If you go by the news reports, you would think that a fresh wave of madness has spread across the US. But it is only confirmed by the reporting of local events. Indeed, right here in my own neighborhood it seems the crazy factor has risen a few notches.
Revisit the story of King Saul’s madness; it was episodic (1 Samuel 19-20). It’s typical in Scripture that madness is one thing, but madness as a symptom of demonic presence is typically episodic. The Devil and his minions come and go because they have so very much to do (Job 1:7; Luke 4:13). Yes, the subject of madness in the Bible is very complex, but partly so because of how poorly Western minds grasp the biblical mind.
Of course, that’s the key to why God’s wrath rests so heavily on America. As a nation, we simply do not understand God and His Word. Jay noted the other day that genuine Anglo-American Christianity is reflected in the mythology of Tolkein’s fiction. It’s highly paganized and devoid of Hebraic lore; it is very close to the ancient outlook from Beowulf.
And while this still has a powerful effect on all the unconscious assumptions behind Anglo-American culture, there is an equally pernicious big move to suppress religion altogether by shoving it into some imaginary realm of mere sentiment. Religion is reduced to another hobby like hard-core Tolkein fandom; it’s just fantasy entertainment. There’s nothing to mark it as better than fans of John Norman’s Gorean fantasies. In other words, there were never any good options for Westerners seeking genuine faith because no one takes it seriously without major compromises with cerebral logic.
It’s not that people cannot come to genuine faith, but that they are presented with no good ways of bringing it to life. The Western religion buffet is full of varied flavors but there’s nothing that actually feeds the soul. If it’s not subjected under reason, it’s considered frivolous. There is no place for the heart as the seat of moral will. The West has precluded any lore that recognizes the validity of heart-led moral conviction. There’s no end of substitutes, but no hint of the thing itself.
So we see the symptoms of an America utterly lacking in the only anchoring point God gave us. The entire worldview rests on any number of things external to the soul. There is this romantic fiction that if anyone anywhere takes logic and reason seriously, they cannot end up far from some standard scientism as religion. There is a presumed common core of rational literacy that takes the place of a deep lore of faith. It’s a religion that cannot see itself as a religion. It’s loaded with all kinds of a priori assumptions about what is good and right, so it functions like any other religion.
Here’s just one example: While the details vary, the human physical ideal in the West is restricted to Greco-Roman imagery. We’ve been taught to exclude anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal. We are discouraged from recognizing it as a matter of one cultural image among many. Furthermore, so-called remedies are based on even crazier ideals. Has anyone noticed how, in the Bible, feminine beauty has no particular standard? Can you see that the starting point is genuine affection for her in the first place, so that the eye of love (commitment) seeks any noteworthy feature as “beautiful”? Nobody seems to realize that men are wired to do that.
The Western male obsession with objective standards of beauty, wherein men are taught to seek a woman who fits this standard, leads to all kinds of social madness. On the one hand, the Western male is taught to reject anyone below that certain standard, and yet when he finds someone he really likes, he’ll rationalize and compromise that it’s a matter of individual taste. He never really knew what he honestly wanted, and what he could and should accept. Western man isn’t allowed to think first in terms of how a woman might be actually useful in his life, so he’s forced into all kinds of mental gymnastics to do what his heart requires. There’s a pernicious mythology that pushes the heart off into spooky territory and keeps it there.
Western society lacks any firm foundation for making the most of what God has given us. We don’t have too many couples consciously aware of what really pulls them together, or what constitutes stability, or what defines a good marriage. And this is just one narrow example of Western failure to provide a place for the individual soul to stand against the vagaries of human fortune or misfortune. It’s a miracle of mercy that we didn’t incinerate ourselves with nukes a long time ago.
So the current madness is actually pretty tame compared to what it could be. Let me encourage you to stop several times every day and check to see if you are walking the heart-led path. Make it your one measure of self-discipline. This is how you are going to survive and prosper as we are taken for a wild and torturous ride. We can talk about tribulation in broad terms, but it should be a form of entertainment as we watch the particulars play out. Don’t be caught off guard; humans haven’t seen this in a very long time. The end of a civilization is really big stuff, and we are permitted a rare glimpse of such things.