Smoke, Mirrors, and Layers of Varnish

 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face-to-face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1st Corinthians 13:12.

Part 3 – What’s Wrong with Liberal Thinking

Well – let’s make sense of the world today, shall we? I’ll start picking at the tangled wad of yarns at this end and you start teasing at it on your end and we’ll have it unknotted in no time. Not.

Things are in quite a muddle; the Prince of Lies (not our president, but Lucifer) is hard at work and it’s the human tendency to gloss over details, call a spade a terrain relocation device, and slather every uncomfortable truth with coat after coat of varnish, so the job of putting all the puzzle pieces together in logical order is a challenge.

We’ve been talking about the faulty assumptions at the base of liberal thinking. This week I’d like to explore one of the secondary premises that fog our national bandwidth. If one starts with the self-refuting statement that there is no absolute truth and you add to that an evolutionary mindset, one comes to a third premise – that God is just a human idea – some fanciful conceit we developed to soften the edges of reality, some elaborate means mankind invented in order to tackle the vagaries of human misbehavior.

The evolutionist explanation for religious belief is a bottom-up account. From paramecium to fish to tadpole to lizard to bird to horse to ape to Neanderthal to Christian – just a natural progression. (Why they assume that Christian thought is suddenly a turn for the worst is beyond me.)
Eventually our brains got big enough to have room for abstract thought and imagination. A random mutation or twelve and a few brain cells began specializing in these speculations, and oilá! we have “God,”  but only to be taken seriously by the weak and the stupid. After all, God is just a figment of our imaginations and if we want to play at religion we can go pottering off to church or synagogue or temple, and hop through whatever rituals please us, but we are not to actually think any of it is true.

We are even to start toying (as our brains evolve, becoming more and more sophisticated) with the idea of ditching the God thing altogether. Just recently the Dalai Lama said,
“Of course, all the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, can and do promote inner values.” In other words, religion is useful – not true, just useful. He went on to say, “But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion altogether.”  It’s time to go beyond God. Whoa.

Though, he’s a little late to the party since that’s basically what the serpent said to Eve, and even before that, what Lucifer said to God – I can run things better than you can (Isaiah 14).

Renowned – and now deceased, and much wiser – atheist Christopher Hitchens also
beat His Holiness to the punch. Hitchens stated in his book, God is Not Great, “Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody…had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs).”

Obviously, if we start with the premise that man came before God, we end up in some very weird and arrogant places. Our ethical thoughts lose their backbone and become nothing more than petty rules that can be overcome with a light dose of peer pressure and half a dozen lawsuits. Behaviors that were solid parts of our national ethic are now mere amoeba squelching around our confused national conscience.

Speaking of confused, I had a class of honors students who, shortly after 9/11 told me that they couldn’t denounce the hijackers. These otherwise wonderful kids felt that it was morally acceptable for the jihadis to have committed over 3,000 murders because the men believed they were doing good. The poor kids were struggling to synthesize the politically correct lessons from social studies classes (You have your truth; they have theirs.) with the horror of watching people forced to choose between jumping to their deaths or being burned alive. And we wonder why our children smoke dope.

It is interesting, now that we’re constructing our own mores that we find ourselves often in those tangles. Diversity, tolerance, and multi-culturalism, for instance, are way at the top of our DIY list of values – unless of course one chooses to adhere to the old morality and then diversity suddenly becomes as vicious and condescending as Torquemada. This tolerance is so loving and generous that it recently tried to destroy the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain because the owner expressed an opinion that didn’t fit the new code – a new code that comes with no authority other than peer pressure produced by the liberal media.

Such confusion requires that one stay on the surface of every issue – no details allowed, just a vague homogenation with the specifics buried under layers and layers of hardened varnish. Evolution is true (Never mind the ever-increasing evidence to the contrary – pesky little things like the usefulness of junk DNA.). Global warming and the necessary greening of everything is gospel (The growing icecaps and dropping average temperatures notwithstanding.). Islam is a religion of peace (but don’t talk about the hundreds and hundreds of Muslim-instigated battles fought throughout Europe that historians now believe brought on the Dark Ages.)

We are but human, and we don’t have infinite intelligence nor do we have infinite time on Earth to learn all the details. Add to that our natural inclination to lean into the lie (see Genesis 3), and the result is that we see through the glass, but darkly. If we compound the problem by denying that anything infinite exists, and by taking credit for God, then we’re bound to snarl our thinking into some seriously Gordian knots.

However, if we start with a tri-une God, who first made the angelic creation, then the universe we know, then mankind, and Who will one day remake all of it – we end up in a very grown up place where we know who we are, why we are here, where all of it is going, and more or less how it’s going to get there. Many of us are watching the mess in the Middle East unfold and it feels like watching a movie of a book we’ve read. There will be surprises but not big ones. Even 9/11 felt inevitable to those of us who’d been paying attention.

If God is the creator, and He is, then our job is not to go beyond Him. It’s not even to go to Him – for He has come to us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)