I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do it, so the little got more and more…
– Mr. Brownstone, Guns N’ Roses
There is obviously much to be said for the utile functions of religion in the personal and social scheme of things, whether one is religious or not. One facet that I think gets overlooked is the importance of taboo.
Every culture has their taboos. Every culture, that is, excepting post-1960’s radical revolution Western Civilization. After that tumultuous turn of events, any and all taboos were considered oppressive tools of imperialists, racist, white, male, Christian hegemons—and thus they all had to be destroyed. (Of course, new taboos were substituted in their place, such as saying the “n-word” or recognizing innate differences amongst the races, etc., but I’m talking behavioral taboos instead of linguistic taboos.)
Drug abuse. In utero infanticide (aka “abortion” aka “women’s health”). Marriage redefinition (aka “gay marriage” aka “marriage equality”). Commoditized pornography and vulgarity (aka “free speech”). The list is endless, but the point is singular: absolute self-indulgence, free of any restricting taboos.
One of the many particularly annoying characteristics of liberals is that they think they invented this sh*t. If they spent any time reading the one book they love to bash, they’d realize that the idea of creating a “culture” centered around complete and total self-indulgence is as old as human civilization.
And if they had faith, knowledge of history, or a capacity for critical reflection, they’d realize it seldom, if ever, ends well.
Perhaps one reason why a society free of taboos, particularly those centered around substance consumption and sexuality, is destined for ruin is that these things have dopaminergic effects. I.e., they’re addicting. And addiction means that, for many people, an incremental increase in stimulus is required to achieve the previous response, trending inevitably toward behavior that is clearly insane.
Simply put, removing such taboos leads the masses to unrestricted self-indulgence, which leads to overindulgence, which leads to ennui, which leads either to benign uselessness, or to self-destructive behavior in the pursuit of feeding the addiction—whether it be to drugs, sex, pornography, or the like.
Whether you believe in the “God stuff” behind the story of Sodom and Gomorrah or not, it shouldn’t matter. I would think that any honest person can at least acknowledge that there’s a possibility the story has resonated over some 3,500 years of human history for a reason.