There are Only Two Sacred Things.
We live in a society with an endless list of items that are said to be sacrosanct.
- Gun Rights
- The Pursuit of Happiness
- Religious Freedom
- Free Speech
The list goes on and on.
None of these are intrinsically sacred. If any one of them is in fact sacred, its sanctity is derived, in some way, from one of two sources: love and truth. These are the wellsprings from which all things sacred flow. Any concept, creed, philosophy, religion or other category that is not grounded in love, truth or both is not sacred. It’s not always easy to identify or explain how something is fundamentally rooted in truth or love, but it’s often very easy to see when something is not linked to those sacred origins.
Obstacles to Illumination
Love and truth are both concepts of infinity. Love, in its most perfect form, knows no bounds. It is not limited by race, species or geography. Likewise, perfect truth (omniscience) entails knowledge of everything. The quest for truth entails navigating the treacherous obstacle course of deception, bias and ignorance. Love is also stifled by those same obstacles.
When something is considered sacred, it is protected, sometimes even from merely being talked about. Let’s examine the religion of Islam. In October of 2014, Sam Harris (philosopher & neuroscientist) and celebrity Ben Affleck got into a heated exchange on Real Time With Bill Maher. Harris criticized the doctrine (not the people) of Islam, which gravely offended Affleck, who characterized Harris’ points as racist (it must be noted that religions are not races).
In the twenty-first century, religion is considered more sacred than pretty much anything. Affleck’s rage was stoked by Harris’ objective intellectual assessment of the Muslim faith. Affleck did not believe Harris had the right to pull at the sacred thread of Islam. Affleck’s unprovoked hostility is a symptom of the progressive left’s crippling fear of offending anyone. The right are just as militant in their protection of the sacred. Any criticism labeled at Christian doctrine or tradition will be met with truckloads of hate mail from angry Fox News viewers.
Sanctity is a barrier. It stifles dialogue and prohibits questions. Many Americans claim that marriage is a sacred institution, consecrated by God in the garden of Eden. This obviously puts a constraint on love, since committed LGBTQ+ couples are prevented from expressing their devotion to one another and marriage’s ‘sacred’ label allows bigoted Christians to spit on the ‘descendants of Sodom.’ It also puts a constraint on truth. The reality is that there was no literal garden of Eden. Christian scholars don’t even contest that point. Furthermore, defenders of marriage often concoct deceptive and unfounded arguments that paint alternative families as dangerous to children. These same defenders don’t seem to be concerned with America’s 50% divorce rate though.
Note: The church burning in this picture is a metaphorical representation of intellectual desecration. Physical acts of violence are illegal, immoral and counterproductive to the mission of the perpetrator. Please don’t ever commit such acts.
Desecration Conjures Illumination
An old cliche holds true here: too much of anything is bad. When every concept on earth is considered sacred, too many unnecessary barriers to truth and love are erected. The defeat of orthodoxy and the continuation of positive societal progress requires that people courageously blaspheme against ideas and beliefs that have been incorrectly, and sometimes tragically, labeled as sacred.
Lacing their acts with vulgarity and profane imagery, comedians are some of the most prolific and effective desecrators. One comic has taken the theatrical defilement of sacred institutions to a whole new level. Sasha Baron Cohen’s ingenious comedy starts out with the premise that nothing is sacred. From there, Cohen takes his audience to places that many comics wouldn’t dare to. Part of what makes Cohen’s act so brilliant is the way that he highlights the ridiculous constrains that society foists on itself, due to the endless list of sacred things that are supposed to be revered. While desecration doesn’t mandate elaborate showmanship, it is more fun to watch when there’s a little drama involved.
Let’s examine a few big names on the ‘dubious sacred’ list. One cannot talk about desecration without referring to religion. Religion, like anything else, must be desecrated when its practice hinders the growth of truth and love. For example, Mormonism didn’t allow blacks into their congregation until 1978. This ‘divine revelation’ from the church’s president was a consequence of nationwide condemnation. The non-Mormon public viewed the church as disgustingly backward. That moved the needle in the direction of societal progress. Desecration doesn’t consist of an animal sacrifice on a church altar (please don’t do that). Rather desecration, in this context, refers to forcibly removing the sacrosanct label from a sacred fraud. It’s an intellectual and emotional process, not a physical one. That’s what happened with the Mormon church.
Diversity has become a sacred concept in our society. Anyone who questions the societal merits of diversity will be justifiably suspected of harboring racist or xenophobic views. I believe that diversity is a direct descendant of truth and love. America has always been comprised and enriched by immigrants and it is that tapestry of backgrounds that makes America special. Unfortunately, the pathological fear of offending others has grown right alongside noble efforts to empower diversity. I’m of course referring to the rise of identity politics and political correctness. This distorts truth and strangles love through its artificial manipulation of human conduct. One can question the effectiveness of affirmative action without harboring content for the people A.A. supposedly helps.
It is not possible to exist without being offended. Progressives have taken this concept to comical levels. The word ‘tranny’ was used in the the 1990s and 2000s as a non-pejorative nickname for a transvestite. However, it was considered offensive by 2010. ‘Slut’ is another word that liberals are claiming to be heinous. I’m sorry, but there are bigger fish to fry than this pettiness. This ridiculous charade doesn’t prevent conflict, it manufactures it. Most ordinary folks find it challenging to constantly police themselves with the ever-changing list of acceptable and prohibited colloquial terms. Who knows what the latest progressive amendments will be to acceptable speech? Overuse of sacred labels exists on both sides of the political spectrum. Ridiculous notions of political correctness like this need to be desecrated just like gun activists’ thirst for bloodshed does. However, the latter is far worse than the former.
Stick to the Truth (and Love)
Americans’ level of entitlement has reached a historic high. Technology has made instant gratification an order qualifier instead of an order winner. Consumers love freedom and indulgence so much that the country now faces a public health crisis in the form of obesity and heart disease. Along with everything else, Americans still feel entitled to label everything and their dog as sacred. Love is sacred and truth is sacred. Everything that doesn’t come from those two principles needs to be desecrated. Out of the fires of intellectual warfare, the phoenix of enlightenment will rise from the ashes.