Modern American culture defies any easy description. Overall, one could say that it has no center that would make it a coherent phenomenon. There are numerous hard things we can say about it. Modern American culture defies the traditional virtues, both cardinal–courage, self-control, justice, and prudence and theological–faith, hope, and love–in favor of sexual intemperance and obsession. Modern American culture defies God. The Lord has become a outworn symbol of a bygone time, need of whom we think we have surpassed. God represents an old order that has no credibility in our lives. We mistakenly believe that we are fully capable of handling life on our own. The millennia with God have been exceeded by a New Age of godlessness. Well, not exactly. Gods remain among us, but the true God is so often forgotten and regarded as obsolete.
We have deified the creature, a tendency no different from the inclinations of the past. In Greco-Roman religion the natural elements along with other created objects and ideas were deified. Now the same is happening today. We have deified ourselves along with objects we heed with enthusiasm. The gods of today have the familiar faces of the gods of the past. Most particularly, sex is the monarch of immortals and mortals. Venus (Aphrodite) has taken the place of Jupiter (Zeus). From her throne she rules the world. Our behavior matches the intemperance of the gods of yore.
We have defied God and deified what is not God. We have become gods who worship other gods. We fragile created beings are senseless about our proper place in this world. We are mortals but attempt to act as gods. As a result, we live in a maelstrom swirling about us and in us. We exist amidst turmoil. Many of our politicians are out of control; our cities are dangerous; so many have enjoyed the lawlessness by making a significant contribution to it; our talk is silly; our ears are closed; our understanding and sympathy for others have shrunk; and our level of trust has withered to almost nothing. “Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor and no one speaks the truth;” (Jeremiah 9: 4-5a ESV)
Defy and deify is what the Christian deals with as he makes his way through the culture. We become weary with the nonsense. And yet, we must stand in the midst of it all and announce the Kingdom of God, while repenting of our own sins.
December 12, 2022