Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana—The Life of Reason
All that is not eternal is eternally out of date. C.S. Lewis
Back in the Empty Glass series, we talked about three ways of learning. There is experience, or making your own mistakes and learning from them. Then there is wisdom, which is learning from someone else’s mistakes so as not to repeat them. And then there is common sense, which is collective wisdom that has taken root in a population.
Looking at this progression, it is easy to see that common sense is a product of people building upon what has gone before. It is the sum of the mistakes and the corrections of previous generations. It would logically follow, then, that to employ common sense in one’s reasoning, one must look backwards to history.
Nevertheless, our culture inexplicably does not seem to value this type of reasoning anymore. The so-called “progressive” ideology dictates that everything that exists must be changed in the name of moving “forward.” Whether it was working well or not is immaterial.
But common sense declares that if you have made a wrong turn, forward is not your best option. To get back on the road you want to be on, you’ll have to go backwards until you reach the spot where you made the wrong turn. THEN go forward.
Obviously, you can’t go forward and backwards at the same time. Therefore, by completely ignoring (or worse yet, attempting to modify) history, a “progressive” mentality completely precludes any potential for common sense to be employed. This makes failure a virtual certainty.
The primary reason that Truth Mission exists is to declare war on this intellectual futility.
Truthseekers proclaim God and His Word as the source of all Truth, which is unchanging and applies equally to all people in all situations. Truth never fails, because God never fails.
Understanding this, it then becomes clear why Christians look to the Bible for answers when life poses difficult questions. The Bible has an example for nearly any situation we can encounter in terms of which strategies work and which ones don’t. Because the Bible is the ultimate source of correction, it will always improve our situation if we heed that correction.
More importantly, however, because God’s Word is eternal and unchanging, the lessons to be learned therein will always have value, regardless of the circumstances of the world or our individual situations.
ETERNAL DN= OUT OF DATE
As we have already noted, one cannot go backwards and forward at the same time. Therefore, anyone obsessed with moving forward at all costs misses the opportunity for the course correction that only history and Truth can provide.
Since one with such a worldview only sees the Bible as a musty old book, and not God’s eternal Truth, the further “forward” they go, the smaller Truth becomes in their rearview mirror. Since they consider everything behind them “out-of-date,” then the Truth and all who proclaim it become, in their minds, “backwards.”
So forward they go, until inevitably, they find a tree in their path, yielding the all-too-predictable result. Busted face notwithstanding, their pride remains intact, since that was what led them forward in the first place.
In the absence of the common sense that has been left behind, this pride initiates the blame game by rationalizing: “I am superior to the backwards thinkers, yet I have a busted face. Those to whom I am superior do not have busted faces; therefore, it must be their fault that my face is busted. Indeed, they are likely the ones who planted this tree to prevent me from going forward. I should have the freedom to walk wherever I choose without having to worry about my face being busted!”
(So what’s the problem with freedom of choice? Come back for Part 12–Civil Liberties)