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A Celebration of Irrationality

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rightorwrong We live in an irrational age. Pretty much people do what they want to do, when they want to do it, with whom they want to do it. This sounds good. Sounds like freedom, actually.

But what we’re doing doesn't add up. No matter if you measure by history, religion, moral philosophy, nature, or common sense, the answer is the same: a lot of what we’re doing is irrational.

Why? Because so much of what we’re doing jettisons concern for “right” or “wrong,” defies faith and reason, and is disconnected from reality. This is the very definition of irrational.

Freedom is a wonderful thing, a blessing and a gift from God to the human race. But freedom works best guided by belief in God, individual responsibility, and personal accountability, moral concerns that remind us that life is best when lived within divine parameters. The Scripture says it thusly: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

But these are old ideas, ones contemporary culture no longer recognizes. We want no one, least of all religion or even duty to God and country telling us what we cannot do. Freedom to act without a moral compass, freedom to do what’s right in our own eyes is what we want, and we’re chasing after this wind with all we’re worth.

     And I don’t just mean “bad people,” the violent, the murderer, the rapist. Certainly they act with no regard for anything but their own gratification, rage, or emptiness. While it’s true, few argue for these kinds of people and extremes. Yet their numbers increase.

     Nor do I mean just the bold, often articulate or creative, secularists or atheists or hedonists among us. We know them, e.g., Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Howard Stern, Chelsea Handler. These are not necessarily archetypes, just the latest to make noise.

     No, when I say we’re riding hell-bent for leather into irrationality I don’t mean just our cultural outliers, the wayward ones out in la-la land. I mean “us,” our culture.

     Contemporary culture—our “way of life”—seems bent upon finding ways to embrace, even promote ideas, attitudes, values, and practices earlier cultures considered lacking in common sense. Indeed in much of this it seems contemporary culture is, in sum, a celebration of irrationality.

     Some of these relatively, recently embraced ways of life are irreverent, some are immoral, some are ill advised, and some at one time were illegal. I say recently embraced, but there are really no new practices under the sun, just old ones recycled (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

     Of course, what you call irreverent, immoral, ill advised, or illegal depends upon your point of view, which in turn depends upon your worldview. What you believe about God, life, and truth influences what ideas, attitudes, values, and practices you consider legitimate. This is a prime reason contemporary culture celebrates irrationality. It does so because the current cultural zeitgeist, or spirit of the age, has jettisoned the idea of moral absolutes in favor of a new (ironically) absolute called moral relativism.

     Ultimate truth doesn’t exist, according to moral relativism…or if it does, it can’t be discerned or defined. And moral relativism also rejects the existence of clearly knowable, objectively established truth. In place of ultimate truth or knowable, objective truth contemporary culture enshrines “There is no truth” or “What’s true for you may not be true for me.”

     Consequently, since we can know nothing for sure, we cannot believe anything for sure. If we can know nothing and can believe nothing for sure, what we believe and therefore what we do doesn’t matter, at least not to anyone but us.

     A culture that does not believe in objective truth is vulnerable. Nay, it is wide open, to subjective “truth.” In other words, if we don’t believe truth is determined outside of us than it must be OK to determine it within us. Maybe this works once in awhile, but mostly it doesn’t work well because human beings have depraved hearts and minds (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:28).

     Scripture, if you’re open to believing it, repeatedly describes human beings as created good, and for good, but given over to sin and depravity. It doesn’t take much people-watching to come to the conclusion Scripture has our number.

     Human beings “deliberately forget” what is right (2 Peter 3:5). We are influenced by sin’s “powerful delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). We “suppress the truth by…wickedness,” we function with futile thinking and foolish hearts, and we “exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1: 18, 21, 25).

     So what do we do? We do what’s right in our own eyes, even though our choices lead us to destruction (Judges 17:6; Proverbs 16:25). We’re so good at this we “invent ways of doing evil” and in terms of our evil ways of life we “not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:30, 32).

     This approach to what’s right allows us to determine what to do based upon personal experience, or the new catch phrase—“fairness”—as opposed to deciding what’s righteous, therefore what’s best, based upon biblical doctrine (Philippians 1:9-11), the Church, religion, history, or even “natural law.”

     So if we want to have our cake and eat it too, or if we think “just the right amount of wrong” is a sustainable lifestyle, than what’s to stop us from joining Sinatra and doing it “My Way”?

     If we want to get an abortion, why not?

     If we want to say heterosexual expression outside monogamous marriage is OK, than “If you can't be with the one you love honey, Love the one you're with.”

     If we think we can win not only a race, we can beat the races, than why not gamble with abandon, life is just a crap shoot anyway so let it ride.

     If we somehow have deluded ourselves into believing homosexual expression in any relationship, including between “loving, consensual adults,” is morally acceptable, why not?

     If we want to believe life began by chance and that human beings are descended from apes, why not?

     If we want to spend not only beyond our means but spend other peoples’ means (our children and grandchildren), why not? There’s no piper to be paid, no reckoning. It’s all going to work out…somehow.

     If we think God is an unnecessary hypothesis, that we can really live life, and apparently the after-life, without him, than what’s stopping us from creating our world and our future in our image?

     And that’s the point and the problem. We’re doing exactly that and we’re creating an increasingly scary world with a scarier future.

     Suicide is irrational. So is cultural suicide. There’s no happy ending here.

     Celebrating irrationality is not rational. Our culture cannot sustain itself indefinitely with this kind of pell-mell rush to senselessness. Yet lemming-like, we keep running toward the cliff.

                           Rex M. Rogers, President SAT-7 USA, www.sat7usa.org,  

                           www.rexmrogers.com, www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Comments   

 
0 # Jim Comden 2013-05-22 17:10
Well put Dr. Rogers. It has taken many years of concerted effort by liberals to get us to this point, it has been a very deliberate, intentional process and with the election of our current president it was like the "perfect storm". God is still in control, just as He was in Eygpt thousands of years ago!!
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