The evils in our world are many and grievous. Sin has terribly damaged and distorted human beings, and in every country all sorts of terrible things occur on a daily basis.
It seems to me, however, that Western society is unusual in the extent of its arrogance and hypocrisy. Western commentators are forever criticising other parts of the world for various things, while ignoring the terrible evils that go on in their own countries. I doubt whether the rest of the world is quite so arrogant or hypocritical in its attitude.
That is not to say that criticising non-Western countries is always inappropriate. Far from it. There are certainly some ways in which the West is more in line with God’s will than other countries. And it is not wrong to criticise things that He disapproves of.
It is just so hypocritical when Western commentators look down on and judge other countries, when there is so much evil in the West, and when some evils are especially common here.
Take the mainstream Western attitude to homosexuality, for example. The West has got things all wrong in this area. If a man wants to have sex with a man, or a woman with a woman, something has obviously gone wrong. That is obviously not the way human beings are designed. Yet in Western countries we are constantly bombarded with information telling us that homosexual orientation is something normal that you should put into practice if you want to.
Of course, we all have things wrong with us, morally and otherwise. So anyone who is not affected by homosexual orientation is being a hypocrite if they look down on someone who is affected by it. The typical Western attitude to people with homosexual orientation of some decades ago – condescension and despisal – was a disgraceful one. Yet the typical attitude today is disgraceful for a very different reason. Something that is obviously outside God’s created order is said to be normal and appropriate.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans he refers to people suppressing the truth that they know about God (Romans 1:18). The Western attitude to homosexuality surely involves a lot of suppressing truth. In their minds people may think of reasons for saying that homosexual orientation is not abnormal and that homosexual practice is not immoral, but deep down their consciences are unclear and they know that these reasons aren’t convincing. There may be a few people who are so deceived that they genuinely believe that homosexuality fits with the way God made people, but if so, they are surely a small minority.
So-called 'gay marriage'
The sin of the West on this issue doesn’t stop at merely encouraging people to practise homosexuality, however. Many Western countries have gone further and have changed the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.
We should be crystal clear that the offence to God in this is enormous. It essentially involves taking God’s blueprints for humanity, tearing them up and making new, supposedly better ones instead. Playing God like this is a terrible thing to do.
Teaching children to approve of homosexual practice
The sins of Western society regarding homosexuality go even further than this, however. Not only do mainstream Westerners practise and encourage this evil, and not only have they dared to play God by redefining marriage, but they also teach children to approve of these awful things.
Children are almost by definition vulnerable people. They don’t have the wisdom to discern good from evil in the way that adults can. Therefore, adults should look out for and protect them. Any responsible adult who is caring for children should want to protect them from the promotion of homosexuality.
Yet mainstream Westerners teach children that homosexual practice is not wrong. And in some Western countries they are even trying to stop parents teaching their own children that it is wrong. This is absolutely outrageous and nothing other than a form of child abuse.
Anyone who has anything to do with practising or promoting homosexual acts, or redefining marriage, or teaching children what is evil is acting appallingly badly.
Yet many of those who do these despicable things then have the nerve to arrogantly judge people in other countries. And in many respects these other people are more upright than those in the West. It is scandalous.
Damaging the health of children
There are other forms of child abuse that are widely tolerated in modern Western culture too.
For example, here in the
each year there
are over 100,000 occasions when children need medical treatment for breathing
the second-hand smoke of smokers. Yet society tolerates this without much
objection. It is rarely in the news. UK
Anti-smoking groups know that they face a huge challenge on this issue, because the parents, and others, who commit this evil are not willing to change.
If those who do this were to decide that they would put the interests of their own children above their own interests, this problem could be virtually solved overnight. It is very easy to go outside to smoke if you have children in the home.
Yet many parents and guardians are more interested in avoiding a minor inconvenience than in looking after their own children. This is appalling selfishness.
Adultery affecting children
Let’s think too about adultery. This is an awful thing in many ways, but let’s consider how it affects children.
It is well known that children often suffer terribly when their parents split up. It is well known too that often, when someone begins an affair, their intention is not to leave their husband or wife, but that later they do end up leaving, causing great pain to their families. They know the risks to their families involved in having an affair, but they go ahead with it anyway.
In many countries adultery is properly seen as a terrible evil. Contrast that with the attitude in the West. Those Westerners who condemn it as a heinous thing are few in number. Most would see it as a minor vice or a bit worse than that. And many would say it is not even an evil at all, but just one of those things that happens that isn’t anybody’s fault.
None of this makes sense. Who do people think they are kidding? Quite apart from the direct offence to God involved in committing adultery, to risk getting into a situation where you break up your family, causing them terrible suffering, is a despicable thing to do. To actually go ahead and abandon your family for another man or woman is even worse. Even to abandon your spouse and take the children with you is a dreadful evil.
If someone leaves their spouse, causing great suffering, what is the penalty for this in the West? It is not a criminal offence. Nor are people often socially excluded from anything. Nor do they usually have to pay any real price. Yet the suffering of children (and rejected husbands and wives) caused by adultery goes on, their visits to psychiatrists continue to be numerous and their suicide tally adds up.
If people in Western countries just chose to put the interests of children above their own, things would become radically different in this area overnight. Yet people refuse to do this. They continue to commit adultery, to joke about it, to abandon their families and cause untold suffering. And then to cap it all, many of those who do this judge the rest of the world and encourage politicians to preach the values of the West to other countries. The hypocrisy and arrogance of this are almost tangible.
The judgment of God
No one is going to get away with any of the things that I have mentioned in this article, or with the many other evils that people apparently do with impunity. There will be a Judgment Day. It will happen. And anyone who has not found the escape route in Jesus Christ will be punished with the utmost severity.
People need to turn away from their sins and accept the forgiveness that comes through faith in Christ. That is what I myself have done. In no way am I writing from some imagined position of superiority. I am saved by the mercy of God.
However, if people refuse to repent, then it is good that they will be punished after death. Personally, I wouldn’t want to worship a God who just turned a blind eye to the awful things that go on. There really are no words to describe the magnitude of the evil in our world, and Westerners are major culprits in this.
If you are a Christian reading this article, don’t be deceived into thinking that today God is especially on the side of any Western countries or that any of them can be considered Christian countries.
I don’t believe it has ever been right to describe any Western countries as Christian, although we can say that in times past they were heavily influenced by the Christian faith. Those days, however, are long gone.
If you are a Christian today living in a Western country, you are living in a foreign land and heaven is your home (Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). Take care that you don’t share in the sins of the foreign country where you live.
If you are a non-Christian reading this, make sure that you take up God’s offer of forgiveness before it is too late. God will judge people after death, He will send most people to hell, and the punishment will be severe, everlasting and thoroughly deserved.
The wonder is that despite all our evil, Jesus, in His love, has paid the price on the cross so that we can be forgiven, undeserving though we are. Take hold of that offer of forgiveness at once. Today could be your last day on this earth.