Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Camp Christianity)

Watermelons and Worldviews

Douglas Wilson

Twenty years ago or thereabouts, Christian worldview seminars for young people were all the thing. The erosion of centuries of cultural consensus had become generally apparent, and so a number of organizations and churches threw themselves into the task of helping young people—who were obviously going to be bringing up their children in bizarroworld—to know how to navigate said world. If you could call it a world.

But as time went by, and as things got weirder, a number of the cool kids began to sneer at the term worldview. As though life consisted of a cluster of conservative propositions! “Here, roll this thought around in your head. It will fix everything.”

And of course, as with all effective lies, there was an element of truth in this, as in, a smidgen of truth. A worldview does consist of more than just thoughts. We must include the way we worship, and the way we actually live, the symbols we use, and the non-Darwinian story we tell of our people and how we got here. In other word, everything we are and do is part of our worldview.

The problem was that those who sneered at the term worldview were not in the process of ascending above the truth of biblical propositions, but rather in the decadent process of sinking below them.
They were not stretching to apply to the authority of Christ to all the practical details of their lives, now that they had taken every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). Not a bit of it.

The spirit of our age is made up of a yearning for pointlessness. If everything is pointless, if there is no fundamental assigned telos, then I can give my lusts free rein. I can go wherever I want. I can be whatever I want. Are you a strapping dude athlete who wants to compete for the women’s long jump gold medal in the next Olympics? No sweat. No absurdity is too great for our blinkered generation to swallow. We are almost at the raggedy denouement, the point when the warden of the asylum is about to come into our ward, tell us all to pipe down, and flick the lights on and off at us. For—let us be frank—letting a guy compete in a women’s athletic event is comparable to letting that same fellow enter himself as a watermelon in the state 4-H competition.

The problem is not the troubled soul who thinks he is a watermelon. The problem is all the judges, who all have responsible lives, who pay their mortgages on time, standing around with solemn looks on their faces, without any earthly idea about where they might go to purchase the horse laugh that is so desperately needed. But the only place where such a thing might be purchased is in a Christian worldview seminar.

I referred to the Darwin thing a moment ago, and here is why. I would identify the ur-culprits of our disintegrating world as Kant and Darwin. Kant sought to put the world as it is, the world God actually gave us dominion over, out of our reach. We cannot know the world as it is. We can only know the thoughts in our heads, and at the end of the day, left alone with the thoughts in my head, detached from things as they actually are, I discover these deep yearnings to be a watermelon.

And don’t try to tell me that I have put too many eggs in the pudding by using absurd examples. Don’t tell me that my personal choices can easily trump the xx/xy chromosomal thing, making biology a stodgy thing of the past, and then go on to tell me that I shouldn’t use watermelon examples. Why can’t my choices trump anything genetic? Why do they just have authority over this part of the genetic strand? And not that part? When Rachel Dolezal made her attempted leap over the racial chasm by this means, she was making a much smaller leap than was attempted by Bruce Jenner. Yesterday, race; today, sex; and tomorrow, tasty specimens from the gourd family. The vistas open up all by themselves. They unfold naturally, leaving aside the fact that there is no such thing as naturally anymore.

Darwin summons us to madness via another route. The bĂȘte noire of the Darwinists is purpose, telos, intention, design. This is why they freak out when anyone, even if a fellow atheist like Thomas Nagle, suggests that there has to be a point. For if there is a point in the world, that world outside my ego, then it is conceivable that my lusts might have to submit to something other than their own imperious demands.

But in the blind world of natural selection, where there is no point, where there can be no intention, where goals are only apparent, and where everything is in the process of turning into everything else, what on earth could be wrong with a sex change operation? Knock yourself out. There is no point. There is no natural use of the woman, as that benighted apostle once claimed. There can be no natural use of the man.

So the contemporary world is governed by a deep hatred of telos. And the starting point for identifying the nature of this madness is what we think about it. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Rom. 12:1-2, Phillips).
In the next installment, I hope to address all the halfway measures that pomo-influenced Christians adopt in order to let the world push them halfway into the mold. I refer, of course, to tattoos, liturgical dress-ups, eyeliner on guys, metrosexuality, postmodern historical studies, lumbersexuality, and exotic drinks from the Orient. And if anyone reacts to anything on this list, saying that’s not prohibited in the Bible, it only goes to show the need for more Christian worldview seminars.

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