Monday, September 26, 2022

The reason we do not know good. . .

It's all good.... so they say.  But it isn't.  We all know it is not true.  But we say it because we cannot agree on what is good.  We cannot even agree on what makes something good or bad.  Such is the state of affairs in our broken and divided society that we are not simply faced with competing ideas of what is beneficial and true or harmful and false, we have no idea how to judge them.

If a society cannot agree upon some sense of a common criteria for good, there is no common vision before us and we lack the shared moral vocabulary and judgment essential to a fruitful culture and nation.  Once we surrender what makes something good or bad to the individual, we can no longer have any good or bad to unite us -- either in the pursuit of it or in the eradication of it.  That is the fallacy of liberalism -- it has failed to define the good and instead has left it to the individual to decide what is good, when it is good, and how good it is.

Everything has come to be about freedom.  Education is no longer the pursuit of truth or facts or understanding the truth or the facts but about the individual's freedom to define his or her own truth and to define his or her own facts.  Those who teach are less teachers than they are coaches to aid and assist the student in pursuing his or her own vision of self, truth, history, culture, freedom, and the future.  It is no wonder college takes longer than ever and high schools are failing in the core mission of teaching what is real and not simply imagined or desired.  Now we want to impose the same burden upon elementary school children and government sponsored preschools.  The social purpose has triumphed over the educational goal.

It all began, however, with an inability to define what was wrong.  When divorce was no longer a wrong and no fault divorce made it quick, easy, and without stigma, divorce became good.  When the sexual revolution took sex out of marriage and birth control took children out of sex, all sex became good.  When abortion was no longer wrong, it became good and a necessary right.  Whatever happened to those who at least said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare?  Once you cannot define wrong or evil or, dare I say it, sin, it automatically blurs what is good.  When you leave it to the private judgment of the individual to define wrong, it must also be left to the private judgment of the individual to define good.  You cannot mess with one side of the equation and not also affect the other side.  The end result is not simply a divided society and conflicted nation but the complete and utter inability to marshal a people toward a common future.  This fragmentation of society began with the refusal to call some things evil and then the corresponding inability to call other things good.

It is not all good.  We all know it.  But we don't know how to find a way out of the mess of privatized truth, morality, virtue, and evil.  This makes it even more difficult for the liberal society to understand and even tolerate the Christian faith which is built upon the recognition of evil (sin) and the celebration of good (the Savior who answers evil with His own sacrificial suffering and death).  The churches that have bought into such private judgment have sacrificed the very Gospel in order to better fit what is happening around them and so have nothing to offer but the faint echo of it's all good to a society that has bought into the lie as their new truth.

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