worldviews

The War of the Worldviews

20 June 2024

5.6 MINS

Battling it out in the meme wars.

The battle for ideas and things like the culture wars are fought on many levels. They can be in classrooms, books, films, magazines, conferences and political rallies. They can also be found in something as simple as a sign or a poster. Indeed, the meme wars have certainly been hotting up now that social media is well and truly a part of how we live.

Here I want to look, not at the battle of the bands, but at the battle of the signs. The sign wars are heating up, and we need to engage at that level as well. Just over five years ago, I wrote a piece about all this in which I said this:

There are some places in the world that are worse than others when it comes to the war on faith, family and freedom, and other values so many people hold near and dear. Just a week ago I was in one of them. Don’t get me wrong – it is a beautiful city, built on four lakes, and it has many fine people. But it has long been known as a hotbed of radical leftism. I refer to the college town, Madison, Wisconsin.

During the radical ’60s the University of Wisconsin, Madison campus was right up there with all the student rioting and Marxist revolution, along with places like the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University in New York. I would often hitchhike there from my smaller conservative hometown during the days of my wild, non-Christian youth to be a part of the action.

Of course since then I have had a conversion to Christianity and a move away from leftist radicalism. But Madison is still much the same today. Now it is filled with a lot of ageing hippies and still tends to vote for leftist candidates and political parties…

I went on in that article to mention one ubiquitous sign, decked out in rainbow colours. While my wife and I were visiting Madison back in 2019, we noticed many homes had these signs proudly displayed in their front yards. One version of it said this:

IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL
SCIENCE IS REAL
LOVE IS LOVE
NO MATTER YOUR FAITH OR ABILITY
KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING

It was certainly the sort of thing you’d expect to bump into – and often – in a place like Madison. Let me speak to this a bit more. First, I have not been back to America since that visit, so I don’t know if those signs are still there in Madison. But the leftism behind it all certainly would still be. So, let me briefly speak to each of these points.

Yes, Black lives do indeed matter. But so do white lives, and other ones as well. All are made in God’s image, so all matter. However, as I wrote a few years back, BLM is not just some benign outfit that we can and should all get fully behind:

Conservatives and Christians should be aware that this group is about much more than just concerns with black people. They state quite openly that they affirm all the usual radical left agenda items, including homosexuality, transgenderism, the war on the family, and so on. See more on all this here.

Obfuscation

Yes, real human rights apply to both men and women. But of course, that is not what is being countenanced here. This is just more euphemistic talk for a sacred cow of the left: abortion on demand. There is no human right to slaughter the innocent, and we should stop pretending that there is. See this piece, for example.

Yes, humans matter – but what or who might be illegal? Obviously is another leftist icon: illegal immigration. The left wants open borders and no questions asked. That, of course, is a good way to destroy a nation – something the far left wants, by the way. And the best way to call the left’s bluff here is to tell them to put their money where their mouth is.

They should get rid of all the doors and locks and fences on their properties, and see how that works out for them. I would love to be there when a gang of strangers shows up, demanding they be let in and fed, clothed and sheltered for as long as they demand. The lefties would soon come to believe that some things involving humans most certainly ARE illegal – or should be.

As I said in an earlier piece: “The wealthier these leftists are, the more likely they will have very elaborate and very expensive security systems set up, complete with cameras, direct links to security companies, and plenty of high walls and guarded fences. Are they all being immoral, unloving, and unChristlike, by having these locks and other security measures?”

Dangerous

Yes, science is real. Science exists, but so too does scientism. That is the idea that the only things which are real and true are those things that can be tested in a science lab. That, of course, is not science, but philosophical naturalism masquerading as science. That, too, I have often discussed before.

And I prefer genuine science to bogus science – you know, like when the “science” told us walking one way down a supermarket aisle would save our lives. Or when the “science” encourages us to believe that a man can become a woman by growing his hair and wearing a skirt. Or when the “science” says if we eat bugs and pay more taxes, we can change the weather and save the planet. Sorry, but I have little time for pseudoscience and politicised science.

Yes, love properly understood is vital as well. But we again know what the left has in mind when it talks about love. It is really about all sorts of varieties of sexuality, be it homosexuality, the trans agenda, or even “intergenerational” relations and other euphemisms. Pretending all sexual relationships are identical is how they managed to push radical things like homosexual marriage through. But that I have discussed many dozens of times as well.

Yes, kindness is important, but it is hardly everything. Stalin was said to have been kind to children and animals. But more was needed to make him a worthwhile role model. Truth and morality are even more important, and so much of what the left is pushing is false, harmful and dangerous. Radical causes that do so much damage are not made better by smiling when you promote your revolution agenda items. See more here on just being kind and nice.

So the stuff being pushed in posters and signs like this is just so much leftist ideology and rhetoric. And as is so often the case, nice-sounding words and phrases are simply being used to conceal not-so-nice agendas. Thankfully, not everyone fell for these vacuous signs. Not too long afterwards, other memes and signs began to appear. I like what this one said (also laid out in rainbow colours):

IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE THAT
SIMPLISTIC PLATITUDES
TRITE TAUTOLOGIES
AND SEMANTICALLY OVERLOADED APHORISMS
ARE POOR SUBSTITUTES
FOR RESPECTFUL AND RATIONAL DISCUSSIONS
ABOUT COMPLEX ISSUES

Afterword

A few years after I first saw those leftist signs in Madison, an entire book appeared that discussed all this in more detail. I refer to The Secular Creed: Engaging Five Contemporary Claims by Rebecca McLaughlin (The Gospel Coalition, 2021). As she wrote in her introduction:The Secular Creed

To our 21st-century, Western ears, love across racial and cultural difference, the equality of men and women, and the idea that the poor, oppressed, and marginalized can make moral claims on the strong, rich, and powerful sound like basic moral common sense. But they are not.

These truths have come to us from Christianity. Rip that foundation out, and you won’t uncover a better basis for human equality and rights. You’ll uncover an abyss that cannot even tell you what a human being is. Like cartoon characters running off a cliff, we may continue a short way before we realize that the ground has gone from underneath our feet. But it has gone. Without Christian beliefs about humanity, the yard sign’s claims aren’t worth the cardboard on which they are written.

Quite so. Anyone can spout out mushy words and sentimental platitudes. But without something solid to base them on, they offer us nothing of lasting value. I recall how Francis Schaeffer used to speak of modern man as having feet firmly planted in mid-air. Signs like this are just one more indication of this.

___

Republished with thanks to CultureWatch. Image courtesy of Ece AK.

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4 Comments

  1. Jim Twelves 20 June 2024 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Bill, wow, what a depth of experience, what clarity of insight and understanding. Brilliant! Thank you so much. What your piece says to me is that the radical, secular agenda is so well entrenched in western culture that the majority of us cannot see it. The ‘long march through academia’ has reached its triumphal conclusion and is celebrating their victory with all the other pillars of society.
    This is a terrible conclusion if its correct. It can so easily lead to a acrimonious relationships with the ‘self-righteous’ pitted against the ‘deceived’. I would love you to write (if you haven’t already) on how the west can be saved from this internal battle to come.

  2. Pauline Tondl 20 June 2024 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Thanks Bill for a fascinating expose of the modern (leftist) mantra, and your invitation to Bill, Jim, to write on the solution to this seemingly intractable problem.
    It takes time, effort and focus to think these kinds of issues through.
    And who has the spare time for that ?
    But it has already been thought through.
    And explained.
    Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are already available for whoever truly wants them and the blessings that come from accepting and living according to them.

  3. Bill Muehlenberg 21 June 2024 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Many thanks Jim. How to save the West is a big topic with many aspects. I have written on it from time to time. Here is one piece that looks at the bigger picture and the longer term: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/04/18/big-picture-long-term/

  4. Bill Muehlenberg 21 June 2024 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Thanks Pauline.

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