So we have identified a basic right and wrong - a truth - that exists regardless of opinion (we are not saying that we have it all understood, just that it exists). But enough of the philosophical, let’s move to the practical. We just needed to provide a basis for thinking through worldviews and assumptions – because they are in the background thinking of all we do and say. They effect how we feel about ourselves, and the world around us. Now, let’s look again at our culture and see how it relates. What can be uncovered regarding “blindspots” to the truth? We suggested earlier that some of our worldviews and assumptions betray who we’re designed to be. And that the outpouring would be the rage, depression, and anxiety we see in our world today. Let’s unpack this a little more…
What will happen to our relationships and understanding of community if we deny the existence of a common journey of truth that unites us and binds us together? Will the result mean that people live merely to pursue our own agendas and desires? If we ignore the common path of truth and morality, we will inevitably leave a path that is self-serving? If there is any truth to what we are saying here, we should see signs of it in our culture. Maybe we will find that people don’t know how to relate to one another anymore? 
We shouldn’t be surprised to find divorce rates high, with children left broken-hearted over the dysfunction and decimation of their families. Nor should it surprise us if people walk away from each other (their friendships, commitments, and responsibilities) the minute conflict arises. Our culture has conditioned ourselves this way! The outcomes will be evident:
  • Increased feelings of isolation and a lack of belonging
  • Violence and cruelty – perhaps even hatred and anger as people walk down the street, in our schools, or in the shopping malls!
  • People avoiding their relational responsibilities – like their own children!
  • An increase in temporary and shallow means of escape, or attempts to fill this void in the human condition – like substance abuse, fads that mutilate or change appearance, and sex without meaning
  • A pursuit of pleasure regardless of pain or damage to others (or self)
If the bonds that are supposed to bring comfort and security to the human experience crumble, should we be surprised to find a world where people are angry, depressed and anxious? Think about this:
  • In the 1960’s, the trust and belief in the integrity of our political institutions and leaders fell hard. The effects are still felt today. There is a feeling that the political state is alienated and opposed to the empowerment of the people. Our leaders are most viewed as immoral and self-serving
  • In the 1970’s, the family institution fell, with divorce rates soaring. The belief that family meant security was rocked. These effects are still felt today, with the rise of children born without both parents continuing to grow. Families, which should be the training ground for learning to be relational and exhibit loving-kindness, are now too often ground zero for conflict, rejection and abandonment
  • In the 1980’s scandals rocked churches and institutions of faith. For many people, faith provided the cultural lens through which the world was seen. Faith got us through times of tragedy and triumph both. Now, the centers for faith communities are closing and marked with scandal and abuse
Tough truths! What are we to take from this? That people don’t know how to relate to each other? What do you do when the human longing for community has been perverted? For many, the answer is to crawl within one’s self – a response that furthers isolation and despair. Look at modern trends and technology to see how they relate –
  • How many towns look like communities anymore, with centers for people to come together and celebrate life together?
  • Music used to be something that was shared in community. Now it finds its most common expression through headphones on iPods and mp3 players
  • The most common means of social networking is through online sites that trade meaningful conversation for quick updates, body language for keyboard faces, and touch for type. Our popularity depends more on our online network skills than true personality
  • Video games now provide the means for the life we desire – virtually. Virtual families to replace the time-honored tradition of sitting together at family dinner and sharing our life together. If we don’t like a character – we just delete them!

These trends aren’t the cause of cultural dysfunction, but they are an alarming result of it. And as a result, they certainly can propel us further in this downward direction. What we are really talking about here is the de-humanization of society, where value and worth are increasingly diminished. We live lives of replaceable tasks instead of finding the worth of masterful accomplishment. Or as Henry David Thoreau said, “most men live lives of quiet desperation.” If you can agree that these trends reflect an alarming result of the modern human experience, namely that people are increasing unaware of how to live and relate to one another, and that this stems from an increased feeling that we are not bound by a common path in the human experience (quest for truth, vision, morality, etc.), than open the gate on the right. Otherwise, open the gate on the left and return to things as usual.


Left Gate

Right Gate

Return to Life as Normal

Continue On