What My Computer Taught Me About Progressivism

I learned a valuable lesson the other day when I updated the software on my computer. I believe it is a modern-day parable of what is going on in our state and nation, a striking parallel to a situation about which the biblical prophets warned Judah. They didn’t listen. I hope we will.

This week I took an hour away from productive work on my computer to upload the latest operating system, thinking that the extra speed and functionality would be worth the “lost” time. But when I re-launched a video recording program, the program would no longer recognize my internal camera.

After an hour of trying to troubleshoot, I gave up. I’ll now spend an hour or more standing at a help desk trying to get fixed what was not broken when I decided to “upgrade” to the “latest thing.”

And in that moment, I realized that my experience in the technological world is nothing more than what in culture we now call “progressivism.”

The Parallels

Who needs an out-of-date Constitution when judges can “breathe” into it life that it better fits our more modern, progressive, view of man, government, religion, and the world?

Who needs to “restrict” marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman now that we’ve progressed in our understanding that “love” has no “boundaries?”

Why do we need boundaries to “love” when the progress of the “sexual revolution” has taught us that sexual acts are the sum total of what it means to “love”?

Why do we need an understanding of true love or a definition of marriage now that we understand that our existential existence requires us to “actualize” ourselves and to heck with others who just need to actualize themselves?

Why would we think that children need both a mom and a dad now that progressive government can provide agencies to do the job, leaving the sperm and egg donors to pursue their existential self-awareness?

Why do we need to stay committed to the spouse of our youth when there is an upgraded and perhaps surgically enhanced version so readily available?

And in the church, why do “preachers” need to talk about “sin” now that our progressive understanding of the human psyche tells us that there is no true moral guilt before a Holy God, only guilt feelings brought about by the patriarchal, sexually repressed society of the “dark ages?”

And, really, why do we even need to talk about God now that our scientific progress allows us to manipulate practically everything through our own ingenious devices?

The Problem

To these questions, the word of the prophet Jeremiah came to me, and with great alarm, because what the prophet said would happen to Judah did, in fact, happen:

They have lied about the Lord, and said, “He is not; misfortune will not come on us; and we will not see sword or famine” (Jeremiah 5:12 NASB).

They have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, and not on a highway (Jeremiah 18:15 NASB).

These words came to an ancient people and nation that “progressed” beyond the antiquated ways of their forefathers and embraced the ways of the world around them.

Past As Prologue?

I know it’s not very progressive to say this, but our situation in America seems eerily the same. We have progressed beyond the sacred words of those flaming pulpits of the Second Great Awakening that stirred the flame of liberty upon which our nation was forged. We, like Judah, have “stumbled from the ancient paths” upon which our journey to greatness began. We have “lied” to ourselves and said that “misfortune will not come on us.”

Unpleasant thoughts, I know, particularly in a culture that has made pleasure its god. But perhaps we would do well to ponder them, because I can’t help but wonder when all our “progress” comes to an end, if we’ll find that, like my computer with its upgraded software, we just don’t function right any more.