Monday, March 26, 2012

Broken Families - Broken Lives

One can simply look around and see the mistrust in institutions today.  From religion to academics to politics, the institutions that formed the bedrock of the Great Experiment are now treated with scorn and contempt.  The only arbiter of truth is the individual, and even truth itself is subject to the whims of such.

To me the crisis of the family lies at the heart of the loss of religious and civic identity today.  The collapse of the family as an institution in the West is responsible for the widespread mistrust of those institutions that are necessary for the Republic to continue.

The family is the most basic unit of society.  And through the family the children learn about the basics of duty.  Duty to one's parents.  Duty to one's siblings.  They learn that life points to something outside themselves, and it is both normal and healthy to turn one's attention outward toward others rather than inward on themselves.

The family is an institution of the most intimate sort.  The institution which forms the view of a child at their most vulnerable stage.  It is the rock on which a child's sense of love and the importance of the practice of virtue is taught in the most intimate of ways.

Our culture has all but shattered this institution.  It has become the plaything of our worst desires.  Its dignity reduced to a mere contract, which can be terminated at any time for any reason.  It is no longer the expression of love. And the product of that love, children, are at best a burden and at worst a disease.  The institution is turned inward rather than outward.

To me then it is no surprise then that trust in other institutions is at an all time low.  Churches, government, media, and schools all have suffered from a lack of trust (a lot of it deserved).  The bond between citizen and government is broken, between student and teacher, between pastor and layman.  Without the foundation of trust in the most intimate of institutions the ability to form a bond with other institutions is greatly compromised.

Because of this lack of trust it naturally follows we as a society are less religious, less educated, less civic minded, and less sacrificial.  The discourse of such issues is not one of the exchange of ideas but of wounded people venting rage at one another.  And the cohesiveness that is needed for a society to survive is nonexistent.

As a people we need to relearn what true marriage and what true family is.  Until we recover the fundamental understanding of this most basic institution, we will continue to find ourselves at the mercy of our wounded nature.  And we will only continue to lash out at each other.

In order to heal these wounds, we must turn to God.  But that is a subject of another post.

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