By UpstateNYer – Own work
So much of today’s news seems unreal. Middle Eastern Muslim mobs molesting and raping German women in front of the Cologne cathedral, for example. It presents a troubling tale of two religions: a powerless Christian orthodoxy in the grip of a merciless Islamic fist. Meanwhile, elites in the statehouse and the media can’t seem to acknowledge the reality right in front of them.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Such a situation is the natural fruit of the postmodern era. For a generation at least, many people have professed that no absolute truth exists, only individual preferences. We are left with either subjectivism – “How does it feel?” or pragmatism – “Will it work?” Many people have no standard for truth. And certainly if there is no God who is sovereign over the universe, and thus no universal truth, they are correct: in such a world there can be no absolute right and wrong.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs, on the other hand—like the Bible as a whole—never tries to argue for the existence of God. God as the almighty, eternal, infinite Creator is assumed. In keeping with that foundation, Proverbs tells us that wisdom calls people to reality, beginning with the reality of God.
Our postmodern world may be viewed as the anti-reality. Nothing is fixed. All is relative. The concept of absolute truth is rejected; one’s “truth” is made up as one goes through life. For example, beauty has no objective basis for evaluation: it lies in the eye of the beholder. This denies what is clearly disclosed by revelation, nature, and the mind—that an absolute standard for truth, goodness and beauty exists. To refuse to recognize this is to be willfully blind.
Such folly would be immediately apparent if people treated other creation laws with the same careless, subjective judgment. Suppose someone were to protest, “Your concept of gravity may be true for you but that doesn’t make it true for everyone” and then act on that foolishness. Of course the suggestion is ridiculous, but it serves to illustrate the folly of abandoning reality in any dimension. All God’s laws eventually play out in human life. Gravity is simply more immediate in its effects, not more real. Some consequences take a lifetime to be fully experienced.
The postmodern view of sexuality has erased many protective boundaries and threatens to dissolve even more. In the West, teenagers are expected to be sexually active; society’s efforts are directed only at teaching them to practice so-called “safe” sex. There is no recognition of the sacred nature of human sexuality. The human body is reduced to animal urges to be satisfied at a whim. Proponents of so-called same-sex marriage are denying reality, dismantling thousands of years of tradition in every culture of the world. Societies thrive when they honor the Creator’s standards for marriage. In fact, restricting sexual expression to one man-one woman marriage is wise and has civilized societies. On the other hand, sexual license in all its forms is foolish and erodes stability, not only for individuals and families but the stability of communities and nations as well.
The founders of the US enshrined in the Declaration of Independence their understanding that God has endowed all humans with inalienable rights. Many people profess to agree, and indeed protest with great vigor any perceived encroachment on such rights, while at the same time denying any absolute standard for those rights. A moment’s reflection reveals the inconsistency in such a posture.
To deny reality is to live in folly
The attacks of 9/11 were a shock to all of us, but maybe to postmoderns most of all. The vivid destruction and horror powerfully contrasted the position of jihadism with that of postmodernism. No one could deny that real planes flew into real buildings. Real people died. Like the sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic, the Twin Towers—those monuments to man’s ingenuity and technical accomplishment—collapsed into dust and rubble as the world watched.
The attacks were a wake-up call to all of us. But to those who want to pretend that their world is what they make it … who delude themselves with the notion that reality is individually defined … it’s hard to imagine a clearer rebuttal.
Here’s another way to illustrate the folly of ignoring or denying reality as an objective standard. Who does not seek medical attention when he is suffering physically? Why do we go, prescription in hand, to the pharmacy and buy medicine? Why do we expect penicillin to be effective? On what basis could such an expectation make any sense other than the fact that penicillin works because God designed it to work?
Wisdom calls people to reality. For life to flourish, people must live within the framework of reality as God made it, not within the illusions of what they imagine life to be.
- From a forthcoming book by Darrow Miller and Gary Brumbelow