American media has been rocked by another shooting, this time the Chabad of Poway synagogue was targeted by a 19 year old male this last Saturday during services. After killing one woman and wounding several others, the shooter left the scene and surrendered to police shortly thereafter. Later that day John Earnest was charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder. He has also been charged with setting fire to a mosque earlier this year.
Of course five people were killed and twenty-eight people were wounded in Chicago over the weekend, but that hasn’t gotten nearly as much media hysteria or progressive sermonizing. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Actually it’s worse. It not only doesn’t fit the narrative, it explodes the narrative. Let me explain.
Details are still emerging, but the family of the shooter has been identified as a Christian family, members of a Reformed Presbyterian church (OPC), where the father apparently served as an elder. The reason this story has legs, the reason the media hyperventilates over this tragedy (and it really was a horrific tragedy), but reports Chicago shootings like the weather is because anti-semitism and fundamentalist Christianity are the real targets of the progressive agenda. Now let me be clear: there certainly should be some soul searching among the heartbroken members of the shooter’s family and congregation. But Joy Behar helpfully voiced what all the liberals want to do with this incident: place all of the blame on Donald Trump and all the evangelical Christians who refuse to be bullied by liberal outrage tactics and victim weaponizing. In her comments, Behar specifically called Trump the “culprit” because he refuses to condemn Americans who happen to think Robert E. Lee was a noble man worth remembering with public statutes.
Meanwhile in Chicago, home of progressive policy paradise, five people were killed in shootings and skies are partly cloudy with a 15% chance that anyone will notice.
Remember at the back of all of this is a clash of gods. Of course secularists will raise their eye brows and sip their tea and ask you whatever could you possibly be talking about. Surely, in this modern, most enlightened age, there’s no need to speak of “gods.” How barbaric, how medieval, how quaint. Thus spake Science, and thus spake psychology, and thus spake Joe “let me breathe my spirit on you” Biden.
Every society has a Grand Myth, the overarching Narrative that grants meaning and teleology and hope to the culture, and we are living in the midst of a great clash of narratives, a collision of worldviews. The one that has been gaining momentum since the Endarkenment under the auspices of rationalism and Darwinism is the Grand Narrative of Secularism. The High Priests of Salvation by Pure Reason Alone announced in solemn voices that the world was now free of all gods, goddesses, fairies, demons, sprites, leprechauns, unicorns, elves, and rainbows. Then, having banished the supernatural and magical, they spread their false gospel of secularism through the most modern form of alchemy called Darwinism, with the help of the theatrical swooning of 19th century media and academia. The promise of materialistic evolution and secular statism was the good news that religion was dead, the gods have been banished, and now people can get along through the use of pure reason and science and logic. No need for fighting or wars anymore. Beat your swords into plowshares, the great boogey man of religion was dead. Long live secularism, the state, rationalism, and “nature.”
Turns out just because officious men in trim suits announce that the demons and leprechauns are gone doesn’t mean anything. Men have been announcing that the world sprang out of nothing all by itself for lo these many moons and that doesn’t make it so either. Today, there are even people trying to get money to spring out of thin air, but so far they’ve only convinced a lot of very rich people to let them rob them silly and call that proof of that rocks can be turned to gold. If you wish upon a star! And speaking of devilish schemes, let’s just put this simply: when men banish the demons in the name of science, reason, and nature, those men are in the process of becoming demons. This is for two very solid and unassailable reasons. The first reason is that Science, Reason, and Nature are no match for supernatural beings like demons and fairies. And second, demons like nothing quite so much as naive and arrogant men to do their thuggary.
C.S. Lewis says in some place that many moderns suppose that the Devil and his minions go about doing their dirty deeds dressed in bad Halloween costumes, but in reality they are something like tedious and tidy bureaucrats sucking the life out of the world, one parliamentary motion at a time.
Now all of this relates to the Poway synagogue shooting and Chicago politics because whenever something like this happens, everyone turns to their gods. Joy Behar blames Trump because her god is the Secular State. In this case, she’s peeved because Trump is being a non-compliant god, but she’s still looking to her “savior.” Others will simply blame “religion” and “fundamentalism” for “radicalizing” young men. And others will hasten to point to a lack of diversity and tolerance and the need for more education and multiculturalism. Cue the music, the New York Times is right on schedule:
The state’s diversity [speaking of California] has increased tolerance among many people who live and work close to others who are different from themselves, but for others it has fueled a sense of alienation and threat, said Lawrence Rosenthal, the chairman of the Center for Right-Wing Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. “California is obviously the largest state, and it is already majority minority. Which is the nationalists’ and the nativists’ nightmare,” he said.
Translated: “diversity” causes most people to grow more tolerant of others different from themselves, but it also scares people who are already deeply committed to their beliefs. All rise, that gorgeous goddess “Diversity.” She’s actually made it into the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition this year in a hijab and burkini. And here, for those with eyes to see, is the point. You cannot banish the gods with secularism. Secularism sweeps the room clean of one demon only to find seven more far worse demons. In the name of tolerance, we are now on third base with Islam. In the name of diversity, we neuter boys with chemicals and wonder why such large numbers of them turn to opioids and shooting up schools and places of worship.
Why do we keep doing this? Chicago stares us right in the face. And the shootings are only increasing in other places where the progressives have sunk their talons into culture. We just need to educate the children. We just need to explain to them more clearly that you can be anything you want to be. Boys can be girls, girls can be boys. You can have sex with anything and anyone. Now, everybody be nice.
Let me translate: you can pour gasoline on everything and you can play with matches. Now, don’t start any fires.
And when conservatives object, the progressives shriek: if you would just stop calling the fire department, we wouldn’t have so many fires! All that loud honking and blaring sirens makes people get stressed out. Right.
At bottom, Christians need to see secularism and multiculturalism as false gods and false gospels. In secularism and materialism, there are only chemicals, only the physical, and evolution is the good news that if you mix a bunch of material stuff together out comes intelligence, morality, and progress. But that’s not simply a bunch of logical bosh. It’s worse than that. They aren’t just mixing up harmless folly. No, folly is always toxic. Folly is flammable. Folly is always explosive. You can’t go down the path of folly and come out intact. Folly disfigures and maims. And this is because secularism and multiculturalism are not merely empty promises, they are actually dark and demonic principalities and powers. But they are dressed up like a businessman in a suit and tie. They are dressed up like slick politicians. They are strife and tyranny and violence in an aw-shucks burkini in Sports Illustrated.
And so this is the point: secularism and multiculturalism are false gospels that will continue to stir up violence. You cannot banish the “gods” though you try. The “gods” are always at war and therefore so are their people. Secularism is a demonic lie: there is no neutrality. People are not basically good. And therefore, crowding a bunch of different people together does not create peace and harmony. People are basically evil, descended from Adam their father. They love sin, they hate righteousness, and they are inherently selfish. Secularism and multiculturalism cannot even consistently condemn the Poway shooting or the Chicago shooting. What’s the problem exactly? If someone can be anything he wants to be, why can’t he be a shooter? Why can’t he be a murderer? Didn’t Darwin teach us that only the strong survive? And if everything boils down to blood and ethnicity, why can’t white supremacists fight for their survival? You see, it’s not merely that secularism and multiculturalism are not helping. It’s that secularism and multiculturalism are what’s creating this mess. Chicago is what America becomes if the progressives win.
But God has given us the gift of this moment so that Christians may speak clearly into the mic. We condemn all of these shootings because man is made in the image of God because there is a transcendent Word – the Word of God, the Word that created the heavens and the earth from nothing, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. That Word establishes truth and justice, that Word condemns all sinful violence and bloodshed and hatred, and that Word suffered, bled, and died for the sins of the world. That Holy Word defines love. Apart from this Word, a Word from the outside, a Word that stands over all other words, we have nothing. Apart from that authoritative Word, this world is just a Hellish stream of Youtube comments. But the Word really was made flesh. He came, He lived, He died, He rose again, and now He reigns forever. And all our Babeling is like ants plotting to ascend Mt. Everest. And the Lord looks down, way, way, way down on all our pomposity and pretentiousness and He laughs.
But He also has compassion, and He is God over all the gods. He is Lord over all the lords. And He must reign until all of His enemies have been put beneath His feet. These idols cannot save us, but Jesus still saves. There is true peace and reconciliation in His blood.
Paul David Ewart says
Thank you, Pastor.
Wow, great post. This line is gold: “Apart from that authoritative Word, this world is just a Hellish stream of Youtube comments.”