Evil has always been around. It used to be called sin, but it has always been with us, and for most of human history people were able to recognise it and for the most part acknowledge that it is evil. Sure, everyone sinned and did evil, but until recently most people knew that sin was sin.
Consider sexual sin. Not all that long ago one could be a fornicator or an adulterer or promiscuous or consumed by lust, and so on, but most people at least knew this was not right and it was not something to glibly make excuses for. People may have committed all these sins back then, but they usually still knew that they were sins.
Consider the old work of fiction, The Scarlet Letter. In the 1850 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne a young woman has been found guilty of adultery and is forced to wear a scarlet A on her dress, and paraded publicly, as a sign of shame. The very notion of such a thing occurring today of course would be unheard of.
Not only is adultery as common as breathing, but the very sense of shame and remorse which used to accompany such sexual sins has all but disappeared as well. We don’t feel shame about anything nowadays. We not only do not consider sin to be sin any more, but we are happy to sin with impunity.
We are utterly shameless and devoid of any sense of actual sin. After all, we have been told for decades now that there is no such thing as sin – even from many of our pulpits. We are told there is no such thing as guilt – only guilt feelings which we can easily deal with and dismiss.
We not only sin and sin freely, but now we champion sin, promote sin, celebrate sin, and encourage sin. And this is happening from the highest levels. We now have governments championing all forms of sexual deviancy, all in the name of tolerance and diversity.
We have moved from prohibiting many sins to permitting them to promoting them. Homosexuality is an obvious candidate here. The only bad guys today are those who resist the homosexual onslaught. The only evil people today are those who refuse to give up on sexual morality and purity.
The real culprits today are those who refuse to promote and endorse sinful lifestyles. They have become the new objects of public scorn. Soon enough they will be forced to wear an H on their clothing, or stamped on their foreheads, for “homophobia”.
Instead of having shame for the evil people do, they now expect you to get on board with them and celebrate their sin. If you don’t you become the sinner – you are the one who must be singled out and punished. One could easily see a novel being written like that of Hawthorne’s.
Imagine a crowd of angry homosexuals and their supporters parading through the streets a recalcitrant lover of righteousness and truth. He is put on public display and pelted with rotten tomatoes and rocks. The masses become more and more incensed at this person who dares to resist the militant’s agenda.
Branding his hands with the letter H with hot irons is not deemed to be sufficient punishment. He must be made an example of. ‘Off with his head’ the crowds chant. ‘We will not tolerate such intolerance in our community. He must not be allowed to push his intolerance anymore.’
The only sad thing about this scenario is that it is not far off at all. Every day lesser episodes of this are occurring. I have documented hundreds of cases not all dissimilar to this. Indeed, not all that long ago I actually had to run the gauntlet of angry, screaming protestors.
I simply wanted to speak at a meeting at a church and defend the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman. For daring to argue such a “hateful” and “intolerant” position the militants were out in force, intent on shutting the meeting down.
The only reason it went ahead was because of a security force which had to be hired at great expense, along with the police. Indeed, the riot squad was also on standby. Did you get that? Today we have sunk so low that to actually seek to publicly defend marriage and family will arouse the demonic ire of the militants. They will come out to get you.
Freedom and democracy is being taken away from us, right under our noses. And all this activism and militancy is being boldly, brashly and proudly carried out. These folks exult in their sin and endorse it publicly at every opportunity. Thus we have regular sin pride marches. Sure they are given euphemistic names, but that is what it is.
We even celebrate the sodomisation of the Boy Scouts of America. We applaud it and promote it, and treat as bigots those who dare to stand up for the wellbeing of these young boys. We treat virtue as vice, and vice as virtue. Sin is applauded while goodness is denigrated.
G. K. Chesterton, as always, had much to say about such matters. Let me just present two of his insights here:
“Men do not differ much about what things they call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”
“Unless a man becomes the enemy of an evil, he will not even become its slave but rather its champion.”
Of course GKC is simply reflecting the wisdom and sanity of the Judeo-Christian worldview. As Isaiah said long before him: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
This article is not mainly about Hawthorne’s famous work. But since I have raised it, it might be worth pointing out a few matters. Namely, let me highlight three misconceptions about the novel:
“-There is no historical evidence that in Puritan New England adulterers were forced to wear a scarlet letter A on their breasts.
-The picture that Hawthorne paints of the Puritans is a satiric exaggeration, not an accurate account of the Puritans as they were in principle. Furthermore, although Hawthorne condemns Puritan behavior in his story, he affirms Puritan/Christian doctrine in the conclusion of his story.
-Although the sin of adultery lies behind the action of the story, this is not a story about adultery or sex; it is about sin, guilt, hypocrisy (in the form of hidden sin), confession of sin, and forgiveness.”
(Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, and Todd Wilson, Pastors in the Classics. Baker Books, 2012, pp. 23-24)