There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Over the last couple of weeks, I have become increasingly of the opinion that the hammer is about to fall on Western Civilization. As I have considered this idea, I have realized that the younger generation is going to be profoundly surprised by the coming calamity. This generation is extremely confident in the soundness and morality of their worldview. Tolerant of homosexuality, pacifistic and socialist, their worldview seems to them to be the epitome of rationality and morality. With an unassailable belief that their worldview is right, they will not be able to understand how things could go so wrong. Their inevitable response is going to mirror the attitude of a generation described in the Old Testament and they are going to believe that they are being punished for the sins of previous generations. “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”(Jeremiah 31:29) I write this post to express my belief that though the moral worldview of this generation may appear unassailable, that it is in fact deeply flawed and evil and deserves the judgment of God.
The essence of what young people feel is positive about their worldview is its focus on the principles of “fairness” and “equality”. As I have discussed the merits of universal health care coverage with members of this generation, they are usually shocked to hear me say that I don’t think “fairness” or “equality” are important principles. While I support the idea of single payer universal health care, “fairness” and “equality” have nothing to do with my reasoning. Why? Because improving societal “fairness” and “equality” is an intractable problem and pursuing such abstractions through government policy is like trying to make the world into “Candy Land” where candy canes grow next to never-ending streams of chocolate.
Now this pessimism seems unwarranted to some people, but have these people ever dealt with a bureaucracy or filled out a voluminous government form? Did that experience seem like it was conducive to “fairness” or “equality”? True issues of fairness and equality are too complicated to be handled competently by a government bureaucracy and those who do not realize this don’t understand the complexity of the issues involved. When does it become fair to take money from hard-working people at the point of a gun (governments do not extract voluntary taxes) in order to finance procedures of questionable effectiveness (some treatments do not necessarily help the patient) at fifty cents on the dollar (even the most efficient bureaucracies operate at about 50% efficiency)? Only people who are used to financing “benevolent” government programs through deficit spending think such questions are unimportant.
Pursuing “fairness and equality” through government policy may be irrational wishful thinking, but why is it worthy of judgment? It all depends on how you pursue “fairness” and “equality”. I don’t think that many people would oppose a government program that would increase fairness by improving the condition of those who are less privileged, but increasing fairness by making it illegal to have an advantage over the least common denominator in society is a recipe for totalitarianism, mediocrity and misery. It is like the school program I once read about which attempted to end preferential treatment of some students by other students. “It is not fair that little Johny cannot make as many friends as the rest of the kids. For this reason, we will not allow any of the children to have friends.” In practice, most efforts to improve “fairness” through government work in this way and this is plainly immoral.
But pursuing “equality” and “fairness” through totalitarian evil is only a small part of why the hammer falls on this generation. A much bigger reason for the judgment is that our society has bought into the lie that government programs that sound wonderful and loving can be a substitute for genuine love. To see what I mean when I say this, let us perform a thought experiment.
Let us imagine that there was a generation of people who knew that they were supposed to be truly loving individuals, but they wanted to live a hedonistic “Jersey Shore” lifestyle. How would these people accomplish this task? How would they avoid the guilt that would inevitably arise when they shirked what they knew to be right in favour of what they wanted to do? From the evidence I see around me, I believe that such a generation would attempt to meet the obligations of love through tolerance and a political agenda that sounds loving and kind.
Since it is obvious that a promiscuous lifestyle would result in unwanted children, these people would be fanatically in favour of abortion rights and mask the extreme ugliness of their views by becoming extremely sanctimonious in their defence of the rights of victims of “rape and incest”. Since not every woman will be inclined to have an abortion, these people would be fanatically in favour of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and other programs that support the “poor”. Not wanting to take care of older generations, these people would warehouse older people in nursing homes while being fanatical about their support of programs for the elderly. Eager to prove that they are concerned citizens who care about everything in a genuine way, these people would be fanatics about animal rights and the environment. Desperate to prove that earlier generations were morally backwards and evil, such people would be radical advocates of the homosexual rights movement because it would allow them to feel as though they were beyond the ugliness of bigotry. All of these concerns, however, would only be skin deep as these people would pay lip service to these ideas and vote for them in the ballot box while their actual lives were spent in ways that they knew deep down were selfish, self-centred and self-destructive.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
Having said all of that, I genuinely like many members of this younger generation and I am terribly grieved for them. Though Paul is extremely harsh with this generation, I would remind Paul that Jesus was extremely harsh with members of his generation. Hopefully, this generation does not reject goodness, mercy and love as did the generation of Paul.
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:41-42)