I ran across a chart recently that demonstrates a significant challenge of modern times. The title, “Everything we eat both causes and prevents cancer,” is laudatory for its clarity.
The world never quite seems very clear-cut. So, it would be easy to say that everyone’s experience must be different and those differences must then be existential qualifiers. In other words, your road is your own and mine is my own. Truth is not knowable; truth is flexible. “We’re all headed in the same direction.”
This is the familiar argument of smart people against postmodernism: If nothing is true, how can we be dogmatic about anything?
So, the postmoderns seem to have caught on and are filling the gap with their opinions du jour (or maybe that was the plan all along). In the vacuum left, we’re plugging in new “truths.” New (old) sins and virtues are coming from new (old) places.
All of this seems like an attempt to convince us that reality never gives us a firm “either / or” set of options. And worse, we are convinced that, given enough time and patience, all options can ultimately be embraced. It isn’t really “either / or” — it can be both, can’t it? Isn’t this the famous power of “and?”
After enough consideration, we convince ourselves that we never really have to say “no” to anything; evil and good eventually blend together and we don’t need to reject anything. We want – and are convinced we can have – both.
Racism is a high form of modern sin, unless it is the right kind of racism. Sexism is not to be tolerated, unless it is the kind of sexism that rejects the other sexism.
We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center.
We live in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two more roads and each of those roads forks into two again. At each fork, we have to make a decision. “And” isn’t an option.
Our lives are driven by entropy. Life is less like a pool than like a tree. It doesn’t move towards unity, but away from it.
Yet, here we are: with no hope to know where we are headed or how to get there, and no conviction that the road we’re on is right or wrong.
And so, instead of the ripening of truth that helps to differentiate not only Good from Evil, but good from good and evil from evil, we end up with a distinct lack of clarity about what those things (good and evil) really are – and no conviction to dismiss those “souvenirs of Hell” that we’d prefer to keep. We want Heaven with our favorite parts of Hell in hand.
I thought student loan debt was the biggest issue of this generation.
Choosing the wrong road is part of life. Knowing that it was wrong, turning around and heading back to the last fork helps make things right.
Turning around and changing direction is the solution to get to the right destination; never progressing forward without making a change.
Evil can be undone, but it cannot be developed into good.
All it takes is being lost to realize that not everything is good and not everywhere is Heaven.
Perhaps that’s why so much energy is spent convincing ourselves that we are not, after all, lost.
We are too often wrongly convinced that every road leads Home.