Chalcedon Position Paper No. 46, January 1984
In these days, some people who are normally the most asleep to the world around them are actually stirring and showing signs of life and even of indignation! I am referring to parents of children in state schools. Normally unaware of the radical subversion of their children by humanism, these parents are in growing numbers being shocked out of their indifference by the kind of “literature” assigned to their children.
Meanwhile, films and television give us a fare which, when not repulsive, is too stupid and painfully bad to watch. The film and television audience has been decreasing in recent years with good reason. Too much of even the “culture” fare is insulting in its implications and rests on a contempt for man.
A recent “educational” television film was about wild horses. About forty years ago, I lived in wild-horse country. In their natural state, these wild horses were runty, diseased, and, with occasional exceptions, poor specimens of their kind. At that time, they were often rounded up to be sold for dog food. In recent years, special national range areas have enabled the breed to improve. To cut down on the surplus and to prevent a destruction of the range, many of the excess horses have been corralled to be sold as riding horses. The result? Indignation by our sentimentalists over the horses’ “loss of freedom.” It does not occur to these people that these are “welfare” horses, not truly wild but protected and cared for. At the same time, these sentimentalists, who would never allow the killing of excess horses and have blocked efforts to kill off California’s very prolific population of wild burros, are pro-abortion where human beings are concerned. Neither the millions of Marxist victims of slave labor camps nor the growing millions of unborn babies slaughtered annually distress or disturb them. This is pornography indeed.
At the same time, a preserve is being established in Southern California to protect the California condor, an “endangered” bird. Now, this condor is plentiful in Mexico and Latin America. The condor is a vulture. Its future in the United States is a bleak one, not because of the “press of population,” but because the conditions in the United States are unfavorable to its diet. After all, how many dead bodies do Americans leave lying about, of animals or men, for vultures to feed on? Even a dog hit by an automobile is quickly removed and buried in most cases. What do they plan to feed the condors? The 1.5 million aborted fetuses each year? After all, more concern is expressed in some circles for the condors than for unborn babies. Is this not a form of ultimate pornography?
Pornographic films, books, and magazines, however bad they are, represent only the superficial and surface manifestation of a deep-seated cancer. We have today a radical inversion of values and a studied hatred of Biblical faith, law, and norms, because the triune God of Scripture is seen as the ultimate enemy. The more alien something is to the Word of God, the more highly it is prized. One recent “educational” television film, in approaching a “primitive” tribal people, declared that the people and their culture should be taken “at absolute face value.” This is the way every such “primitive” group is approached. No such absoluteness, of course, is ever ascribed to Scripture, to Christianity, or to the life of an unborn child! The unborn child is seen as merely a part of the woman’s body, her property, which, as someone has pointed out, is exactly how slaves were once viewed, as property.
The ultimate pornography is very simply described in Proverbs 8:36, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” The hatred of life and the love of death is the ultimate pornography. Every particular form of pornography is simply an exemplification of this fact.
In Genesis 6:5 we are told of the world before the Flood, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Pornography is the triumph of this evil imagination; it sees people, not as they really are, but in terms of an imagination which uses people to serve a man-god. Sexual pornography makes all the world the slave of the pornographic imagination; women, for example, only exist to please the would-be god and to coo in delight at the “privilege.”
This pornographic evil imagination is not limited to the sexual sphere. An even more popular area is the politico-economic realm. One of the most influential and evil works of pornography ever produced was Plato’s Republic, which reduced the great mass of humanity to the status of tools for the philosopher-kings. The respect accorded to Plato is evidence of the diseased character of the academy.
Igor Shafarevich, the Soviet Russian mathematician, has described socialism as the organized love of death. The socialist ideal is equality in death. It calls for the destruction of hierarchy, of private property, of religion, of the family, and, finally, of life itself (in Alexander Solzhenitsyn, From Under the Rubble). Its governing force is hatred, the attempt to be god, and the savage hostility to all that is of the true and living God. The socialist imagination refuses to recognize either God’s existence or man’s existence apart from its own power and control. Just as the pornographic tales of the Marquis de Sade created impossible people who could not exist in life, so too the socialist imagination calls for the creation of a like people. When people refused to conform to de Sade’s imagination, he sought to force them to do so; the socialist imagination also uses coercion also to bend living men into its evil mold.
This is, of course, the appeal of abortion. In the early days of its civil legalization, many avant-garde women, single as well as married, became pregnant in order to have an abortion. It provided good table talk, the ability to boast of, in effect, playing god over human life. We fail to understand abortion unless we see this aspect as central to it.
Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., a former abortionist, reports in Aborting America (1979), on the pleasure expressed by one administrator at the number of abortions performed.
If the pro-abortionists were logical, they would speak of the supposed need for abortions with regrets and dismay as a sorry fact and “necessity.” In reality, they speak of it as a right and a freedom. A freedom to kill? They are not honest enough to say so, but this is their motivation, the love of death, for others and for themselves.
According to Scripture, the unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31–32). This has been seen as the inversion of the moral order to the point where a man makes evil his good, and God’s good his evil. All forms of pornography flirt with, advocate, or wholeheartedly embrace this inversion. This is why any involvement with this inversion of the moral order is so deadly dangerous.
In my study of The Politics of Pornography (1974),1 I called attention to the fact that the new sexual pornography is radically different from the older forms. The earlier forms of sexual pornography were self-consciously written as “dirty books”; they were playing with sin and crime and knew it. The new pornography is written as the new health, the new freedom, as a witness to the truly good life. It presents us, therefore, with an inversion of the moral order lacking in the older works. It exemplifies the sin against the Holy Ghost in its motivation.
Dr. Lewis A. Tambs, of Arizona State University, in writing on “World War II — The Final Phase” (in Christian Statesman, November–December 1983 [Beaver Falls, PA]; ed., Ray Joseph, a Chalcedon friend), cites 1946 to 1975 as the first stage, containment. The second stage, detente, 1960 to 1979, has been succeeded by the third stage, double encirclement, 1964–1985. This is “the Tartarian tactics of choke-point control and tribute collection.” The goal is not to destroy but to control, work, and exploit, to make the West, and especially the United States, a satellite or slave state. The Soviet Union, while professing to work for the freedom of man, has become history’s greatest slave state, together with Red China. Both talk of liberation while working for total enslavement. Those who love death see slavery as a major step in the right direction.
Because the whole world outside of Christ loves death rather than Christ, who is life (John 14:6), every man outside of Christ is at heart an ally of the forces of enslavement and death. As a result, the parties of the right and left in the “free” world are ready and willing to serve the needs of Marxist states. Foreign-aid programs do more for Marxism around the world than domestic programs do for the citizenry.
What, then, is our hope? Apart from Christ, there is no hope. The redeeming power of Jesus Christ alone can save men. The law-word of God alone gives the guidelines for freedom and prosperity.
Men and states, however, prefer their own fiat word and law to God’s, because, in rebelling against God, they rebel against life. They are dedicated priests of death.
To love Christ is to love life. Life is full of the unexpected (including guests) and the untidy. Too many people want showcase living in showcase houses, where everything is hostile to life and to children. To be truly against abortion means to love life and children, and children mean dirty diapers, messy rooms, toys strewn about, noise, and more. These are all things alien to the prim, prissy, and proper pro-abortionists. They prefer houses as neat and trim as a cemetery. (This primness has in my lifetime reached the cemeteries! Upright headstones are banned in the newer ones in favor of ground-level markers in order to give a neat, easily maintained death-park. The desire of many today is the legend, “Untouched by human hands.” All too many people want a life untouched by other human beings. This is the love of death; it is pornography.)
The love of Christ is the love of life. It is the love which motivated Lester Roloff and motivates Mother Teresa. It is the love of children and family in Christ, the love of children’s growth, and the love of their joy and laughter. It is the love of a man and a woman which creates a family in Christ, and which erects therein a realm of dominion under God.
There is a fundamental disorderliness about life because the present is not the final order. My library, where I am writing this, is a very disorderly place, with books piled here and there, stacks of papers, manuscripts, letters and more, because work is in progress. To bring my library of 30,000 books to a final order is to walk out of it and die! The passionate purpose of my life and all that I have is God’s final order, and the subordination of all things to that realm. It is pornography for me to impose an order of my imagination or desire on that purpose, or to supplant it.
Where sexual pornography, abortion, socialism, and more are involved, I do not seek to impose personal standards on others, because what is at stake is not a personal preference but God’s law, God’s order, life itself. Neither I nor any other man has the right to say, “My will be done.” God’s will alone is right.
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). His working and power through the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming flood of grace, authority, and regenerating power which overturns and shatters the things which are so that only those things which are unshakable may remain (Heb. 12:27). Against this force, the death-sayers are helpless. Therefore, choose life and live. It is our calling to reconstruct all things in terms of God’s sovereign law-word, to bring all men, nations, and every sphere of life and thought into captivity to Christ our King, into freedom from sin and death and captivity to life and justice. Our King shall in due time make even the cemetery dead alive in Him!
1. Reprinted in 2005 under the title Noble Savages: Exposing the Worldview of Pornographers and Their War Against Christian Civilization. — editor
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.