There is apparently some debate over whether Chesterton said it, but if he didn’t, I think we can all agree that he should have. “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing–they believe in anything.” I tried to look up the source for that quote this morning, and what I ran into were pages listing “things Chesterton didn’t say.”
And I say this because our culture, what’s left of it, is no longer on a slippery slope. Neither are we at the bottom of a slippery slope. No, my friends, we are in free fall and picking up speed. But, the culture replies, you may call it free fall, but we self-identify as still being back in the plane, as snug as any passenger ever was.
Allow me to link you to three demented stories. The first has to do with the mainstreaming of incest. The second has to do with folks cutting off limbs or opting for a wheelchair while perfectly healthy so that they can “identify” as transabled. And then last, but certainly most celebrated, Bruce Jenner now identifies himself as Caitlyn Jenner after having himself fixed. Being the kind of hater I am, I am afraid that I am not going to be addressing him as Caitlyn — the most accommodation I will offer is that of calling him Jenner. As a result of the marvels of modern surgery and the even greater marvels of Photoshop, Jenner now graces the cover of Vanity Fair in much the same way that he used to adorn those old boxes of Wheaties.
But the broad cultural issue in all of this is not the fact that some people are tempted by incestuous desires — the prohibitions are in the Bible for a reason. We live in a screwed up world. Neither are we to be surprised that the world contains some people troubled enough to want to cut off limbs and so on — though that particular story, even if legit, is unlikely to become a thing that involves millions. And we have always had troubled souls who are confused about their sexual identity.
The problem is not the hurting people; the problem is that they are self-destructing in front of a culture that has nothing whatever to say to them. If you don’t believe in God, you do not believe in nothing. You will fall for anything.
We are not responsible for the one-off oddities. Our society is not sick unto death because we contain such people. There have always been those troubled enough to maim themselves sexually and call it good — pretending to be Jehovah during creation week. The troubling symptom is the universal acclaim for Jenner, and the fact that in this general celebration the only people who will catch any of society’s disapproval will be those who understand, and say, that Jenner is one troubled puppy.
So the problem is not Jenner. The problem is the surgeon who will not have his credentials removed by the AMA. The problem would be the money-whores at Vanity Fair. The problem is that the solons in charge of everything are very smart people who self-identify as still sitting in the cockpit of an airborne plane.
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is. 5:20).