Postmodernism is a lie: if (paraphrasing Francis Schaeffer) modern man has his feet firmly planted in the air, the post modern man denies there was ever an earth one could stand on, or a rock on which you could argue from the old virtues of truth, honour, goodness and beauty. The post modern man does not understand any of these terms, for he now believes nothing but lies.
In the introduction to his magisterial opus After Virtue, Alasdair Macintyre describes postmodern society as having fallen into a dark age, a post-apocalyptic state. But this is not the apocalypse of Mad Max. The apocalypse has destroyed, not our technology, but our morality: “We possess simulacra of morality, we continue to use many of the key expressions. But we have… lost our comprehension of morality,” he explains. Postmodern society does not know what good is.
Being unable to understand good leaves society unable to understand evil; and so instead society pathologizes it. Evil becomes a psychological state that results from personal trauma, from some crucial moment when the world failed to show someone compassion, empathy, or trust, or left them exposed to the world’s cruelty. Every postmodern villain is a victim. Behind every figure of terror we find a terrorized figure.
This makes for bad drama. Good drama is based on truth, and the truth is that there is evil.
And we are not to embrace it.
The symbolism of the virgin of Israel as a personification of the state is not that unusual. In the first half of last century New Zealand had such an idol. The statue I recall most was in bronze, in Symonds Street, and recalled the veterans of the Maori wars. Activists smashed it before the turn of the century. The English had Britannia, and the USA had Columbia.
So that men will ensure that their people will not fall. One may not fight for an empire, but one fights for other people. Until the nation regresses, and turns to evil.
5 Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2 “Fallen, no more to rise,
is the virgin Israel;
forsaken on her land,
with none to raise her up.”
3 For thus says the Lord God:
“The city that went out a thousand
shall have a hundred left,
and that which went out a hundred
shall have ten left
to the house of Israel.”
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
“Seek me and live;
5 but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
and Bethel shall come to nothing.”
6 Seek the Lord and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
7 O you who turn justice to wormwood
and cast down righteousness to the earth!
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name;
9 who makes destruction flash forth against the strong,
so that destruction comes upon the fortress.
As it was said in the first great revival in the USA, it is a terribel thing to fall into the hands of God when you have sinned and corrupted and debased a nation.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.
Johnathon Edwards, 1741
The hearers of Edwards considered that their only mediator was Christ, and turned to him. There are those who rejected this revival: there always are.
And then, as now, they appealed to the authority of the secular state: having little or no morality or understanding of beauty or truth, they understand only offence, power and the use of the mob.
27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He enquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!”
37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.”
We are told we are not to worry about what to say when we find ourselves in these situations. At times, I have had the experience where I have been confronted by those who could destroy my job and career, and out of my mouth has come words I did not plan, that were more powerful than those I could have uttered.
When confronted, witness. The gospel shall be preached. In season or out of season. Because some sinners will turn and look for a mediator, that is Christ.