Is Anything ‘Sacrilegious’ Anymore?
In today's secular society, there seems no limit to the mockery of what so many faithful hold dear
Sacrilege is the violation of anything that is sacred or held sacred. It is the defilement of something holy. But it seems difficult to describe any current act as sacrilegious these days — since so little seems to be held sacred.
Anything vile can now be written off as humorous. Profanity, filth, and disrespect are used in an effort to make mediocre entertainment more cutting-edge. The perception is that offense is only taken by the overly religious, prudent, or conservative. Irreverence is now synonymous with creativity.
“What God has brought together, let no one put asunder.”
It’s really nothing new. Religion has been mocked since Satan, disguised as a serpent, first questioned God’s instructions in the Garden of Eden. However, the combination of anti-Christian hostility and the overly sensitive, politically correct culture begs the question: What is sacred anymore? Is anything still divine enough to be worthy of respect? Is anything consecrated? Or is the idea of faith so old-fashioned that it should be swept aside for progressive, modern thought?
Certainly the argument has been made that marriage is sacred. It is, after all, referred to as the sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the Catholic Church, with the common ceremonial words, “What God has brought together, let no one put asunder.” But the Supreme Court redefined marriage. So any attempt to hold to traditional marriage is vilified by many as intolerant.
Life is held sacred, unless it becomes burdensome on others. Instead, choice is considered sacred. Unless, of course, it is a choice for life.
What about the actual symbols and ceremonies of religious beliefs? Is the Bible, believed by Christians to be the Word of God, sacred? What about Holy Communion? The celebration of Christmas and Easter? Do any of these hold a place above ridicule?
This year, Ash Wednesday was modernized with “Glitter Ash” used in support of LGBTQ rights. Pop music has often pushed the limits of sacrilege since the days of Madonna and Ozzie Osbourne, but now the lyrics of country music songs like “H.O.L.Y” and “My Church” make cheapen the act of worship in attempt to write a catchy hook. Skits and comedies mock the holy sacraments, and the list goes on and on.
The irony is that while religious conviction is often the object of derision by modern culture, the culture dictates that its own ideology be treated with the utmost awe. Gender affiliation, or lack thereof, cannot be questioned. Universal h health care is a right. Equal opportunity must be given to everyone as long as those individuals fit with the agenda.
The truth is, sacred is in the eye — and heart — of the beholder. What a person respects is what he or she holds sacred. Jesus says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If the worship of the environment is the calling of one’s heart, then he or she will hold little regard for anything other than the risk of global warming. The same can be said of one’s love for career, technology, education, or any other cause. What the heart loves is what the heart worships.
With that kind of imbalance — even idolatry — there is the real danger to hold nothing that is truly worthy of worship as sacred. And if nothing is sacred — then all is lost. If there is no foundation of faith in the Almighty God, then there is no regard for His creation or plan. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Apart from God, there can be no wisdom or understanding. The heart has no truth to hold to, no course to follow.
Instead, there is an endless list of causes. Yet they offer no fulfillment, no opportunity for peace. There is a need to condone anything as long as it has no boundaries. But the moment an emotional “safe space” is encroached on or opinions are challenged — the tolerance demanded is no longer offered.
It is as if God is not “hip” enough to be worthy of respect. As if salvation is not needed, and His power is not enough to impress. As if the personal, prideful view of what is sacred can dissolve the might of God.
Katie Nations, a working mother of three young children, lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.