The study of human history reveals a tragic pattern…. And it’s the same pattern we see in our culture today.
Having rejected eternal truth, fallen man turns again and again to a handful of foolhardy lies. Though upheld as true, the lies are lies. Though reintroduced under different guises, the lies are few and obvious. Though upheld as novelty, the lies are as old as antiquity. And when these lies are widely accepted by a people they produce cultural ruin and disgrace – as seen in our contemporary setting.
Our modern culture offers sad but abundant evidence of man's ancient folly - namely, if a lie is dressed up in flowery jargon the gullible will pay any price to possess it. If a lie can be hailed as “fashionable” then superficial people will align themselves with it. If an age-old lie can be promoted as the “latest new thing” then the historically-ignorant all-American-consumer, desperately longing to keep up with the times will embrace it… And he’ll do so neither knowing nor caring that he has been played for a fool…
How is this done?
The Lord Jesus put it this way:
"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
(John 8:31-32, ESV)
Please take time to read Kipling’s poem – and see if you agree that it reads like a commentary on our culture.
The Gods of the Copybook Headings*
by Rudyard Kippling
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!