There’s something wrong with the world today,
I don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes.
We’re seeing things in a different way and God knows it ain’t his
Sure ain’t no surprise — “Livin’ on the Edge,” Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
In looking at the state of the world and in particular Western civilization, one can rightly state with certainty: something is wrong with the world today. In just the past month, I have come upon news articles containing stories that would be unheard of just 30 years ago. In Canada, there is a persecution by the Canadian Human Rights Commission of the magazine Catholic Insight for presenting material deemed offensive to homosexuals. In Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a second grade boy is going to be allowed by the school board to dress in girls clothing because “an expert” from the TransYouth Family Advocates agency says that “children as young as 5 years old are realizing their true gender identity.” And let’s not forget New York, where in celebration of (Saint) Valentine’s Day, the Department of Health and Mental (read: Imaginative) Hygiene are distributing millions of condoms, “featuring a colorful and sexy message, ‘Get Some.'” (Last year 36 million condoms were distributed; the next day there were reports of 72 million broken hearts.) Something’s dead wrong with the world and so many can’t exactly put their finger on it. They go about living their lives, thinking that this is “just the way life is.” They feel as if life is simply one endless pursuit after another, trapped in the rat race that never seems to fulfill, while many good Christians appear clueless as to how to reach a culture that is so foreign to the one that they find in the Sunday service.
What has happened? We have become blind to the Truth.
To use an analogy, I would like to pull from one of my all-time favorite movies, “The Matrix.” (If you haven’t seen it, do so, but with two caveats: a) there are many Gnostic type themes that we have to use our “Catholic Sensors” to detect and b) ignore the succeeding movies, because Christianity is pretty much stripped entirely from the films). In the scene described below, Neo (the main character) is having his first encounter with Morpheus, the one who is to show him the truth about the Matrix, the world Neo has been living in:
Morpheus: You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth… Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something; what you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your whole life. Like there’s something wrong with the world. But it’s there, like a splinter that is driving you mad. It is this feeling that is driving you mad. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The matrix?
Morpheus: The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room… It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth…
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you can’t smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind… Unfortunately, no one can be told… you have to see it for yourself.
The Matrix is similar to the world in which we live. We are definitely not seeing things the way God does and we need to wake up, fast. The wool has been pulled over our eyes keeping us slaves to the way we perceive the world. From the pornification of images to the reclassification of genders to the wide-scale creation and destruction of human embryos, the world has gone mad. The fact that these attacks against the dignity of the human person are readily becoming “rights” and enshrined in law is only the tip of the iceberg.
The problems are large, complex, and cannot be completely diagnosed here. But the beginning of the solution lies with rediscovering (or perhaps discovering for the first time) the full, unadulterated Truth. Like Neo, who, when going through a transformation from an old way of living to “the real,” experienced much pain in coming to know the truth, we too must enter into the real life with Christ if we are going to be able to see the truth. And this can sometimes be a rude awakening.
What am I driving at? In a nutshell: The truth is only found in discovering the Divine Vision. What is this? In essence, it is seeing the world as God created it. Just like when Adam and Eve saw each other for the first time in truth and had a profound experience of the mystery of God, by letting Christ transform our vision, we will be able to slowly recover this beautiful vision of life and, more importantly, live in a way that truly fulfills.
To further quote “Livin’ on the Edge:”
There’s something wrong with the world today and everyone knows it’s wrong;
We could tell ’em no, or we could let it go; but I would rather be hangin’ on.
Something is wrong with the world indeed, but we can’t fool people into thinking otherwise, or let it go while millions are enslaved to lies, or simply “hang on,” for we are called to be human beings fully alive (to paraphrase St. Irenaeus). We have to recover the sense of the sacred in all of creation and come to see life as God desires or we will not be able to answer any of the offenses against the dignity of the human person. It’s not an easy task but, as Christ teaches, all of the pains of having the scales removed will be worth it.