Social identity -
and the need to discipline its associated behavior

(September 9, 2022)

The human creature is a creatively flawed creature … requiring the kinds of social discipline that come more naturally to the rest of the animal species.  Dogs naturally do dog things.  Elephants naturally do elephant things.  Hornets naturally do hornet things.  Their behavior is deeply proscribed by their DNA.

But we humans have enormous freedom to pick and chose how we want to behave as humans.  But if that freedom to choose is not brought under proper social discipline (clearly outlined for us by God in His Holy Scripture) almost anything imaginable is likely to occur in terms of our behavior.

Thus it is that the disciplines of family life (not Government programming coming from some distant palace!) are of critical importance in getting a person started off right in life.  Unfortunately, early family upbringing does not automatically prove to be the blessing that it is supposed to be.  Tragic and cruel things can happen … and impact our behavior deeply.

But it is not just family foundations that are key to the developmental dynamic - though certainly they are the most important of all in this dynamic.  Some of our identities are derived by birth … principally sex and race (about which honestly we have no choice … no matter what "progressive" society is spinning as a new realm of identity possibilities).   Our identities are then shaped further on the basis of a subsequent development of our identities as members of a particular tribe or nation, religion, social class, etc. 

But how that identity develops is critical … for it can lead to true blessings – or a horribly troubled existence.  For instance, we can identify as Whites, without necessarily feeling it is our social obligation to hate Blacks (or other "Non-Whites").  But then, depending on choices we make along life's way, we can become bitter racists.  America has suffered horribly from such racism. 

The same holds true for Blacks.  Your Black identity does not require you to affirm that identity by hating Whites … although that seems to be a popular route to go down these days.

Now we are finding sexual identities a matter of great debate … an increasingly divisive political matter – as well as a matter of some personal turmoil.  Sexual issues are hardly new … although never before in history – at least modern history – has this been as contentious a matter as it is today. 

Americans (and members of Western society in general … in fact most all societies) have long supposed that the masculinity and femininity that you are born with is a matter that will need some proper social development … especially masculine behavior which seems to need more structuring in its development than that required of feminine development (which seems to mature more naturally).  It is hardly a wonder that our prisons are full of men rather than women.  It is hardly surprising that it is male gangs rather than female gangs that rattle the peace of our societies.

That's why sports and scouting were first cultivated among young men as an instrument of male development (to learn to live by the rules … and to take no joy in a game won by cheating).  It's why military service once used to be offered as an alternative to prison … a very good idea because military service brings a very unsocial young man under life-affirming discipline … whereas prison is famous for only making the young man's behavior much, much worse.

We have confused "freedom" as doing whatever you feel like doing by way of impulse … rather than as a way of doing carefully cultivated and thus socially profitable acts that bring blessings to human life (the full freedom to learn to work a job, raise a family, and support the strength and health of local society).  Consequently, divorce, rising crime rates – and sexual "deviation" … even sexual confusion – have increased as this misunderstanding about the true character of human "freedom" has dug more deeply into modern society.  All of this is simply summed up in God's Word as sin.

Even more tragically … I see no way that more Human Reason will ever bring us out of this social nose dive.  Reason (lawyer style) is used to justify behavior (bad as well as good) rather than discipline it.   

And thus it is that clever Reason itself has blinded us as to what is truly good and necessary for human life to continue to develop.  Instead, I see a society headed downward rapidly in its political, social, and moral divisiveness … well rationalized by the spokesmen for the contending parties.

We have arrived at a point where we need Divine Rescue … not more Human Reason and its clever way of justifying almost any kind of behavior. 

We've been here before … tragically.  But God has delivered us from such Rational folly before (our several "Great Awakenings").  And Heaven knows, we sure could use some Divine intervention today … before all this Rational debate weakens and ultimately destroys us as a society. 

Maranatha!

 

  Miles H. Hodges