We have been discussing the prevalence of lawlessness within our society. In the previous post I mentioned that lawful societies are best established and maintained through belief in the God of the Bible. Without the motivation to lawful living that comes through commitment to God, people tend toward lawlessness. Therefore, our current lawlessness results in part from our abandoning the God of the Bible in preference for a post-Christian culture.
However, America not only lacks the motivation toward lawfulness promoted by commitment to God, but also we have embraced a culture whose basic concepts promote lawlessness.
Beginning with the 60s our society adopted the hippie culture with its two predominant principles, “If it feels good do it,” and “You have a right to do your own thing.” Both of these concepts promote lawlessness.
The first, establishing human feelings as the basis for guidance, promotes lawlessness since feelings are by their very nature lawless. The mind ascertains lawfulness and the will is needed to implement that law. Therefore, this commitment to abandon mind and will in preference to feelings as a basis of behavior by its very nature constitutes an unbridled endorsement of lawlessness.
Adding to the lawlessness produced by the elimination of the use of the mind and will is the designation of emotions as guide. Though our emotions at times can motivate us toward lawful behaviors, usually they drive us toward breaking the laws of God and government.
The second hippie concept that the individual has the right to do his own thing represents an overt expression of lawlessness, granting the individual total freedom from all laws other than that of his autonomous self.
Combined with the first principle, designation the emotions as our guide, which assures that our thing will usually be lawless, these concepts provide a recipe for unlawful living. That these principles unleashed lawlessness in American society is made evident by those behaviors that characterized the hippie movement, virtually all of which broke the laws of God or man or both, not to mention the laws of logic.
It is essential that we understand that the hippie philosophy continues as the dominant cultural influence of our day. These concepts were not confined to the hippie movement, but have become mainstreamed so that now they possess controlling influence in our society. Consider the legalization of marijuana, a hallmark of hippie culture, in some states. The employment of the mind and the will would reject this feelings-oriented trend.
The hippie philosophy, though adopted subliminally by American society, could not be adopted consciously because it makes no sense. Any rational person would realize that giving people the right to do their own thing and identifying that thing by emotions would create societal havoc. However, its basic principles found “academic” confirmation in the psychological theory of Carl Rogers, which has as its central thesis that accepting people unconditionally will result in their development into fully functioning persons. In essence Rogers assured Americans that allowing people to do their own thing would produce individual and societal well-being rather than chaos.
Notice that unconditional acceptance comprises a euphemism for lawlessness. To accept the person unconditionally means that no laws may be applied to him. “I accept you if you don’t cheat on your wife,” constitutes conditional acceptance. Therefore, unconditional acceptance gives persons the latitude to commit adultery. Likewise, Rogers’ theory sanctions all lawlessness.
The attempt at avoiding this result by asserting, “I accept you but not your inappropriate behavior,” fails to provide a solution because this assertion separates the person from his behavior. Maintaining lawfulness in a society requires not only condemning unlawful behaviors but also unlawful people. Accepting the person but not his inappropriate behavior leaves us with a jury condemning the murderer’s behavior but allowing the murderer to go free.
This situation is made even worse with the adoption of unconditional acceptance as a foundational belief by the evangelical community. Consequently, not even the American evangelical church provides a bulwark against lawlessness.
Therefore, both the philosophy of the hippie movement, giving the person the right to do his own thing and specifically what feels good, and the psychology of Carl Rogers, accepting persons unconditionally, sanction and even promote lawlessness. Our society has become lawless both because we have rejected Christianity, which maintains lawful living, and we have embraced a philosophy and a psychology that promote lawlessness. The necessary outcome is found in the lawlessness which has become a dominant characteristic of American society.
The really bad news is found in the utterly devastating nature and impact of lawlessness. It is even worse than we might think. I plan to address that issue in my next post.