By J. Jeff Toler, Shenandoah Christian Alliance
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. – Aeschylus
Aeschylus was an ancient Greek tragedian who made several, similar poetic pronouncements. Unlike Solomon, who paid much praise to wisdom, Aeschylus painted a grim appraisal of it. Still, we would have to admit we resonate to this declaration, because it seems to be part of our experience. But now, we must prepare for the pain that the loss of wisdom will certainly bring.
These last 26 weeks, “Understanding the Times” has surveyed the landscape of our society—and its culture—for evidence explaining the loss of American values and traditions. These values were once revered as the benchmark for most all of the western world. But it can be plainly stated, “Not so much any more.” What could have possibly happened, and why so quickly?
In this season of America’s travail, many think in strictly polarized terms. This is because we have finally found ourselves in a stark battle for good versus evil. If the sixties were the years of free speech, desegregation, peace, and free love, how did the last sixty years carry us to here? Perhaps because the sixties were the launchpad for America’s present dystopia. The lack of a well-articulated objective for the sixties’ radicals has finally reached its inevitable conclusion: It’s never really been about objectives and everything about… chaos.
“The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity”
In this brilliant new book, author and historian, Douglass Murray has given us a precisely articulated explanation to what has happened to America, and all of the Western World. Ironically, Murray does not identify as a Christian, or for that matter, as heterosexual, but he has much to teach us about the importance of religious conviction, and of the danger of the militancy of gay—and indeed all—identity rights.
The world is now “woke.” We have accepted wokeness in the universities, or political protests, but we are baffled that major corporations—not to mention a number of churches too, are on board with woke as well. Why?
Perhaps because they are not willing to pay the high price of resisting the assault by the leftist/Marxist cabal that claims to threaten either the profits of the one, or the moral province of the other. This explains why “Black Lives Matter” is a marketing campaign, or why BLM signs are pinned to the front lawn of the local church. It’s as if both have painted their “lintels and doorposts” and are pleading, “Leave us alone, pass us over.” It is not merely cowardly, it is the cheapest of cowardice. Resistance isn’t futile, it’s just not worth it. Moral courage is not among their virtues, because they have abandoned both morals and courage, and prefer relevance over virtue. The ignorant are all too ready to buy in.
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” (C. S. Lewis)
If we think of ourselves living in a “Cave” as Plato famously conceived in his “Republic,” we believe only what we are allowed to see. As prisoners bound to only one interpretation—a result of our imprisonment, then reality eludes us. We should now know our children are prisoners in such a cave. Shadows are their reality. Real Light is the only way to see Real Truth. Wisdom and truth are never separated.
Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Our students are denied developing critical thinking in the public schools, and more than few private schools as well.
Leaving the cave is not impossible, but we need help.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Education is a difficult process, requiring assistance and sometimes force. Plato is saying education involves struggle; our struggle is to see the truth, and to be critical thinkers. We resist because ignorance is bliss, and the truth can be a painful experience. (Just ask Aeschylus.)
America is in the fiercest of fights in all her long and splendid history. Generations have been robbed of reality, learning only the godless dogma of cultural Marxism and leftist secularism, and no other narrative. Now, the enemy has decided to tear down what is left of liberty and truth. Emboldened, they smell victory. Look closely. The shadows are the constructs of deceit, humiliation, and fear… always the fear. They are gambling there is no longer any consensus, only division and polarization.
We have gone as far as we can go in our long “slouch towards Gomorrah.” Any further, and we are into the abyss. Will God continue to bless America? A cynic would reply, “Why should He?” The Christian will say, “Forgive us Father, for we know not what we do.”
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Because our hope is in the Lord, we have no other choice but to teach our children the truth. If we love God, we love The Truth. If there is to be a lasting future for America, We can do no less.