As a child growing up in South Africa, National Geographic magazine was not just something to pick up idly in the dentist’s waiting room. It was a monthly magic carpet ride that enchanted me so much that a subscription bringing that familiar yellow cover to our mailbox each month was one of my favorite birthday presents.
It wasn’t only the spectacular photography of faraway places, it was also the advertisements. In my mind’s eye, I still clearly see that rapturous red 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air. There were intoxicating ads for cameras carrying names like Leica and Haselblad that I could but dream about. There were pictures of housewives in American kitchens that I gazed at in wonder.
Mostly, however, the magazine sparked my life-long love for travel and appreciation of scientific exploration. It taught me that wherever in this big, colorful world they were, humans want pretty much the same things. From icy landscapes to the Sahara Desert, from mountain top communities to valley villages, people try to build families and make it possible for their families to thrive.
I haven’t looked at the magazine for years now, so I was quite shocked by a recent issue of National Geographic. Its cover carried a picture of a boy dressed to look like a girl and bellowed out GENDER REVOLUTION. Huh? In National Geographic? Really?
I know of course that, prodded by secular fundamentalists in academia, politics and entertainment, American culture is trying to indoctrinate us into accepting that gender is of no significance. But why is joining this nonsensical crusade important enough for NatGeo to risk destroying a 125 year legacy?
The colossal cultural canyon cutting across this country divides those who believe the Bible is God’s Message to mankind from those who believe it to be no more than a repressive anachronism. Those who soothingly concede it to be a ‘literary masterpiece’ are actually on the latter side of the debate. Since the Bible is best defined as God’s depiction of how the world REALLY works, the debate underpinning nearly all political and cultural arguments can be defined this way. One side believes that there is a reality that includes many unchangeables, immutably implanted in human nature, while the other side insists that all can be changed.
Naturally, for the secular fundamentalist, if God is not the Ultimate Power, then human beings must be. Furthermore, anything the Bible decrees, is by definition wrong if not actually evil. This helps explain seeming paradoxes such as that most people who oppose the death penalty also support abortion. The explanation is simple; the Bible supports capital punishment and opposes abortion.
The irrational cultural fury against smoking is explained by the desire to demonstrate moral virtue by discovering a secular sin. The Bible prohibits suicide and discourages all activities that damage the body though it does not explicitly prohibit smoking. Not surprisingly, a secular fundamentalist culture encourages euthanasia (or assisted suicide), but fiercely fights tobacco.
Rejection of reality is a paramount characteristic of the belief system that I call secular fundamentalism. Anyone with eyes in their head (and without an advanced degree) knows that the nuclear family unit works best. Not only does it produce the best children and future citizens but it promotes societal stability and prosperity. But the Bible advocates for the basic unit of society to be a man and woman united in monogamous marriage along with the children they raise. Therefore, the obvious position for secular fundamentalism to adopt is implacable hostility toward the traditional family.
Again, most people whose souls haven’t been scarred by six or seven years in a university know that all of history but particularly the recent 20th century proves that large government running a centrally controlled economy doesn’t work. But secular fundamentalism routinely rejects reality. What is more, the Bible teaches a system of religious morality informing a free market system of what I call ethical capitalism. Thus it is inescapable that a secular fundamentalist culture must promote a progressive agenda tending to socialism.
Finally, and most importantly, the Bible entirely ignores skin color as a distinction between humans but no more than only three hundred words into its total of nearly half a million words, it unequivocally establishes male and female genders as the fundamental difference in humans. Male and female He created them. Naturally, secular fundamentalism has to take the opposite position. Defiantly screaming “Gender Revolution” is secular fundamentalism’s response to the Biblical, “Whoever is for the Lord, come with me” (Exodus 32:26)
Thank you National Geographic. You always teach me something. While you were still faithful to your original stated mission, “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” you taught me about world geography. Now that you have abandoned that mission in the hope of being admired by the world of secular fundamentalism, your recent issue helps me understand that almost all of so-called modern culture is based on rejection of the Bible and its values.
This means that much of modern culture is based on rejection of reality. Succumbing to this culture of secular fundamentalism that permeates almost every corner of our environment can disconnect us from our instinctive tie to reality. This will almost certainly inflict real damage upon our relationships and upon our finances. Meanwhile, a reliable anchor to reality remains the Bible. The more of it we absorb and the more clearly we grasp its inner meaning, the more firmly will be our link to reality and the more reliable and effective will be our actions and pronouncements.
Societies do fail. History is full of examples and Genesis lays out the steps that led to the first such failure at the time of the Flood. Much is obscured by an English reading. I recommend that you avail yourself of the benefits from the insights of ancient Jewish wisdom. You will be better prepared to confront the realities of today’s challenges if you learn this section thoroughly. You can do so with The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah, a 2 audio CD set. Both the download and physical versions are on sale this week making it an appropriate time to begin your study.