Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, but early this summer I opened up another novel by Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain. I did so for the promised plot, a deadly virus in the 1950s American Southwest that threatens to kill off a large percentage of the world, if released. I’ve enjoyed watching films with similar story lines, and with Zika and the anti-antibiotic super-bugs threatening our fringes, I figured it would be a good time to give it a shot. Sadly, however, I couldn’t delve very far into the book for the sake of Crichton’s incessant blasphemy, which will be my theme for this post.
Luckily for Crichton, I didn’t put this particular novel down for either its inane plot structure or non-believable scenes or dialogue, as has happened in the past (consider the painful Timeline or the ridiculous Sphere). Unluckily for him, however, I did put it down because he shamelessly and incessantly defaced the name and honor of the God of the universe, as if somewhere in the second half of the century, he pulled a Faust and sold his soul for the chance to sell novels. It seemed that virtually every early page of dialogue shouted the name of “Christ” or “Jesus” without qualms or concern, as if every American spoke this way in the 1950s. It reminded me distinctly of Robert Ludlum’s 1970s or of any sitcom or episodic series of the early 2000s that wanted to sound edgy (I think particularly of Monk‘s first dive into the mainstream, the first episode of Season Two which blasphemed and cursed more than any other episode in the entire series, just because they could).
While blaspheming the name of Jesus Christ (or any Member of the Godhead, for that matter) has become more commonplace in recent years, what with the leniency provided by the FCC, it by no means lessens the severe disrespect engendered towards Christ or His followers. The sad thing is, the majority of His “followers” don’t even notice it’s going on or, if they do, care.
Remember the uproar regarding Charlie Hebdo and their Muhammad cartoons? America stood in head-wagging shock at the audacity of such intolerance overseas, and yet virtually every American adult cartoon (i.e. South Park, Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc.) had already been dragging the entire personage, idea, image, name, and work of Jesus Christ through the worse-than-mud for decades already, without so much as a lifting of the head by the Christian community, let alone the secular media. To curse Jesus is tolerance and hilarity; to curse Muhammad is hateful and subhuman. Of course, Christians haven’t responded to blasphemy with their own outcries of “We’ll burn your city and behead your children,” so perhaps that’s one reason we don’t make the news, but obviously it goes much deeper than that. There is such a natural belittling of Judeo-Christianity in our nation and society, not in spite of our deep roots in the American republic, but because of them. Forget the statistics: our nation is more godless than ever before, Christians are more bullied and hated than ever before, and for the most part we’ve accepted this abuse as our fate.
Second Timothy 3:12 promises persecution for those desiring to live godly lives, so we cannot be too surprised; but what ought to make us shake in our boots is that the vast majority of the vitriol thrown our way today comes not as a result of our godliness but rather our apathy. We’re a shallow, lazy, cowardly, victimized and silent people today, and we ought to confess this reality to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ immediately. Once that’s done and laid at His pierced and forgiving feet, we need to stand up for all that we claim to believe in and let the nation know that we simply won’t stand for this harassment any longer, whether it’s aimed at us or at our God. Our standing up must draw the attention of the world, for it’s the world whose been watching, listening, and learning to laugh at and make light of our God.