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A Web of Our Illusions

“His folly shall not please him, and his trust shall be like the spider's web.” (Job 8.14)

 

The Myth of Man as Desperately Seeking God”



If the World Wide Web is any indication of our deepest desires, then consider the following snapshot taken in 2005 and 2007— when the web was beginning to really dominate many aspects of our lives. Youtube and Facebook had just arrived in 2005: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and Linked-in, etc. soon followed.

A simple search in the form of a one word query reveals a good deal more of the topography of the human condition than any statistical analysis of the numbers. It is a terrain mapped out with a very clearly defined epicenter — the human genitalia — and an equally clearly defined periphery: God.

Consider the following results from 8 such queries in Google in 2005 and 2007 — the numbers will have increased exponentially since:

sex:            2005: 350 million pages           /   2007: 783 million pages
gay:            2005: 128 million                     /   2007: 394 million
porn:           2005 90 million                       /   2007: 227 million
lesbian:       2005: 57 million                      /   2007: 185 million


God         2005: 129 million pages           / 2007: 516 million
Jesus:         2005: 49 million                      /  2007: 179 million
Bible:          2005: 46 million                      /  2007: 162 million
Catholic:     2005: 29 million                      /  2007:  974 million 
Protestant:  2005: 4-1/2 millon                 /  2007:  14-1/2 million                       
Jewish
:        2005: 32 million                    /  2007:  87 million


What does this mean?

Sex, in 2005, beat out God by 3 times, Jesus or the Bible by 7 times, and Catholic by 12 times; by 77 times for Protestant, and by 10 times for Jewish.

The figures for 2007 are roughly proportional although “sex” and “porn” increased 200% (doubled), and "gay" and “lesbian” increased by 300% (tripled). Consider the following statistics for 2007:

  • 127% more people were looking for porn than are looking for Jesus

  • 140% more people were looking for porn than are looking for the Bible

  • 150% more people were looking for sex than are looking for God

  • 200% more people were looking for gays than for Jesus

  • 500% more were looking for sex than are looking for the Bible

  • 700% more were looking for sex than are looking for Jesus

  • More people were looking for lesbians than for Jesus or the Bible


Do the math, and you arrive at a terribly dismaying conclusion that flies in the face of the optimistic but terribly naive perception that man is desperately seeking God.

Man, it would appear, by and large is not searching for God. He, she, are, with stunning alacrity, searching for each others genitals, or their own. I understand that this is not a polite conclusion. It is, however, the ineluctable conclusion. For its audacity, it is nevertheless politely put.

How can this be? Why is it so?


The Summum Bonum

God does not necessarily feel good. Sex does. To what, we must ask, are we constantly urged by our priests, our preachers, pastors, counselors, teachers, social workers? To feel good. It is the summum bonum. If “feeling good” is the highest good, then sex is the highest expression of the good.

Not God.

Perhaps it is better put in the form of a syllogism: Good is understood, not as a sentiment, still less as something moral, but as a feeling, a physical sensation.

  • All feeling is sensuous in nature.

  • Orgasm is the the consummate sensual experience.

  • It is therefore the consummate good.

In subtle, and in not so subtle ways, we acquire this, learn this, from our present hedonistic culture, and it is reinforced, wittingly in our classrooms, and unwittingly from our pulpits. It is our mantra: “God wants me to feel good.” From that premise we proceed through a very reasonable and syllogistic protocol to the conclusion that the notion of sin can in no way be predicated of the good as feeling. If it feels good, do it. After all, God wants me to feel good. Sex feels good. It cannot, then, under any circumstances be construed as not good (i.e. sinful), for it feels good.

The locus of the good — of the greatest good — then, ceases to be God, ceases to be extrinsic to ourselves; in fact, the locus becomes the very self — and the highest self-expression of the good as sensual (since the sensual is inextricable from the self) is, of course, sex.

I do not argue the point. It is quite unnecessary. We just need look at the Web of our creation ... and do the math. Postmodern man is not in search of God. He is in search of his own apotheosis, and it is, in a manner of speaking, within reach; should this not suffice, it is just a few keystrokes away.

This Web of our illusions is very revealing. It is an indictment of our reluctance, even our unwillingness, and hence our failure — a catastrophic failure — to articulate truth in the face of “correct” lies we have no wish to contend with. Our courage went the way of our conviction. And our conviction went the way of the world.

We spun the Web. Would to God that we behaved more as men ... than spiders.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal


   Printable PDF Version
 


A Reader's Responds:
 

I am neither frightened or intimidated by numbers. Facts within facts. Often the reality is something else... Regarding the statistics in your article, by and large I presume, that the pages on sex on the net are in some way presented towards a monetary gain ... in other words, the ruthless will do anything, use anyone, in any way in order to get money ... and sex means money! That really is the bottom line ... greed for money, and no doubt much is utilized on drugs.

Many of the sites are indicative of sick minds ... but how much on these sites is an enticement to spend money? All kinds of sexual medications, books, erotic films, etc. etc. sex toys ... all money and greed.

God on the other hand is not lucrative ... His love is free, by and large many people who run Christian websites get very little or no monetary return. There is the difference! What do you get from it...?

I am not impressed with numbers in the least; all through history, especially Christian history, it has often been the minority that was ultimately victorious! It has often been the remnant that turned the tide in history. We need only look to the influence one person can have on history: Christ Himself, St. Paul, St. Francis, St. Athanasius ... all fought against overwhelming opposition. It was often said of the early Church Father: "Athansius contra mundi", "Athansius against the world" ... and St. Athanasius prevailed!

To look at the statistics without the Spirit can be daunting and it reveals only part of the truth, I think.

What you have written is good and aimed to jolt us out of our complacency, but it is only one facet of the diamond of humanity.

We must not be discouraged by numbers. We must not let them frighten us.

Neither do I believe for one second that those who visit porn sites, and the like, are all motivated by evil and that such things are the breadth of their horizon. No! So many, so many, are lured into it ... many probably also have a longing for God and the whole battle is this: who will win? The flesh or the Spirit?

It is a sickness, as is any obsession with anything ... but neither is it, for many, the end of the journey. We awaken. Life passes on and other values come to matter.

I have never visited any of these sites and I don't want to, the ones I have been sent have been disguised in e-mail, or came to me through browser redirections in an innocent search. I just think it is pitiable to see little children, women used in such a degrading manner, its sick ... and for what? For money. Paying for flesh by the pound!

If it is true that many live for just cheap thrills in their bodies, if they truly do not want more, why do so many commit suicide, do drugs, because they are unable to face what they have fallen into ... God help them ...they know they should have been more, and that there was more, but they despaired through the greed and evil of others.

You may not agree with me, but its just how my heart responds to your editorial today.

We are enslaved as never before, to false idols ... we are witnessing in this time the fall, the moral collapse of a civilization ... we have to be reborn ... and I trust to God's work, to His love and mercy, and ultimately, to His victory over all these sad shadows.

SMB

Boston Catholic Journal

 

 



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