Monday, January 15, 2007

Uncivilized Civilization: The Call of the Wild

by Stephen Z. Biller

Recently, I coined a phrase to refer to modern, mainstream American culture: Heathen Nation. I see this evidenced in the body piercings and tattoos that disfigure the forms of so many individuals in the States today. Oh, and those forms--they don't have much on to to cover them anymore either! The sad thing is that it's not just young people--nor is it just the secular culture. More and more, this heathenization is spreading to all ages and classes, in the church and outside of it.

As evidenced by the popularity of Mel Gibson's recent gory, provocative flick Apocalypto, the "American dream" for many Americans today seems to be the pursuit of sensuous pleasure. I think that there are a lot of Americans who would like nothing better than to run around naked, giving in to every idea that pops into their heads. This is definitely the entertainment industry's dream for Western society, and people are buying it--literally. Look at what many of them wear, do, watch and play. From gory video games to prime time television that would have embarrassed even the most secular of entertainment gurus in days gone by--people are showing their primitive tastes.

I am reminded of Golding's classic Lord of the Flies. This book, contrary to most secular teachers' opinions, is an examination of life without the confines of God. The title "Lord of the Flies" is actually the English interpretation of the Greek word "Beelzebub." Yep, the name Jesus used for Satan. I never knew this until I ran across a review of the book on a Catholic teen magazine's website. Throughout the novel, the "Lord of the Flies" is a voice that speaks to the main character and tries to get him to follow his comrades into their riotous, uncivilized way of living. The boy refuses, through great effort, and perseveres until the group is rescued from the island. Unfortunately, the other boys, who give in to their "natural" call of sin, commit horrible crimes that will undoubtedly haunt them for the rest of their lives.

I do not believe that society is what keeps us pure. As a creationist, I recognize the Biblical truth that civilization left alone would continually degrade to destruction at its own hands (not evolve to a continually better state!). God's grace is the only thing that has enabled mankind to form itself into peaceful, constructive groups. He initiated society when He created the first family (the very foundation of any society), and He has guided civilization throughout the centuries. Thus, I believe that God made society in order to help us live upright lives. We are not intended to be solitary creatures, at least not as a norm. (There might be times in your life when God calls you into solitude in order for you can hear Him better.)

What does this mean for the Christian? What practical application can you and I take away from this? Well, throughout history God has used His people to preserve civilized living in the world. Sanctity of life is the best name for what separates a godly civilization from a heathen one, and this is protected by purity and prudence in the individual. Government can help to ensure these things, but only on an outer level. The root of the problem (the heart of men) can only be addressed by God through His Son. Thus, the born-again believer has the responsibility to live a wholesome, holy lifestyle in line with the teaching of the Bible.

Prov. 14:34 tells us, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."
and Psalm 33:12 says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." (NIV)

It is up to the Conservative, Christian community to preserve a righteous civilization in America and the Western World. We must resist the temptations of Beelzebub and live as one who has "died, now hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). For we "have been raised with Christ" (v. 1) and become "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37, NIV).

We can and must stand strong against the urges of "natural" sin!

Special Note:
I have not seen Apocalypto, nor do I intend to. I highly recommend that you do NOT go to see it either; from what I have read, you would probably regret it! Also, I have never read the whole of Lord of the Flies , but I understand that it is pretty intense. Thus, I urge caution if you do read it.