*Disclaimer: This is a departure from typical commentary on culture, current events, or politics. We are starting off in the deep end today because sometimes it’s good for us to toss the floaties aside and wade out of the lazy river continuum of circular direction and no destination.
Our day-to-day existence often consists of a hodgepodge of distractions, in no particular order:
Facebook, news, breakfast, commute, texting, work, cleaning, Instagram, work, Facebook, texting, work, news, workout, Twitter, texting, kids, Instagram, snack time, Facebook, groceries, news, coffee, Based American (cough), Facebook, news, kids, TV…and on. And on. And on. We go…around the lazy river.
We enjoy things. We rage about things. We are bored with things. We endeavor for things. And it’s in this vortex that we struggle for structure. Struggle for clarity. Struggle for meaning. And struggle for…help.
Let’s hop out of the lazy river for a minute today. Let’s take a plunge off the diving board and tread the deep water, to ponder what I’ll call “The Big Four”:
Where did I come from? (Origin)
Why am I here? (Meaning)
What are the rules? (Morality)
Where am I going? (Destiny)
(Write these questions down!)
Before we get too far, you should take a lot of comfort in the fact that I did not come up with this school of thought on my own. These four pillars have been identified by men infinitely smarter than myself – men who have dedicated much of their life to determining first the questions, then the answers to these questions (which are separate studies in and of themselves.)
Those questions, and our answers to those questions, form our worldview, which is arguably the most important thing about us.
Even if one’s answers are “I don’t know” or “nothing”, that worldview guides every decision, opinion, and conviction. Now I am not so presumptuous that I will try to answer these questions for anyone, (in fact, no one could do that for someone else) but we will use them as a guiding reference in a bit.
(Stay with my please – keep those legs kickin’. This is important and you will see why.)
Our answers to “The Big Four” follow our thoughts about God, an Ultimate Authority, A Higher Being, a Moral Lawgiver, etc.
Let’s look, for example, at the most widely claimed worldview among conservatives – Christianity. On the basis of Christianity, the answers to the “The Big Four” come easily…even an assiduously taught child could readily rattle them off in simple terms:
Where did I come from? God
Why am I here? For His glory
What are the rules? What the Bible says
Where am I going? Heaven
It is this worldview, or something quite similar, that provides a hope and stay to many in the lazy river. It provides structure, gives clarity, offers meaning, and brings help.
But what happens when you remove God (and hence origin, meaning, morality, and destiny) from the picture?
What so often answers the innate outcry within each person, for an authority higher than our finite selves? An authority that guides and directs our lives with goodness. An authority that decrees truth and rules for life, with fairness…and mercy. What and who answers to that cry within a person? Within a people group?
Government answers. It answers big. It becomes the hope in a hopeless world. It becomes the ultimate. The fixer of problems. The determination of truth. Of life. Of liberty. Of justice. Of morals and rules. It is the “bigger than us.’ How one chooses to align with it gives purpose and identity…beyond just their self. And here we see the catastrophe unfold:
Where did I come from? I came from nothing
Why am I here? ____________?
What are the rules? There are no rules. My experiential happiness is the greatest end.
Where am I going? To nothing
Government becomes the something in a lazy river of nothing.
It is easy to see how this big something could naturally become the source of answers and hope that problems will be fixed. But if you’ve lived on the planet for longer than a decade, you know that particular hope very quickly disappoints. It will always disappoint. Government will never cease to be inadequate, insufficient, inefficient, incompetent…you fill in the blank.
This is a pretty grim reality for those who have unwittingly put their hope in a horribly defunct machine.
But when you look at the canvas of today’s culture, it certainly explains a lot doesn’t it? The hysteria, the crying, the attacking, the censoring, the colluding, the lying, the shrieking, the weeping, the destroying, the parading, the killing, the destructing, the aborting, the undoing, the lamenting. (Good grief, just writing this out is depressing.)
Their ultimate, their god, fails them on a daily basis. The thing they need help from, requires constant help to even stand up. The structure is ever changing. The rancid haze of inevitable corruption clouds any clarity. Meaning becomes an elusive fairy-tale in a churning sea of perceived meaninglessness. And help never comes. Even the good things that government is designed to provide are mangled at the hands of the government worshipper.
It is at this point, in the dark fog of confusion and frustration, that many are faced with this realization:
The establishment cannot take the place of the Divine. The safety pin will never replace security. Programs falter when blessed assurance does not. Perversity shrieks at the sky in vain when faced with the truth. Death to the innocent cannot offer happiness to the hand that deals it. Pink hats cannot compete with hopeful smiles. Hiding evil does not erase inconvenient truth. And when everything in this world fails, godlessness fails with it.
There is no truth to be found along the banks of the lazy river when one cannot definitively answer “TheBig Four” questions with assurance that Someone designed it for a reason. There are no comforts; there is no point. “We came from nothing. This life means nothing. There are no unmoving rules for morality. And we are headed for nothing.” The lazy river that was meant for general enjoyment, becomes a cesspool of despair.
That is the bleak reality when government is God.