There is only one unique and saving gospel, which can put man right with God. It is the urgent task of all truly evangelical churches to recover this exclusive message from the Scriptures, and to proclaim it.
The downward spiral
Regular churchgoer Christopher Booker has become the principal Euro-sceptic spokesman for both the fishermen of England and the farmers impoverished by the beef crisis. In 1969 he wrote The Neophiliacs, an analysis of the swinging sixties. The thesis of the book is simple. Very often, says Booker, humanity embarks upon mass fantasies, that is, the influential supremos of a culture deliberately turn their backs on reason, nature, the lessons of the past and conscience. The fantasies vary in their goal – communism, feminism, romanticism, State education, racism, imperialism, egalitarianism. But the motive, method and outcome are always the same, and the result is destruction. The steps into the pit of lawlessness are seven-fold.
Seven downward steps
1. People first succumb to self-pity. A problem like boredom, growing older, wounded pride, which could be solved in virtuous and sensible ways, is instead nourished and cultivated until it attains mythic importance.
2. The next step is the fantasy stage. Because the so-called ‘problem’ in fact is bogus, it demands a fantastic solution, one which cannot possibly work and for which people invest immense but vague hope, for which no sacrifice is judged too high. At the beginning of the century some intellectuals considered the ‘masses’ as semi-human swarms, drugged by popular newspapers and cinema, and ripe for extermination. They became fascinated with eugenics, the idea of the extermination of the masses, and the cult of the Nietzschean Superman.
3. The next step is one Christopher Booker calls anticipation. The fantasy follows an inexorable course; for example, the cult of youth alienation, the ‘rebel without a cause’, with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and James Dean as its icons. The message becomes ‘our time is coming’, ‘the day will dawn’. There is a vague uto-pianism with dreams of a bright future: ‘the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind’.
4. The fourth step is the dream stage: ‘Stawberry fields for ever!’ People try to put into practice these fantasies. Think of the flower people of the 1960s, the clamour to legalize marijuana, experimentation with LSD, the message of an ‘open marriage’, the womanizing of some American presidents, Oh Calcutta, the Woodstock music festival, the pornographic video, Gay rights, and John Lennon singing the dreamers’ theme song, ‘Imagine’.
5. The fifth step is frustration. These solutions fail to make people happy or solve the perceived problem. Band members who became millionaires through singing about love actually fight one another, take each other to court, get divorced, and remarry again, and again. They are plunged into bankruptcy. To the extent they change anything for the better, they change more serious things for the worse, especially in marriage and parenthood where rules, structures and boundaries are dissolved in the march of adults’ and childrens’ rights.
6. The sixth stage is the nightmare stage. Punishment has become taboo, and discipline a dirty word. Alcohol kills many, drugs kill others; AIDS kills others. Middle-aged people are illiterate; everywhere there are single mothers who are trying to raise children who have been fathered by different men. Schoolteachers flee their profession because teaching is destroying their health. Some housing estates become no-go areas for the police. Children become experts in stealing cars and selling heroin. The prisons are full, above their capacity to hold men. The consequences of the false religion reveal themselves everywhere. The dream has become a nightmare.
7. Finally comes the death wish stage: signs of it are everywhere. Anorexic super-models look like victims of a death camp: ‘Kate Moss has the perfect look for now. She evokes beauty for the end of this century,’ says a Chanel spokesman. It all started with Twiggy; it is ending with Stella Tennant. Beauty today is the image of a woman dying of a drug overdose.
The fruit-bearing root
The pop music critic Stephen Dalton, writing in The Times of a concert in Southampton of one of the most popular British bands, the Manic Street Preachers, records, ‘Most of their songs are relentlessly tragic in mood. Solitude, despair and man’s inhumanity to man are recurrent motifs, as in the band’s current single “Kevin Carter” … No other band could inspire mass outbreaks of frenzied dancing with songs about Nazi death camps’ (12 October 1996). Cult groups despairingly commit suicide in Canada, Switzerland and Jonestown. Men open fire with guns and without pity cut down total strangers in Tasmania, Scotland, Hungerford and America. Bombs go off without warning in Oklahoma City, Ulster and Manchester. Sixty million abortions take place on the planet every year. The practice of euthanasia steadily spreads. Pol Pot kills literally half the nation of Cambodia.
So the ‘free spirit’ fantasy is exploding in destruction. All fantasies of that sort, thinks Christopher Booker, are based upon a death wish, or, as we believe, they are conscious rebellions against how God has made his creatures. ‘All they that hate me love death.’ Christopher Booker wrote his seminal book on the sixties when flower power and the beautiful people walked the world as its kings and queens. They greeted The Neophiliacs with contempt. Booker was maligned as a bitter man trying to sabotage the effervescent spirit of the times.
Our task is clear
The proof that he was basically right is all around us. The self-regarding elite which has television, politics, education, the media and the publishing houses in its pockets, has no understanding of the nature of man or the reality of God. In a further flight from reality they deny the testimony of parents, teachers, pupils and ministers of the gospel that we are living in a bleak anti-Christian moral vacuum. Through an earlier grace there was once a widespread acknowledgment that biblical religion should be transmitted to the young in order to initiate them into life and the human condition itself. Only in the understanding of God revealed in Jesus Christ can men understand themselves. Our task is clear, though modest. It is that in our personal, family and congregational lives true Christians keep in step with the Spirit, and build a vital alternative society of people who love God and keep his commandments, whilst all day holding out hands of entreaty towards a disobedient and obstinate people.