When Evil is Cool (Guinness)

It’s no secret that our culture’s leading and loudest voices refuse to call evil what it is. Killing a baby in the womb is called a choice. Hostile rioting and violent looting are called protesting. Sexual sins are called rights. Vicious and murderous words on social media are called freedom of speech. And the list goes on.

There are many reasons why people today will not call evil what it is. Some don’t believe in objective right and wrong. Some are afraid of offending others and losing popularity and/or votes. Some just don’t care either way. Another reason “evil” is not our cultural vocabulary is because of the slow but steady moral decay we’re experiencing. Os Guinness describes this quite well in chapter 9 of Unspeakable. [I do want to note that although the following quote is quite critical, Guinness does also focus on the postitive in this book and gives Christians a biblical way to respond to evil.] The section of the chapter where this quote appears is called “When Evil Is Cool.”

…Radical idea by radical idea, violent film by violent film, explicit song by explicit song, brutal video game by brutal video game, edgy cable show by edgy cable show, and shameless scandal by shameless scandal, the momentum grows and the binding forces concentrate. What was once unimaginable becomes thinkable and then fashionable. What used to be abnormal is now normal. Where we were shocked, we are now indifferent. What started as soft-core became hard-core. Where before the definition of deviancy slowly became more limited, now, in the mad scramble for ratings and market share, there is an all-out race for the bottom in the name of the ‘daring’ and the ‘edgy’ – which always turns out to be the violent, the vulgar, the explicit, and the tasteless.

Each transgression builds on the last one and binds us to the next one. To break off at any point is to cast everything up to that point in a bad light, so each transgression serves as the permission and the dare to press on to the next. The result is an entire society following the addict’s piecemeal slide into bondage and a civilization’s descent into decay…”

Os Guinness, Unspeakable, p. 104.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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