“May you live in interesting times.”
At first, this famous (and possibly Chinese) curse seems pretty tame, especially in a crude culture such as our own where insults cannot help but contain underhanded jabs, sarcasm and gutter talk.
However, when one stops to contemplate the saying, one soon realizes that it is no enviable fate to “live in interesting times.”
Why? Because interesting times are fraught with chaos, instability and (often violent) social upheaval.
On Wednesday, the Republicans had their first primary debate — without Donald Trump, who instead gave an exclusive interview to Tucker Carlson on X, formerly Twitter.
In the interview, Carlson asked Trump a question that reflects the deeply held concerns of many Americans.
“Do you think we’re moving toward civil war?”
Tucker asks Trump: “Do you think we’re moving towards Civil War?” pic.twitter.com/Biznn9hmqj
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 24, 2023
As is clear from his answer, the issue is tied in Trump’s mind to the events of Jan. 6.
“So do you think it’s possible that there’s open conflict? We seem to be moving toward something,” Carlson pressed Trump.
“I don’t know,” Trump said. “You know, I can say this: There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen. There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen. And that’s probably a bad combination.”
The polarization of the country is well known, but many of us who have dabbled in ministry or apologetics, especially at the academic level, have known for years that this was coming.
I can distinctly remember a time when secularist atheists would debate their utilitarian ethics and materialist worldview openly with Christians (see an example here).
However, a shift started happening years before Trump was even elected. A new Marxism, a cultural Marxism, had emerged that did not want to debate anymore.
For the new Marxists, the debate was over long ago. Those who stood against progress were evil, and as such no respect, civility or even basic rights could ever be afforded to them.
They embraced the straw men that Christians often made of where their secularism would lead. They became the caricature we had warned about.
For example, I remember a time when pedophilia was used as an example of where the slippery slope of atheistic ethics would lead, and at that time, such a prediction would anger one’s secular opponents and be dismissed as ridiculous.
Now, they openly admit this is something they want, for what they really want is the opposite of what is good and right as defined by Christian civilization. They want to burn it all down.
If the war between the states in the 1860s — between two sides that were both Western, Christian and American — was inevitable, how much more so the conflict in which we now find ourselves?
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
These two worldviews — that of the Christian and that of the unbeliever (in all of its manifestations) — cannot be bound together in peace and unity.
A person who believes one can murder children cannot be bound to someone who believes in the sanctity of life.
A person who believes that men can have babies and women can have penises cannot be bound to someone who believes God made man in his image, male and female.
A person who worships the natural world, science, and the “experts” in white lab coats and thinks he can derive morals from such cannot be bound to someone who bows to Christ and the authority of his Word and church.
You get the idea.
If the first civil war was an irresolvable conflict over the constitutionality of secession and the institution of slavery, then our new civil war is far more necessary, unavoidable, and stark in its divisions.
Our war is between good and evil itself, freedom and tyranny. Of course passion and hatred exist in such an environment!
In a nation that allows individuals to live according to their own beliefs and ethics (at least that’s how it came to be interpreted by the Supreme Court), irreconcilable worldviews eventually coming into conflict seems a foregone conclusion that a toddler could have predicted.
Abraham Lincoln said in his Lyceum address:
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
We are now at that point. The danger has sprung up among us, and we will have to choose the future of our nation.
Thus, after the pattern of Thomas Paine, I now say this to you:
“May we live through interesting times, so that our children might know boring ones.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.