For most of us, it sounds like an absurd overstating of the obvious to state that America is a divided nation. While the mere mention of President Trump brings this fact to evidence, he is not the reason for our lack of national unity.
Just days ago, in his article, We’ve Never Been More Divided, Don Feder demonstrated that America is more deeply divided than at any other time in our nation’s history. He then described ten fundamental reasons for our lack of unity. Among them, is the fact that we no longer share a common language–English. While Mr. Feder’s point is accurate, our language gap is a far greater source of division than most of us are willing to admit. In fact, it pervades every aspect of our lives.
Among Americans, words no longer have explicit meanings that are universally accepted, and this problem exists even among those in Don Feder’s “Real America.” It’s a relatively new and devious condition with an age-old root. Since we have no common set of terms, effective communication has become impossible. One person’s sexual freedom is an abominable disgrace to another, timeless truth is casually rejected as “not true for me,” and environmental extremism and worship of creation are simply redefined as good stewardship by others.
There are many reasons and culpable institutions responsible for our national language gap, and while the division has certainly accelerated over the past five decades, it’s origin is as old as man. Corrupt human nature leads us habitually to minimize arguments against us and to exaggerate our arguments against others. This human tendency coupled with pride have spawned America’s 300 or more denominations of Christian churches. Each of them is ostensibly founded upon the same holy book, but has wildly diverse tenets and even contradictory policies.
We have allowed political opinions to invade every aspect of our society, every field of science, medicine, mass media, and even the Church. We have a national political party whose primary and most conspicuous characteristic is that its leaders and minions persistently call things what they are not, and redefine what is actually true in every situation in order to advance a destructive agenda.
Even the natural disaster known as Hurricane Harvey is currently being explained through the alternative lexicon of subjective politics. From the hurricane’s cause to its effects to the makeup of those who will be most severely harmed, every facet of this tragedy is being analyzed and explained in ways that lead to a political advantage for one distorted sect.
When we permit political opinion to infiltrate everything, we deprive ourselves of common ground or majority agreement on virtually any issue. Someone will argue for or against the most basic elements of our society, such as law enforcement, the legitimacy of government, climate change, the meaning of the Constitution, and even whether black is black or white is white. This bizarre situation does not bode well for a lasting, peaceful or prosperous America.
Many of us have seen the insanity of our culture speeding toward a violent conclusion for many years. Without a common basis of what words mean, we have little hope to avoid another civil war or an outright revolution. As political rhetoric becomes more vicious, malignant and dangerous the emotional pressure will continue to build until eventually, our society will explode.
False ideas imposed by the intentional misuse and abuse of our language, are more destructive in the minds of men and women than any toxic element. Within a culture, the damage accumulates as we see occurring today.
No longer do we speak of sin or righteousness in terms of black and white. Instead, we describe them in terms of fifty shades of gray. The bright light of truth is dim in America today because the Church has allowed it to be weakened by moral and doctrinal compromise. In faint moonlight, a herd of deer can become invisible to the naked eye at a range of fifty yards.
Describing the effect of dim moonlight, the poet writes:
…red is grey and yellow, white;
and we decide which is right,
and which is an illusion.”
The problem caused by the language gap is that we attempt to decide which is right in direct opposition to the truth of God’s word. We exceed our authority by usurping the legitimate authority of our Creator and, do so to our own peril.
Violent revolution and war can be avoided but will require that the truth be affirmed at every turn and distorted abuses of language be corrected. Passive submission to false and misleading language might seem expedient in the short term, but its ultimate consequence will be harsh and severe.
Realistically, America is probably headed for revolt or war, because correcting the abuses of speech committed by others will be scorned and ridiculed as intolerant. And tolerance is the last remaining virtue of an immoral society such as ours.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.