Friday, July 24, 2009

Marriage in Trouble

It’s not often that a cover story in Time reinforces the Bible. But in the July 13th issue, Caitlin Flanagan eloquently did just that. Lambasting adulterous politicians Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. John Ensign, Mrs. Flanagan exposed their self-centered hypocrisy for the destructive behavior that it is. Both men built reputations as conservative and family-friendly. But their actions belie their professions.

Their sorry narcissism adds fuel to the fire of those who argue that conservative, pro-family leaders are hypocrites who spout idealistic principles in an effort to curry the favor of a certain segment of the voting population.

Numerous observers have documented the schizophrenia of American culture with respect to marriage. Society continues to uphold the ideal of a permanent, child-bearing marriage broken only by death. Yet, in practice, the decisions to marry and stay married have been declining for decades. Increasingly, people are choosing cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, or having no children.

Utilizing the hard facts of social science, Flanagan concludes: “There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage.” Even feminist sociologist Maria Kefalas is forced to concede that growing up without a father has a deep psychological impact on a child: “The mom may not need that man, but her children still do.”

The weakened state of American marriage is due to an unrealistic, romantic view of marriage setting impossible expectations that no relationship can achieve, and the myopic failure to account for the devastating consequences of marital breakup.

Flanagan wonders who is left to ensure that the next generation will appreciate the stability and blessings found only in enduring marriage. Her biting answer strikes at the heart of much marital failure: “the ones who are willing to sacrifice the thrill of a love letter for the betterment of their children.”

The bedrock of an enduring society, stable homes require hard work and regular maintenance. But unless present trends are reversed, cultural deterioration will only intensify.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Consequences of Conflicting Visions

This year the world remembers two men whose impacts upon society are beyond measure. July 10th marks the 500th birthday of John Calvin. Charles Darwin was born 200 years ago on February 12th.

By any reckoning, both men are giants of history. But it would be difficult to find two men with more contrasting visions of life and its significance. Darwin wrote that the laws of nature, apart from God, can explain “the beneficent arrangement of the world.” Rejecting a sovereign Creator, Darwin argued that an evolutionary process in which the fittest survive produced the human race.

Calvin taught the existence of God and that all men are accountable to Him. A product of God’s creative work, humans are obligated to worship God their Creator, seeking forgiveness for their sins that are an offence to His holiness.

The consequences of a Darwinian worldview are abundant and devastating. If men are the products of time and chance, ultimately life has no meaning. There can be no moral absolutes because God doesn’t exist. People are free to follow their own whims, biases, and perversions. No one is in a position to condemn the lifestyle of others. Darwinian thinking thus leads to moral and spiritual chaos.

Conversely, Calvin emphasized that the moral absolutes of God’s character must be the standards of human society. We can condemn certain lifestyle choices because God does. As Creator, He sets the standard for His universe. Moreover, there is such a thing as sin that must be recognized and restrained by society. Our own republican representative government grew out of a Calvinistic mindset. Darwin’s followers became proponents of Marxism and totalitarianism.

Calvin has left a legacy of respect for human life, the family as defined by the Bible, and the necessity of society operating under the law of God. The fruit of Darwinism is moral relativism, leading to abortion on demand, racism, eugenics, and oppression of the helpless.

Thank God for Calvin!