Sunday, May 8, 2016

Society’s Cognitive Dissonance

Fox News recently reported about a city ordinance that is now being considered by the Wisconsin legislature. According to the report, the city is considering fining parents if their children act as bullies. The fines were not specified, but the idea is that the city police force will enforce the statutes and, as the report put it, come to your house if necessary to ensure that you pay the penalty for your children’s bad behavior. Of course, if we know anything about parenting at all, it is that parents not only should be held accountable, but are in fact accountable for their children’s behavior.

But what of the legal consequences that are associated with this activity? According to recent studies, bullying has reached epidemic proportions. Of course, now a days whenever something attracts the news media’s attention, it will be tagged as an epidemic regardless of what the actual facts may be. But there is no denying that this behavior has been on the increase for many years. Some of it can no doubt be attributed to the increasing reach that technology has. Many of the problems that we face today have been around for a very long time. But now we are able to see such issues up close and personal in a matter of seconds. If someone goes on a shooting spree half way around the world, we find out about it in a matter of minutes.

All that aside, however, my real issue with all this is the fact that people want to sow to the wind, but not reap the whirlwind. The prophet long ago reminded us that we cannot expect to reap anything but the whirlwind if our reaping is consistently done to the wind (Hosea 8). In other words, don’t expect a bumper crop if you don’t put the seed in the ground! But today, everyone wants to violate this axiom and still come up smelling like roses. You see it every day. We don’t want more teen promiscuity, but we go out of our way to give such individuals the “right” to have abortions or the “day after” pill. As a matter of fact, we are ever decreasing the age at which a child has to get their parents’ permission to do much of anything, while at the same time ever increasing the age at which we hold the child accountable for their actions.

 Studies are now being conducted that are questioning the long standing law that sees someone 18 and older as a legal adult for criminal purposes. Up to now, if you committed a crime and you were 18 years old, you were treated as an adult and were subject to such adult penalties. However, there is now a movement that seeks to use psychological studies to bolster their belief that such individuals should not receive adult penalties if they are any younger than 25! Can you imagine that? And what about the health insurance issue? As we know, under the so-called Obamacare, children can now stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26. Again, one more sign that we seek to infantilize the adult and “adultetize” the child.

Where can all this lead? Just as the laws of nature cannot be violated—regardless of how much you may want to think otherwise, stepping off a tall building will probably kill you—the laws of God cannot be either. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that also hall he reap. Those who sow to the flesh from the flesh will reap corruption” (Galatians 6:7-8). It is impossible to continue to hold the beliefs and ideas that we so often do and expect good to come out of it. How can anyone with half a brain think that allowing a 12 year old to have an abortion, and without their parents’ consent, indeed without even their knowledge result in anything worthwhile?

Of a truth it is that our society has fallen under the spell of the evil one. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul reminds his readers that those who are of the world have had their minds blinded by the evil one. In fact, says Paul, their minds are so blinded and they are in such as stupor, that they are even unable to see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. It is as if the apostle is telling the Corinthians that some are so blinded that even the good news of the gospel cannot penetrate such a mind! Thus, we should not be surprised that their concept of love and tolerance includes such perversions as the ones I have already mentioned.

As children of light, however, we do not follow such pursuits. On the contrary, we are always awake and ready for the day when the Lord comes for it can come at any moment (1 Thessalonians 5). Every generation, from the apostles who proclaimed the message in the shadow of the cross, to the bishops that met at Nicaea to us today, expect the Lord to come in their lifetimes. And that is as it should be. Let us not be of those who continue in their blindness and who are asleep in their sin. But rather, let us be of those who shine a light on such behavior and seek to be salt to this earth.


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