7 Threats in Our Times: (#2) The Rise of Homo Deus and Meo Christianity

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In the luxury of a culture where even the lower economic classes live like kings compared to the world’s poor, we have become immensely spoiled. We are lavished with bins overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables in the dead of winter, aisles full of choice cut-meats, acres of shelves filled with more products than anyone could possibly want, stores with racks of clothes and shoes of every type and style and color, homes with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, cars by the millions and transportation freedom to go anywhere and anytime we want. We have fast-service food everywhere and thousands of channels and entertainment of any kind 24/7 at the push of a button.

We pay thousands of dollars for a bicycle and the expensive tights. We pay almost as much for our tennis shoes. Like the kings of old with wise men and counsellors at their beckon, we have a waiting attendant named Alexa who grants us access to the store house of the world’s knowledge by simply commanding her to speak. Yesterday I raised my scepter and my demand was met with a delivery truck this afternoon. 

We are lavishly wealthy and spoiled.

In all of this, it is easy to believe it is all about me.

One of the first things that happens when a culture loses the larger story of God is that there is only one story left—mine. Couple this with the explosion of at-your-service entertainment and what’s-your-pleasure technology that incorporates sophisticated algorithms to tailor everything to your surfing wants and desires, and it isn’t hard to begin to think that the universe revolves around you.

It gets complicated after this, because just as Satan essentially whispered “it's all about you, Eve”, I am convinced we are fighting a demonic battle here as well. There are spiritual, material and worldview forces combining today to whisper the same in our ears every minute of every day.

And, just as Eve bought the lie and it led to devastating consequences, so, too, swallowing that lie will do the same to us individually and to our culture. The forces are gaining so much strength that we have raised “all about me” to the next satanic level: “you will be like God!

Increasingly, the human heart has become the voice of the human deity—homo deus. If I say I’m a girl, the world must now bow down to that as a divine proclamation. If I speak against it, I am guilty of blasphemy and I will be punished for it.

A father in Canada was recently arrested because he refused to use the personal pronouns demanded by his child, the school and the government. He is considered a blasphemer. 

We have been seduced by this for years with the “follow your heart” mantra that is founded upon the same sinister belief that there is something deeply divine about me and my ultimate quest is to get in touch with it and set it free. That is almost a direct quote from Abraham Maslow who taught us all that our highest goal in life was not to glorify God, but to self-actualize—the last century’s version of “follow your heart”. 

Virtually every movie today plays the same theme over and over again—characters wrestle with their inner struggling selves until they find salvation in becoming true to their own hearts and then celebrate it. We may be more accurate to say “worship” it.

We have become truly blasphemous:

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”

“Not Jesus… Me.”

“I am.”

“Not God… Me.”

This is the rise of Homo Deus.

When a culture descends into such deep self-centeredness, it begins to collapse. A healthy culture is built upon selflessness, cooperation, trust and good-will. When selfishness reigns, lawlessness and corruption soon follow. Daniel Webster famously prophesied:

When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are but waste paper.

Homo Deus will also lead to greater and greater isolation. When people believe their happiness and significance and pleasure is increasingly found in getting their own way, pursuing their own will, they will progressively become manipulators of everyone around them. Everyone has an agenda… always. Everyone becomes a salesman. Nothing destroys relationships more than when two people are maneuvering and manipulating according to their own agendas and scripts. We become increasingly isolated, shrinking ever so slowly into our own all-about-me throne, where we become secretly, but pathologically, lonely.

The desperate drive to control and fulfill our own will also leads to emotional turmoil.  When we become invested in our own personal scripts (“If my husband would just… If my wife would just… If my parents would just… If the cute boy or girl at school would just…), and we continually fail in controlling the events and people around us, then we become possessed with negative emotions: anger, disappointment, impatience, worry, bitterness… all of which can make us either claw more desperately or give up and sink down into apathy and hopelessness… and sometime suicide.

These are the consequences of Satan’s lie.

Ah, but it is here we should see the body of Christ shine! For we are the earthly purveyors of what a true, selfless relationship should look like. We have been on the receiving end of God’s steadfast, sacrificial true agape love. As Paul cries “Christ’s love compels us!

But, alas, the body of Christ is increasingly beset with the same lie.

I call it “Meo-Christianity”, where we come, wittingly or unwittingly, to believe that the most important thing in Christianity is me. I am God’s endgame. It is all about me, spiritually and piously speaking, of course. The music on Sunday, the fellowship, the teaching, the Christian albums and movies, etc. etc. are basically all about me... and for me. I am a Christian consumer who delights in my Christian consumption. We even turn our growth and sanctification into something that is all about me. The most important thing for people to hear from me is my journey. I write diligently all about it in my blogs and posts on social media and hope everyone “follows” me. 

Isn’t that a revealing word?

It is hard to love our neighbors when we are primarily consumed with ourselves. The most critical element in true agape love is sacrifice. Without it, there is no true agape love. And without true agape love, Paul says we are but a noisy gong or clanging symbol that may make a big noise, but it simply fades quickly into nothing.

No one sacrifices for another when they believe it is all about them. 

This is the crux of the lie.

And this, my dear brothers and sisters, is a critical weather front in the perfect storm brewing about us. We must heed the words of Jesus and “return to our first love” and in so doing become ports in the storm for those around us who are being swept away in its fierce and unrelenting torrent.

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see you good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16

This takes godly sacrifice. May He grant us to do so… and soon.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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24
When Infants Invade Adult Bodies
On Election Day, at lunchtime, I was at a park in Colorado Springs. On one corner of the park sits one of our big high schools. It was a nice day (normal for the Springs) and the students filled the park, several making out lying on the grass. On the opposite corner stood a young man, conservatively dressed, holding an American flag and a Trump sign. He had a radio on the ground, not very loud, but playing a conservative talk show. I sat at a bench near the young man because I was curious about what I saw happening. As the students walked by, they shouted obscenities at him and Trump. I am not willing to repeat any of it, suffice to say it was as filthy and vile as you can get. Some spit toward him. As it was getting close to the end of their lunch hour, a group gathered in front of him and pummeled him with profanity and obscene gestures. One girl was screaming at him. I suppose even worse was that after they would shout their obscenities, they would then howl in laughter pointing at him as if he were a joke. Of course, in the world of child-like behavior, this is considered the cruelest of all taunts… to make another seem like a worthless outcast… insignificant scum. Although I couldn’t hear what the young man was saying, he remained calm and would sometimes turn and wave at cars that would supportively “beep-beep” as they drove by. As I write this, I’m not sure if I was right or wrong to not jump into the middle of it. I was committed to offer help if it looked like it was going to escalate beyond words, but for now it was free-speech being played out, though admittedly disgusting. After the lunch crowd had returned to their classrooms, I approached the young man and our conversation went something like this: “Students were pretty rough on you.” “Yeah. A lot of nasty stuff.” “I’m impressed you remained calm through all of it.” “Well, I kept telling them that obscenities didn’t add to the conversation and just encouraged any of them to simply enter into a civil discussion with me.” “I’m sorry they didn’t do that.” “Me too. I really wish we could just talk about the issues like adults.” I think it was the “adult” word that helped frame some of this for me. I had, indeed, witnessed deep immaturity, with its pure emotional spewing and little to no rational thought. I don’t go to the park all the time, but I’m there enough to occasionally hear their conversations. I remember one of the first times, next to a group of high school girls, in which I was dumbfounded at the filth of their language. I spent over 20 years in the military, and I’d never heard anything that matched it. Where does this come from? My heart sank as I experienced what was happening Tuesday. It was quite scary, actually, because I was not only looking at such deep expressions of hate and loathing, but I was also looking at the generation that is going to replace us all. It didn’t look good. We woke this morning to the continued news that there are protests all around the country. Some have become violent and destructive. Interestingly, the chants of the protestors are much like those I heard in the park… quite childish, selfish and filled with hatred. Where is all of this coming from? In the park, my first thoughts were to put the blame on the high school that was right on the corner, thinking that this was coming from their classrooms. But then something dawned on me after reading the list of “tweets” that went out from Hollywood and TV and music “stars”. They were all saying the same things, in “star” lingo, of course, but just as childish. This is Cher’s mature tweet on the election: “Trump will never be more than a toilet…” Andy Cohen (along with all the other late-night talk show hosts): “Did we just elect a snake oil salesman and his wicked court of terror…?” Snoop Dogg: “The worst day in America: 9/11. The second worst day: 11/9.” Really? Worse than the Civil War? Worse than the trail of tears? Worse that Kennedy’s assassination… or Pearl Harbor or the stock market crash in 1929? This is the mindless mantra of our “entertainment” empire. And it is here we find the prime tutor of our children. The average teen consumes 9 hours a day of entertainment on their smartphone or TV. You may want to reread that or say it over to yourself: 9 hours per day of smartphone/TV entertainment. This domain of music, rap, video, shows, comedy, movies and gaming is cultivating a mind that is filled with sex, violence, obscene language and destructive ideas. It numbs them towards a true reality. It strips them of common sense. It erects in their heart, mind and soul a virtual world of all-about-me and my pleasure. And if things don’t go my way, I throw my tantrums. I call people names. I stomp my feet and chant emotional non-sense. And I demand. Like the 3-year-old girl I saw the other day stomping her feet, screaming at her mother, demanding her own way. For 9 hours a day, our youth live in a non-real world where lyrics and scripts and rap words rhythmically and cinematically draw them into believing that the virtual world of the entertainment empire is the world we all ought to live in… the world we WANT to live in. It seduces. It hypnotizes. It frames a worldview that is totally self-centered and hedonistic. And it is totally irrational. It spews out the most hateful and vile stuff. It beats up people, destroys property, flips off the world and then smugly chants “love trumps hate”. It is the la-la land of infants demanding to get their own way in their self-defined, virtual world. The problem is that the infants are increasingly in adult bodies with lots of power. Our addiction to entertainment will continue to stunt our culture's maturity. We must wean ourselves and our kids. Here is what troubles me most, however. Immaturity, when it doesn’t get its way, will often erupt into a “make you pay” rage. I sense that is what we are seeing. But I fear it is only the beginning. We are going to be treated to a host of "See what you made me do!" and "This is all your fault!" and "You'll be sorry!" acts and situations and new stories and personal stories, ad infinitim. Brace yourselves, for the revenge of self-centered infants who live in adult bodies and carry great wealth and power can, and will be, be scary.   
7
The True State of Our Union
Our President will offer, on Tuesday, his State of the Union address. However, it will most likely not be a true state of our nation, but rather another political posturing speech, just like we have heard for years, from both Republicans and Democrats. This is unfortunate, for our nation needs a true, honest assessment of where we are as a culture. It is in that spirit I offer my humble perspective. This is what I would wish for the President to say as he stands before Congress and the American people: ... To the people of this great country, I offer to you my honest assessment of the state of our nation…and it is not good. We are greatly blessed in America. We have abundant resources, rich farmland, and beauty beyond description: from the Grand Canyon to our waterfalls, from our mountains to our coastlands. We have been blessed with great people: people who have come here from all the nations of the earth, seeking the American dream. They have been hard working, good people, courageous in the face of trials and heroic in the face of enemies. We have been blessed with more than we can enumerate. And, I suppose, the Hollywood and political style would have us gush and fawn over each other in our lofty positions and applaud all kinds of supposed accomplishments as if these blessings come from our own making. It would be in keeping with most of our recent State of the Union addresses to therefore give you a long list of all the grand things that the Federal government needs to do for the American people and to smile and look into the camera and assure them that we are taking good care of them...and things are going quite well. But they are not. We are not healthy… Nor are we strong. In fact, I believe we are now, more than ever before in the life of this nation, vulnerable to destruction. This has not come as the result of an external power or force. It has not come from our current war with terrorism. I do not speak of our military might, but I speak of the state of this nation’s soul. We hang over a perilous ledge…at best, we are sliding into an insignificant oblivion. We are in a state of decay…we are rotting away from within. We have succumbed to a deep selfishness. It is eating away at our character, our strength and our core like an aggressive, unchecked cancer. Despite all the current cries for secularization, we were founded with a clear belief that the health of this nation would rest upon two foundations: religion and morality[1]. This was not to be understood that religious particulars would be legislated, but that we, as a nation, recognized the fundamental existence of God and His declaration of things that were right and things that were wrong, and that the citizenry would then govern themselves according to those transcendent laws. It was this self-government that allowed for a minimum of civil-government and therefore a maximum of personal freedom…freedom to work hard and to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor…to use that fruit and selfless efforts to raise a family and to aid one’s neighbor in distress. This was the American dream. In our great foolishness, we have now discarded those foundations. We have traded self-government for self-indulgence. We have traded transcendent Truth for self-centered identity and self-centered lust. The desires of the heart now trump any notion of divine righteousness. We have tossed aside these critical Foundations…Foundations that for years sustained and propelled us into being the greatest nation in the world. Now we chase the mirage and illusion of self-gratification and false notions that right and wrong are determined by the individual…by man himself. And these false notions are now supported and propagated by all the centers of influence in our culture: Hollywood, media, academia and even the President, the Supreme Court and Congress. And, as with every lie and deceit, its promises are false. Instead of selfishness bringing us happiness and pleasure, it reaps us strife and groaning. In the end, a self-centered culture is a hateful and violent culture…a culture seething with the seeds of its own destruction. Our cities teeter on the brink of bursting into riots and flames. We can no longer stroll safely at night on our streets. Our families are no longer secure in their homes. Our children are no longer safe in their schools. Our pursuit of selfishness and hedonism has brought the true state of our nation to one that is filled with violence. We lead the world in crime. We commit approximately 10 million crimes every year…nearly 26,000 every day[2]. No other nation comes close to us. Every day we murder 40 people and rape 320[3]. As such, we also lead the world in incarcerations. Of all the prisoners in the world, we account for 25% of them. Our prisons are overflowing[4]. The backbone of our culture, our families, are in serious trouble. For every 7 marriages this year, there will be nearly 4 divorces.[5] And when we have babies, fewer are within the security and nourishment of a mother and father. Half of our first babies are born to unwed mothers; a third of our children live without a father[6]; if you are a black baby conceived in this nation, the odds are greater that you will be aborted than that you will be born alive[7]. Since 1973, we have killed 55 million of our babies, about a million a year, and we abort more of our offspring every single day than the terrorists murdered in the World Trade towers on 9/11[8]. The true state of our Union should cause us to weep. We lead the world in producing pornography. 90% of the world’s pornography comes from our nation[9]. We are sexually addicted and obsessed. Our movies and music and media are awash in what was once considered sinful and vile. The state of our nation is truly shameful. We have lost our sense of morality and it is costing us dearly. Try to imagine this next statistic: in one year, we will contract 20 million sexually transmitted infections. That’s 54,000 people infected every day…a fourth of them are teenagers.[10] This is well beyond a level that we should label as an epidemic and plague—but we don’t speak of these things because it would dampen our lust for sexual freedom and reduce ticket sales at the theater. We are the world’s leading user of illegal drugs[11]. Approximately one in ten of us is addicted to alcohol or drugs[12]. Every day, our drinking and driving snuffs out the lives of 28 human beings[13]. We spend $50 billion federal dollars every year fighting illegal drugs while we spend $100 billion a year using them[14]. We are a nation of self-centered addicts. Our drug and alcohol addictions lead the world, but they are nothing compared to the astounding percentage of our people who have sexual addictions…people who are addicted to pornography or addicted to gambling or video games or other pathologies that have a death grip upon us, destroying our lives, our families and our fruitfulness. This, too, is a national epidemic. We are sinking fast into mental numbness and dumbness as well. Out of the top 22 developed countries, our upcoming millennial generation ranks dead last in math, dead last in problem solving, and near dead last in literacy. This is a continual decline over decades. After four years of college, our Millennials score no better than high school seniors in Japan or Finland or the Netherlands. Researchers call our Millennial scores “abysmal”[15]. Instead, our teens consume nearly 9 hours a day of entertainment on smartphones or TV[16]. By the time they are 18, our children will have witnessed approximately 400,000 murders on TV and by the age of 21, they will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games[17]. Even the future state of our nation does not look promising. We adults aren’t much different. We average nearly 6 hours a day in front of the television…a big screen TV that is most likely on a credit card. Our personal consumer debt is over $2.5 trillion. The average family owes $16,000 in credit card debt. Our students owe $1.3 trillion in school loans[18]. But the biggest runaway spending is found in Washington. The Federal debt is beyond imagination. Our debt has gone from $7.3 trillion in 2004 to over $18.8 trillion today with no sign of slowing down. This debt is now higher than our GDP—the total of ALL the goods and services produced in our country. We pay almost $230 billion a year in interest on that debt. The debt load on every taxpayer in America is now over $157,000[19]. But, in reality, the $18.8 trillion debt is a phony number. The real debt is found in our unfunded obligations, obligations to pay things in the future like Social Security and Medicare. This is the real debt of our nation. We currently have unfunded liabilities that total over $100 trillion dollars….a debt load of $1 million dollars for every taxpayer in our nation[20]. It is more than the total of the ENTIRE world’s output. This debt is beyond understanding. It is a house of cards awaiting a puff of wind to blow it down. Are we so blind that we cannot see any of this? Despite the political posturing, we have fewer people in the workforce today than in 2000. We play with numbers to keep a respectable unemployment figure by moving millions of people into a growing pool of what we call “not in the labor force”…currently over 90 million[21], but the reality is that many of them are of working age who desire to be employed full-time but the jobs are not there. That may partially come from the fact that we also have the largest trade deficit in the entire world[22] and that our high corporate tax rate is causing businesses and jobs to move to other countries[23]. All of this is transforming our nation into an ever-increasing welfare state. Over half of our people receive redistribution benefits from the Federal government. Few Americans are saving wisely and 76% of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, which means over three-fourths of our nation are loaded with debt and are one paycheck away from financial disaster.[24] How can we be so foolish? We are increasingly becoming a nation of dependents and wards of the State. We are becoming slaves to a Federal Beast that grows without restraint. The power and reach of the Federal government has become unrecognizable by our founding standards. The President and Supreme Court craft laws in defiance of the Constitution. The President thumbs his nose at the Constitution’s requirement to get Senate approval for foreign treaties. [I can guarantee that the President’s State of the Union that will be delivered Tuesday will be filled with political posturing, back patting, and that everything proposed will lead to a larger and more powerful Federal Beast. And in so doing, our people will descend deeper and deeper into dependent wards, and with it, our productivity will continue to shrivel and dry up.] And in all of this, we simply turn a blind eye and go back to our TVs and smartphones…because we are addicted to our self-centeredness. Our military has increasingly been stripped of any notion of Absolute truth…a military that was once feared by enemies, but cheered by the liberated French. Why? Because they carried a belief in an absolute moral foundation. No longer. Our military academies and military services have become a playground for social policies and political correctness and there is growing list of incidents that are creating a very “hostile” environment for the religious freedom of military members in order to crush the notion of Transcendent Truth....leaving only "State" truth.[25] Nothing should frighten us more than to think that we would desire to build a military or police force that believes truth lies within their own heart or within whatever orders are handed down from the State…that might is what makes right. We have an enemy that has attacked our homeland and yet we are too squeamish to label the worldview behind it. We cannot bring ourselves to acknowledge the existence of evil nor the existence of sin because to do so is to acknowledge a Transcendent truth that exists beyond our self-centered fantasy. Instead, we look for environmental causes of evil behavior and point a finger at guns while we ignore the violence and sex and hedonism in our movies and music. Hollywood or the media is never held accountable, nor the educational system or public policies that continue to destroy our families and our culture. And we are back to the heart of the issue. For the true State of the Union lies here, in the selfish casting off of the Transcendent for the temporary; seeking our hedonistic pleasure for today while selling our souls and our future. Do not be fooled. Selfishness eventually spawns hatred and violence. If you do not affirm me, I will spew such animosity toward you that you will be swept away with its fury. If you do not bake me an affirming cake, we will destroy your bakery. If you do not take affirming photographs, we will destroy your studio. If you do not allow a man who identifies as female to use the women’s restroom, the state of Washington will now shut down your business. If you do not affirm my self-selected gender identity with the proper pronoun, New York will now prosecute and fine you a quarter of a million dollars. Our selfishness has reached the level of stark absurdity…backed by legal and political tyranny. Somewhere in all of this, the founding generation must be shaking their heads in disbelief at what is happening to this nation. Our selfishness and rejection of absolute Truth is sucking us into a monstrous whirlpool that leads downward to utter darkness. We are committing cultural and national suicide and yet we continue to affirm and gush over each other and party while the nation crumbles beneath our feet. Does anyone care enough to fight this? Does anyone care enough to stand?...to stand for what is right…for what is true…for what is good? The Governors of the States must stand against the tyranny of the Federal Beast, but it must be the people who will stand and say no to the path that we tread. For the true State of the Union, which hangs by a thread, can be changed only if the people demand a change. But the change must begin within. If we continue to pursue our pleasure and entertainment, if we continue to abdicate our responsibility for the health of our families and this nation, if we continue to allow Hollywood and academia and the media and the Government to lead us down this path, then we, as a nation, are going to die. And the death may come in a night…it may come so swiftly that the world will stand in awe at our downfall. But health will not come over night. We live in a fallen world where you catch diseases quickly, but you don’t catch health. You can fall and break a bone instantly, but healing it takes a lot of time. If we are to regain our health, if we are to restore what is broken, it will require the courage and strength and long-term commitment of the people…if we still have the character to do so. It will come by first falling to our knees in repentance before the God who made us…the God who gave us a land flowing with milk and honey…the God who has sustained us through war and countless trials…the God before whom we now stand and shake our fist in His face. It will come by an examination of our personal lives and the pathologies that infest our social systems. It will come by both individual and national commitments to that which is True. And it will come by a sustained walk of turning back to the God to whom we owe all things…to the God who can reduce us to rubble with one puff of His breath. And if we do not, may God have mercy on us and our children. ... Though the state of our Union is perilous, Remnant, there is a reason why we remain. It is for this time that we have been preserved. May we stand for Truth in the times in which we live. Pray, dear Remnant, for repentance, Tuesdays, noon eastern.   [1] https://truthencounter.x362.com/resources/1247/the-foundations-of-the-united-states?tagid=3548 [2] https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/browse-by/national-data [3] ibid [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_Stateseration_rate [5] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm [6] http://www.theburningplatform.com/2015/03/22/the-real-reason-the-american-dream-is-unraveling/ [7] http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html [8] http://www.theburningplatform.com/2015/03/22/the-real-reason-the-american-dream-is-unraveling/ [9] http://techcrunch.com/2007/05/12/internet-pornography-stats/ [10] http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/std-trends-508.pdf [11] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-leads-the-world-in-illegal-drug-use/ [12] http://www.drugfree.org/new-data-show-millions-of-americans-with-alcohol-and-drug-addiction-could-benefit-from-health-care-r/ [13] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html [14] https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/03/07/how-much-do-americans-really-spend-drugs-each-year [15] http://www.ets.org/s/research/30079/index.html [16] https://www.commonsensemedia.org/the-common-sense-census-media-use-by-tweens-and-teens-infographic# [17]http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/publications/reports/stateindustryviolence/main.asp [18] http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html [19] http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html [20] http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/01/17/you-think-the-deficit-is-bad-federal-unfunded-liabilities-exceed-127-trillion/ [21] https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/LNU05000000.txt [22] http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/gands.pdf [23] http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/08/economist-explains-9 [24] http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/ [25] http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=106938