If we are not too proud to learn a little ethical wisdom from Hank Williams, I would like to share the chorus from one of his songs with you.
Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in itHank Williams
Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in it
Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in it
I can’t buy no beer
The takeaway message from such a simple refrain should be that when your bucket has no bottom, there is no sense going to the well.
But providing us all with yet one more example of hope triumphing over experience, the children of men will continue to go to the well, in the hope of bringing some water back. And after they have done so, they would like to sit down in order to relax and have a beer. But alas, their bucket had a hole in it.
We do this because we are created in the image of God, and we are not what our approved dogma claims that we are. We claim that we are the end product of so many millions of years of evolution—time and chance acting on matter—but the thundering stupidity of such a lie cannot erase the divine signature on the heart of man. God has put eternity into our hearts (Ecc. 3:11), and try as we might, we cannot successfully replace that reality with millions of years of aimless genetic groping.
No matter how many times we are told that the universe has no meaning, we persist in acting as though it does. Even the nihilist who pleads with us to recognize that everything is pointless is somehow assuming that his sentences, and point of view, have a point. We can run but we can’t hide, in other words.
Mankind cannot be consistently logical at this point, but it has to be said that we keep attempting it. Sartre once said that without an infinite reference point, every finite point is absurd, which is exactly correct. And clown world is the attempt to live this out.
Let me illustrate a couple of ways we are doing this, and then predict what is going to happen in the blow back.
A number of decades ago, I was speaking at an education conference on the East Coast, and was a participant in a panel discussion of various educators. One of the other panelists was a math instructor from somewhere in Canada. In the course of our discussion, I told the story of an interview for a teaching position at Logos that I was a part of conducting. The young man being interviewed was an earnest young Christian who had just graduated from Washington State University with a teaching degree. Because he had gone through the state system, one of the questions I asked him was this: “If you wrote the word H O R S E on the board, and asked a student to read it, and the student read it as pony, what would you do?” To this our applicant replied that he would praise the student. He was in the ballpark, and my assumption is that our intrepid applicant meant that it was an equine quadruped. That’s as may be, but it is not phonics. But that is not the point of this story. At the end of telling this story, I made a little joke about this kind of thinking spreading to the math department, and when little Billy is asked what two plus two is, he might reply with a question. “What do you want it to be?” This got a laugh, and the story could have ended there, but the math instructor from Canada interrupted our revelry with the sobering news that this is what they were already doing in his school. If you deny objective truth, then how can it be true that two and two make four?
As I have said on numerous occasions, relativism is a universal corrosive. There are no containers that can hold it. It eats out every container you try to keep it in, which means that you cannot keep it.
In short—and I am going to ask you to follow me closely here—you cannot reject objective truth, and then whistle up objective truth on demand whenever it suits you. If objective truth does not over arch the world, then nothing whatever under girds the world. If there is no objective truth, then it cannot even be true that there is no objective truth. The only thing that remains is raw power.
But in the meantime, anyone who thinks that two and two make four, all the time, no exceptions, is clearly a bigot, and almost certainly a white supremacist. Of course, since we are now living in gumby world where everything stretches every which way, there is nothing wrong with being a white supremacist. Stick a pin in that one. We shall come back to it.
What is true about objective truth is equally true about objective ethical morality. You cannot banish it, and then restore it on a whim. The elders of Gilead can banish Jephthah, and then when they get in trouble with the Ammonites, they can go fetch him back again. It is possible under such circumstances to go back and say you are sorry (Judg. 11). Some mistakes can be repented—while other provide no room for repentance.
Say you were to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, and it turns out that free fall is not as much fun as you were anticipating. Going back to remedy things is a tad more challenging. Sometimes the die is cast, and it turns out that you did what you just did. There are some choices that turn out to be irrevocable.
But not all irrevocable choices are quick. It is often the case, when it comes to the process of cultural moral collapse, that the whole thing does not go at once. It is a process of moral collapse, and at each stage of this process all the enlightened ones congratulate themselves on the fact that we are not at the next stage of the process. Indeed, they assure us all—in solemn and dignified tones—that the next stage of the slippery slope is not, and I am quoting here, “going to happen.” And the only problem with this outlook is that it happens. These reassurances are consistently worthless. And so the process of delusional rationalization resumes. But the next thing is not going to happen. And then it does.
But what about the personal prospects for these failed reassurance prophets? What about those who said peace, peace, but then it turns out there is no peace? It is all right for them on a personal level because they can usually get some kind of editorial gig at Christianity Today or Eerdmans. Or maybe an adjunct position at Calvin.
We are currently at this point with the sexualization of children. I am currently listening to a (very fine) book called The Air We Breathe by Glen Scrivener. He makes the indisputable point that in the ancient world, nobody worried about the sexual use of children, and he points out that it was the influence of Christians that put a stop to that. But that was a process, and processes can go the other way. It was possible to climb up that particular slippery slope, as the early Christians did, and it is also possible to slide back down it again, as we contemporary Christians are doing. All while congratulating ourselves on our winsomeness.
I sometimes wonder why being winsome doesn’t ever win some. Why does winsomeness always keep losing?
Scrivener points out that despite our current “anything goes” climate, pedophilia is still off limits. But, in pursuit of the point I am making, I think we have to say it is off limits for now. You see, provided there has been a general clamor that demands a particular sexual satisfaction be granted, as is now happening, it is not possible for this diseased society of ours to say no. And why? Our bucket’s got a hole in it.
That clamor is certainly in process. The drag shows for children are an essential part of it. Sex education in the government schools is an essential part of it. The trans surgeries for kids are an essential part of it. The sexualization of kids in the advertising industry is an essential part of it. The child porn on Twitter that Elon got rid of was an essential part of it.
So here is the question. What on earth made us think that we Christians could stand by and allow for the re-paganization of our society and, at the end of the process, not have paganism? We are living in the world God made—we are not living in a Disney movie. And in the world that God made, the world that God governs, He is not mocked. And the meaning of “He is not mocked” is that a man will reap what he sows. What goes in the ground as seed will come out of the ground as a crop. You may depend upon it.
Red Pilled Secularists Are Not Exactly a Bright Spot
When our current madness gets to the point of actual bloodshed—and apart from divine intervention I currently see no way it can be avoided—the explosion is going to be horrific. There will be any number of indefensible things that are going to be done to the dissolute and lecherous relativists by the hard-bitten and red-pilled relativists, and there is no sense looking at me. I am not about to defend the indefensible, and I can’t remember all the ways I tried to warn everybody. I can protest it, and I will, but the current crop of relativists have set the pattern for ignoring good sense from the Bible.
But when the hard and reactionary relativists start in on the soft relativists, the soft relativists will have absolutely nothing to say. That won’t keep them from wailing though.