Everyone has an opinion, on that one point, I think we have to agree. Maybe not on anything else, but on that at least. Whether you want it or not, I’m going to give you mine. If you don’t agree with me, that’s ok. My mind is all over the place today, and in sitting here thinking about the state of the world, for some reason I remembered a concept we studied in a sociology class back in the 90’s, during my first try at college.
Social Entropy. Wikipedia explains it like this (since I don’t have my ancient textbook anymore):
“Social entropy is a macro-sociological systems theory. It is a measure of the natural decay within a social system. It can refer to the decomposition of social structure or of the disappearance of social distinctions. Much of the energy consumed by a social organization is spent to maintain its structure, counteracting social entropy, e.g., through legal institutions, education and even the promotion of television viewing. Anomie is the maximum state of social entropy. Social entropy implies the tendency of social networks and society in general to break down over time, moving from cooperation and advancement towards conflict and chaos.”
I think that explanation tells us what’s going on, but in my opinion, it doesn’t offer any real answers as to why. That’s where my opinion comes in.
To my way of thinking, it’s easy to arrive at the conclusion that the social structure and social distinction of country—our culture, too—is devolving, to put it politely. Going into the toilet, to paint another picture.
I think we’ve gotten to the point as a culture where only one set of mores are permitted by a large and “new-fashioned” group of people within our society, those being more aligned with moral relativism than morals. People seem to think now that morals are little more than pictures on walls. I think this is a load of crap, and I will tell you why.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, there are moral absolutes. If there weren’t, people would go around doing whatever they want, because they believe it to be the right thing for them, no matter what the cost. There’s no God, and thus no consequences for actions, because everything is permitted when nothing is bad or wrong.
What’s that? There are some things that are wrong?
Where do moral absolutes come from if there is no God? Certainly, there are those absolutes dictated by law. Killing people is bad. Stealing is bad. Keeping a dude in a leather suit locked in a treasure chest? Yep, wrong.
But why? Where do the legal standards come from?
In my opinion, from moral ones. There are things we just know to be wrong. I believe we are all hard-wired to make decent moral decisions. That’s how we were made. We come pre-bundled with the ability to choose good over bad.
Right over wrong.
But how? How is that possible? Is it something we’ve evolved into? How did we go from being banana-stealing, inbred, low-level primates into higher thinking primates who know right from wrong instinctively?
Here is my point, and you can take what you want from it, or leave it entirely.
We were made by a creator, and we were endowed with knowledge of a few things by that creator. How to behave in public and in private. How to treat people the way we would want to be treated ourselves. It isn’t right to take things from people just because we want them, including their lives.
Things like that, and many others.
With those endowments also came rudimentary knowledge of that creator. He made us. He wants us. He loves us. All of us (Before I go further, that really does mean all of us. Even those who don’t recognize the truth because they’re too busy trying to figure out how to clear out their ears from the big bang).
We are made to know our creator. We are made to know God, and love him. The world, of course, is the other part of God’s creation. And everything in it.
Where does social entropy come in? Glad you asked.
I think we were made to live together in community. We were created to worship together. To grow together in our knowledge of our maker, until the day we meet him face-to-face.
I think our journey toward social entropy and our metaphorical toilet began when we stopped recognizing that simple fact. We grew apart as a people. It happened slowly, and nobody noticed what was going on.
Now, we are a world full of people who don’t know each other, don’t love each other in every way that counts, and certainly don’t want to help each other. That sucks, but it’s what happened.
If we hear something we think will make ourselves better or easier, many times we will just do it, especially if it feels good.
In spite of the consequences, both legal and moral.
In spite of the inarguable fact that everyone doing what’s best for ourselves as we see it pulls us apart as a people, a culture, and a world.
In the words of the group Helloween, “we are credulous idiots.”
We are gullible, to be sure. But we are hard-wired for truth. We just have to be willing to receive it.
What’s that? Believing in God is also subject to credulity?
Speaking for myself, belief in God, in Jesus, and in the Resurrection is the truth I came to that saved my life.
It gave me the ability to recognize the lies piled around me that obscured the truth.
God didn’t create evil, he created people, and gave them the ability to choose him, and recognize him for who and what he was.
Their freedom to choose him over themselves was also given. To choose absolute good over evil is also ours.
Sometimes—often—we make the wrong choices, both on a macro and micro level.
I also don’t feel like all the horrible things that happen on a global level disprove the existence of God. For me, those events are sort of an…alarm clock much of the time, both socially and spiritually. They remind us the world is finite, just as we are.
They remind us we have to make a choice as well.
The world is circling the drain—the toilet bowl, if you will—because so many of us stopped recognizing we aren’t in this life alone.
We don’t have to wonder how to live.
We don’t have to wonder why we are here.
We stopped believing there was a guiding light. We stopped recognizing there was truth.
We elevated ourselves to pedestal status.
We worship false gods, and real idols.
We forgot about God because when we remember we want to live differently.
So we run away from God, and each other.
In our towns, cities, states, and countries.
Sometimes within our homes.
And a house divided against itself cannot stand.
A world divided against itself cannot stand.
Humanity divided against itself cannot stand.
We don’t realize that anymore.
And we’re falling apart.
We live social entropy.
But I have Good News.
There’s hope for the world.
There’s hope for us.
That’s because of what this coming weekend entails.
Our hope lies in the able hands of a carpenter, and in his death, burial, and resurrection.
But he’s more than a carpenter, to quote writer Josh McDowell.
He’s a savior, a redeemer.
He has good works for you to do.
His name is Jesus, and he’s waiting for you to call out to him.
Your life doesn’t have to be about entropy, social or otherwise.
Choose him, not the world.