If people are basically good, then why crime? Why do we need prisons? Some of our most fairytale cities have been trying to live without police to enforce the law. It’s not going so well. In fact, if people are basically good, why do we even need law? I think we can make a case that most people are basically nice — if they’ve been raised by decent, loving parents they pretty much seem nice, but nice isn’t the same as good. If we want our children to be wise and safe then we better tell them the truth about original sin — “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” — way short.
Well, Santa Claus for one — the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin, etc., but none of those are as damaging as others that we have consistently pounded into our kids’ thinking. Let’s look at some of them:
1) You can become anything you want to be. Theoretically that’s nice. We want our kids to dream, to reach for the stars. We fail, however, because we don’t finish the lesson. We don’t point out that there are some limits. Why should a person like myself (I have a singing range of about three notes and very little control over which of those notes I hit.) spend her life trying to be a singer? Shouldn’t reality appear here somewhere?
We don’t really want our kids to spend their lives banging their heads against impossibilities. That’s why this hairbrained idea of transsexualism has caught on. After all, if you can be whatever you want to be, there’s no reason a young man’s urge to strut in stilettos shouldn’t be entirely fulfilled. Right? One way to test an idea is to stretch it to its extremes and if it still holds up, it may be valid. Obviously, we can toss this one on the ash heap.
2) You should make the world a better place. What’s wrong with that? For one, it’s impossible. We can each make an effort to make our own little patch of society as pleasant and productive as possible, but change the world? That’s a tall order. It’s also way too vague to be useful. What is “better?” By whose standards? How do we define “the world?” How much of the world? For how long? At whose expense? What do we mean by “change?” And, most importantly, who will be in charge?How many human beings have successfully made this world better? Jesus Christ, definitely. The heroes listed in Hebrews 11? Yes, but most of them had no idea at the time that that was what they were doing. They tried to live and maintain a relationship with God, but mostly they got in trouble.
We can say that whoever invented the wheel did the world a service. Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line certainly made life easier and more fun. Does that count as an improvement? Steve Jobs and Bill Gates certainly changed the world, but is it better? They certainly changed things as fundamentally as Gutenberg did, but is it better? Can’t we just raise our kids to work honestly and productively, to marry and raise a family and pay their debts and be generally kind to others?
3) You are the product of blind, random mutations. You have no purpose or meaning. That’s a doozy — especially when we couple it with the last lie. We accept without thinking what a profound effect that has on kids.