The other day a friend of mine posted something on social media stating that she would rather have a world full of potheads than alcoholics. Now, I know her, and I know why she has such a negative association with alcohol. I also know that her issue is more with drunk driving than simply alcohol, because the same instance which created that negative association for her, affected me as well. Maybe not to the same extent, but I get the association.
I commented on the post, stating the following; “I’d rather have a world full of people who embrace life fully, to the point where no one felt the need to turn to any form of recreational substances at all to ‘escape’ or ‘feel alive’.” Of course, I was attempting to be understanding.
Being that I work at an alcohol and substance rehabilitation facility, I know that most people who turn to recreational substances typically do so as a coping mechanism to deal with an issue or multiple issues in their lives. It was not a judgmental statement, condemning those who do partake in recreational substances. I wasn’t attempting to pick a fight and I am sure my friend knows me well enough to know that wasn’t my intention.
But not all of her friends know me. In fact, one person commented after me; “I’d rather have a world where people didn’t think the recreation of others was any of their business.”
This statement hurts my soul. Not in a sense of anger or offense, but in a sense of sadness. Not that I feel personally attacked by the statement, for it does not bother me if people disagree with me, even if to the extent of insulting me for my views. It bothers me because of the heart condition behind that statement. And I bet there are a lot of people who feel the same way she does.
Why does it hurt my soul? Because of a simple word called community. What happen to the concept of community? It has been said before that it takes an entire village to raise a child. Of course, that assumes the concept of community is still prevalent. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. In today’s society, most people don’t even know their neighbors, let alone leave their child with them for any length of time. It would seem people are more likely to yell “Mind your own *** **** business!” than “Good morning” when you pass them on the street. This is a sad state of culture, in my opinion.
When most people hear the term “accountability” they probably think; “Oh great; judgmental, greater-than-thou people want to be in my business and judge me.” I’m sorry, but we aren’t that concerned with keeping up with “your business” and judging you, as if we get some morality points by casting stones at others or pointing out the short-comings of those around us. We are not creating a database, separating humanity into a category of “sinners” and “saints” for whatever purpose. We aren’t Santa Claus trying to determine who is naughty or nice, effecting what reward people get at the end of the year. That is not our objective, sorry to disappoint.
No, it is for the good of the community as a whole that we should hold each other accountable. For accountability helps prevents good decisions from becoming questionable, questionable decisions from becoming bad, and bad decisions from becoming terrible. And the problem here is we believe the lie that what we do in secret doesn’t affect anyone else. Whether or not you purposely and intentionally are an active member of the community, you are still a part of one. And your actions and decisions do cascade out and affect those around you.
Do you want an example? Look at one of the most “secret” vices Americans deal with; pornography. I read that globally, porn is a $97 billion industry, with $10-12 billion of that coming from the United States. To put this in perspective, the NFL is a $9.17 billion industry, and MLB is a $9 billion industry. Evidently, baseball is not America’s favorite pastime.
What’s even crazier is that the porn industry can make that much money when there are so many sites that offer free porn, which means its reach is pretty much immeasurable. Yet porn would definitely qualify as one of those things people would yell “mind your own business” if someone questioned them about it and they were actively involved with it.
What about the next step? What about when bad decisions become terrible? Recently a database of names from a website called Ashley Madison was publicly released. Seeing how that site’s entire focus was geared toward infidelity, I’m fairly certain that this list becoming public will result in many divorces in the near future. I wonder how many of those who sought out that site started with a curiosity that drove them to the secret vice of pornography. Do you think the actions of those involved in that website only affected those on the site?
Is this a problem? I would definitely say so. Is my solution to ban porn? No.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Do I think porn is bad? Most definitely. I could list many reasons why pornography is a blight to our society, but I don’t really think it’s necessary for those who would bother reading my blog. Does it affect just the person engaging in that activity? Absolutely not! If you don’t believe me, just ask Jared Fogle if what he did in secret affected anyone else.
Our economy operates on the concept of supply and demand. I cannot be angry at the porn industry for capitalizing on such an obviously massive demand. Wanting to crucify the porn industry for how successful porn is seems to be as foolish as crucifying doctors who perform abortions because we don’t agree with abortion. These people didn’t create the demand; they are just capitalizing on it. Isn’t that what our national economic culture teaches us to do?
So what is the solution? I believe it lies in helping to reduce the demand. For where there is no demand, supply will diminish. And the only way to cure a blight is to starve it. Taking it away does not take away the desire for it; we saw how successful Prohibition was. It is only when the desire is no longer there, likely because it has been replaced with something better, that the demand will reduce.
A lot of Christians don’t want to talk about vices. They think admitting fault is showing weakness or advertising failure. The fact is, being a Christian is admitting to having failed and needing a savior. So let’s go ahead and get that out-of-the-way. The Church is not a collection of people who already have their lives together; it’s a place to help each other get their lives together.
How do we do that? Accountability. Please, don’t mind your own business. I need you to call me out when I make bad decisions, so they don’t become worse decisions. By establishing accountability and voicing what is right and what is wrong, we can start to form our culture into one where there is no longer a need for vices. People won’t need to turn to substances to help “cope” or “escape” when there are people in their lives to help them along the way. People wouldn’t need to indulge in perversion when they will have a health view of people because people are in their lives, helping them.