until the reign of Christ the Messiah will that happen.
We thought we could get rid of sin by just calling it something else, as if the word we use somehow changes the very nature of the behavior. That’s not pederasty; it’s a preference for sex with children. That’s not sodomy; it’s a same-sex attraction. That’s not adultery; it’s open marriage. That’s not a man; it’s a woman. That’s not promiscuity; it’s free love. That’s not lying; it’s misspeaking. That’s not treason; it’s diplomacy.
The truth is that man is not suited for building heaven. It’s not ours to build. Christ said He was going to prepare a place for us, so we should leave it up to Him and quit pretending that we can do it ourselves. There’s a reason we refer to the perfect society as Never-Never Land. We’ll never get there. To think we will is delusional. What was it Paul said? “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11). We have bought that lie hook, line, and sinker and we’re sinking deep into the shifting, hellish sand.
Deana Chadwell blogs at www.ASingleWindow.com and is a writing and speech professor at Pacific Bible College in Southern Oregon.