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Judaism and Christianity teach that life is difficult, and that there are reasons more important than ourselves to endure the suffering that we are sure to encounter during our lives. It’s not surprising that as we move further from religion, abortion and euthanasia become more accepted. Baby has Downs? That will be difficult. Death would better. Old person with cancer? That will be difficult. Death would be better. Without religion, why should we suffer?
Without religion, why are we living? Simply to amuse ourselves. So what happens when life is no longer amusing? We try to dull the pain with drugs. We try to escape reality with Netflix and video games. We try to replace love with porn. All of them help. Somewhat. Temporarily. Sort of. But we can’t escape that nagging feeling that something is missing. Something big.
Nietzsche was an atheist, but he predicted that as we moved away from God, we would destroy ourselves. Thomas Hobbes said much the same thing. And as they predicted, Western Civilization is self-destructing. Because it’s missing something. Something big. Things are getting difficult, and Rousseau’s romantic visions of simpler times start to sound tempting. Is modern society really so great? No, of course not. It might be easier to embrace cultural euthanasia than to embrace the something big that we’ve ignored.
President Reagan’s straightforward answer to a question in a press conference led to a rebuttal from the reporter: “But Mr. President, there are no simple answers!”
President Reagan instantly responded, “Yes, there are simple answers. There are just no easy answers.”
The self-destruction of Western Civilization may have a simple solution. But no easy solution.
We’ve been gradually moving away from God for at least 100 years now. The changes in our society have been gradual as well. Until recently. So many things are happening, all over the world, all at the same time. All of a sudden, things seem to be happening really fast.
Hemmingway would recognize this. How did Western Civilization collapse? Gradually. And then suddenly.
Some are going to say that this brief essay was over-simplified. Perhaps they’re right.
I hope they are.
Because if they’re wrong, then I don’t see a practical solution to our problem.
I find hope in my belief that God is not an uninterested bystander in the battle between good and evil.
But if Western Civilization becomes an uninterested bystander in the battle between good and evil, then we have a problem.
We seem to have a problem. A problem with no simple solution.
Well, a problem with no easy solution. This will be hard to fix. Because we’re missing something. Something big.Published in