Disclaimer: The following column contains graphic descriptions of extreme depravity, humanist perversion and irreverent humor. Sensitive readers may want to skip directly to Rush’s Random Notes. The explicit content is for educational purposes and any sensationalism, exploitation or gratuitous aspect are purely in the mind of the reader.
Lessons From a Moldy Basement I hate painting. I really do. And I do it only under protest. Recently my lovely wife pointed out that the mold on the basement walls had grown so large that it was demanding voting rights and welfare benefits. She then sweetly inquired what I thought we should do about it. I tried saying that mold too were God’s creatures and had a right to a full and meaningful life. Besides, we might run afoul of some endangered species law. Elaine simply held up my column on hunting and said, "Dearest, if you can shoot fuzzie little wild animals, surely, a big strong man like you can take dominion over the basement."
So, armed with a spray bottle of bleach, brushes, rollers and six gallons of basement sealant paint, I grudgingly walked down to the utility side of the basement. My ten-year-old had hung a sign over the door saying, "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here," while my seven-year-old clung to my legs saying, "Don’t go in there Daddy; you’ll never get out again," both grinning from here to here. Oh yeah, they’re real cards, are my kids. They inherited their mother’s looks, but their father’s sad sense of irreverent humor.
My nine-year-old daughter, however, didn’t like her brothers taking the Mickey out of dear old Dad and said, "Daddy, can we help you paint?" Well, misery loves company, and remembering Tom Sawyer I replied, "Of course, you can, sweetheart. In fact, you can all help; but this is a special job and it will cost you something." Unfortunately, my kids are too well read (I knew there was a down side to home schooling) and wouldn’t buy it. However, the prospect of playing with all that paint, on all those walls, and doing it legally, was enough incentive all by itself.
After a few hours of washing, scrubbing and disinfecting with bleach, the mold turned out to be a good Republican, easily covered by whitewash. Overall, the painting went as well as could be expected, except that we should have thrown away the brushes and just let the five-year-old roll around. He managed to get covered with paint. ("Hey Daddy, look at me! I’m Casper!")
All and all, it was good for my sanctification. At one point, I noticed a set of handprints on the wall. "OK, " I roared, "Who leaned against the wall?" For a moment, there was a pregnant silence, followed by all FOUR of the oldest kids slowly holding up their paint-smeared hands!
Eventually, after finishing the first coat, I stumbled upstairs to my office, exhausted, drenching with sweat and glad to be able to get back to my computer and books (meanwhile, my longsuffering wife was still downstairs, cleaning up the mess and mumbling something about a nunnery).
It struck me that though painting the basement was a dirty, disgusting job, my wife was perfectly correct; it was also absolutely necessary. And in one sense, that basement is a microcosm of the task facing Christian Reconstruction. The basement had once been painted, a whole generation ago. But decades of neglect had allowed a small problem to become a big one. If the walls had been washed with disinfectant once a year, the mold, mildew and alien life forms setting up colonies would never have had a chance to become established. But because I had abdicated responsibility, now the clean-up work was far harder than it ought to have been. But now the dungeon was clean, bright and useable. All it took was some dedication, hard work (and four coats of paint!).
Epistemological Self-Consciousness Sitting in my office thinking of these things, I turned on the Idiot Box to catch the late afternoon news. I wasn’t really paying much attention to the One-Eyed god until I heard something about over-population that sparked my interest. It seems that inadvertently, the channel was tuned to one of those late afternoon talk/shock shows that specialize in the bizarre. (I say, "inadvertently," because I wouldn’t want to admit in public that I watch this kind of freak show intentionally.)
Too tired to reach for the remote control, and against my better judgment, I began watching the program a little more closely. It seems that the day’s episode dealt with a weird religious cult concerned about there being too many people in the world. As a solution, they recommended vegetarianism, suicide, sodomy and, grab your stomach, cannibalism. One man, dressed in a clerical collar, walked around with a rubber chicken crucified on a large cross. A really ugly woman was screeching about meat packers being modern-day Nazis (later it turned out that the ugly woman was really a male transvestite).
The specific issue revolved around a young woman interested in joining the cult and her boyfriend’s attempts to discourage her. He failed, and she was inducted into the cult and immediately dressed herself in a dominatrix outfit (and shame on you if you know what that means!). In the interest of "equal time," the program brought on a Christian little old lady who with tears in her eyes told the cannibals that Jesus loved them too (personally speaking, I think he has a special place in Hell for them, right next to the abyss where talk show hosts are kept).
Now the host and the audience were having a wonderful time being outraged by these refugees from a psycho ward, but believe it or not, I found myself in sympathy with the cannibals. Both they and the audience began from the same basic assumptions; i.e., man is merely an animal, human freedom means doing just what each individual wants, there are no absolute moral judgments to be made, there is a genuine ecological crisis coming that demands radical solutions, etc. While the audience didn’t like the cannibals’ conclusions, they shared the exact same premises, premises taught in every public school, state university, and highlighted nightly in all the "mainstream" media. There is no logical stopping place between what the premier academics of the past hundred years have been teaching and what the cannibals are proposing. If you grant the cannibals their premises, then logically, their solutions are not only reasonable, but, in many respects, inevitable. The cannibals were simply more consistent, and more honest than the bland, middle-American audience jeering and hooting at them.
If man is just another animal, and there is no moral difference between the two, and if humans have rights, then why not animals as well? And if eating animal meat is moral, why not eat the flesh of dead people? That way, people who want to eat meat can do it, without hurting all the poor little innocent animals. Isn’t it better than just burying all that good protein in the ground? (Well, actually there are good, medical reasons for not being a cannibal, but since when do facts ever enter into this kind of religious debate?). If there are no moral absolutes apart from the individual, why shouldn’t teenagers commit suicide when depressed and despondent? Who’s to say that they are wrong for killing themselves because they didn’t get a date for Friday night? And if there really are too many people in the world, and if there is no sovereign God whose law reigns supreme, why shouldn’t you abort babies or encourage sodomy as an alternative to normal heterosexual relations?
The simple fact is that the Cannibalistic, Vegetarian Sodomites are simply being epistemologically self-conscious modernists. They are just taking the next, logical step in the humanist attack on the sovereignty of God. Neither the audience, nor the holier-than-thou host, had any moral basis for criticizing their position. They may not have chosen to adopt the same behaviors, but they had no basis to call them immoral. For both groups deny God and his Kingdom, and one is just a little more consistent in promoting the fruits of their rebellion than the other.
What neither group wants to realize is that you cannot have the fruit of Christian culture without the root. The world before the gospel was a vicious, nasty place, filled with the most horrendous acts. The ancient Greeks exposed their children to be eaten by wild animals while extolling the benefits of paedophila. The Romans raped and pillaged their way through the ancient Mediterranean world, enslaving everyone they met. The Celtic tribes in Europe butchered people like hogs in their worship of demonic forces. The Aztecs in the Americas sacrificed entire nations by ripping out people’s hearts in bloody worship of the sun. Even the charming Inuit people of North America left their parents on ice floes to be eaten by polar bears, or freeze to death in the Arctic weather. It was only with the coming of the gospel of Jesus Christ that concepts such as liberty, justice, and protection of the innocent became cultural norms.
It is one thing to read in history about the last days of a decadent culture, just before God brings the hammer down. It is something different to actually experience it. You see, like the long-neglected basement walls, Christians have failed to disinfect this culture. We have allowed the rot of humanism to grow and flourish in the dark, dank places while we went merrily on our way. And now, we’ve got a lot of hard work to do to clean up the mess and put things back to rights. Granted, the people we are talking about are kooks (and their bizarre beliefs, a form of street theater to "raise people’s consciousness" about their social agenda). But what is said today in jest is practiced tomorrow in sincerity. When a culture turns its back on God, he turns his back on it, allowing it to become foolish in its speculations, darkening hearts, and giving bodies over to impurity and judgment (cf. Rom. 1:20ff). These are the people who will be running this culture for the foreseeable future. And we are the ones who let it all happen.
Do these wackos frighten me? No, they are pathetic little people, hardly to be taken seriously. They are mere footnotes in the history of the death of a culture. But they are a symptom of a much greater evil, the evil of a flourishing, God-hating philosophy subsidized by Christian capital because we were too lazy to clean up the mess. And like the mold on a dark, dank, basement wall they are something that needs to be scoured clean and washed away with all the other filth. But it will take a lot of work—dirty, tiring and unglamorous work, but absolutely necessary work—unless we want the cannibals to win (for a time) and our children, and grandchildren, to grow up in their world.
There is a new world coming. It remains only to be seen whether we or our far-distant descendants experience the joys of a reconstructed society. The suicides will kill themselves, the over-population nuts will abort their future, the sodomites will emasculate themselves, and the cannibals will eat each other.
But our children, and their children, and their children’s children will inherit the earth.
Now isn’t that worth a little hard work and sweat?
- Brian M. Abshire
Rev. Brian Abshire, Ph.D. is currently a Teaching Elder associated with Hanover Presbytery. Along with his pastoral duties, he is also the director for the International Institute for Christian Culture, has served as an adjunct instructor in Religious Studies at Park University and is a visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at Whitefield College.