To be fair, I had read tweets and posts about the Vanity Fair article before I actually read the article myself. I had no idea what Tinder was, but the responses I was reading were all to the effect of, “Now I’m going to lock my kid in a basement without internet access for the rest of their lives.”
Being a parent, I took the bait and read the article about the hook-up culture made so much easier by apps and sites that now cater to no-strings sex, in essence killing dating. My response was different: I wasn’t the least bit shocked by any of it.
Having spent the past few weeks trying to find words so I wouldn’t be one of those sitting silently watching it all happen, I was still stuck in a place where nothing in my brain worked quite right and there wasn't much that could shock me more than what had already been burned into my brain. The 7th Planned Parenthood video, the one with the child who is said to have a heartbeat and is showing signs of movement before having their face cut open to dissect their brain, slaughtered me in a whole new way. Many times I tried to type something, but what is there left to say? If that does not horrify the masses, what will?
My mind and heart weeks later, begging simultaneously for numbness and apathy-shattering compassion, started making connections that offered clarity to the question, how does this all happen? Abortion, Tinder, Ashely Madison, immigrants drowning, and rape culture in my mind have come to connect at one basic point: when you don’t really know God, it’s impossible to know each other.
The standard we’re called to in Matthew 5:28 that tells us to even lust is to commit adultery requires we not look at each other as objects. Babies in the womb can’t simply be inconvenient fetal tissue (inconvenient for the mother and father but profitable for Planned Parenthood, it seems). Men and women can’t be viewed as tools for sexual gratification. Other people who are not us cannot be deemed unworthy of living in a safe place. We’re made in the image of God. Our lineage alone, our connection to the Creator, should alert us that what is going on around us right now is wrong, be it rape, sex trafficking, or the murder of children.
But unfortunately, the constant corrosion of humanity makes the objectification of human beings seem pretty logical. A group of people who don’t view babies inside or outside of the womb as treasures, as valuable, as people, aren’t magically going to grow into adults who view another person at any stage in life as valuable, as God’s creation made of His glory, worthy of love and respect. Also true is the fact that caring for only certain people outside of the womb, those who are like us and don’t inconvenience us in any way, is a sure sign we are not viewing others through God’s eyes.
Even things like Ashley Madison and Tinder, on the surface problems related to easy access to filth, are so much more than internet issues. Sure, the internet has made a lot of things easier, including accessing places we shouldn’t be. But things like Tinder or Ashley Madison are just symptoms of the bigger problem: not viewing each other as God-created lives, we’ve made the golden rule irrelevant. I’ve never met anyone who wants to be murdered before their first birthday, used for sex but then deemed not the kind of person anyone wants to have a relationship with, or raped while unconscious. I feel it’s fairly safe no one wants to be treated that way. But instead of treating others the way we want to be treated, acknowledging them as humans, it’s all about treating ourselves, the individual we actually care about, the way we want. In this drifting culture, babies are inconvenient and relationships are messy. Best to make our way of life exclude the unnecessary messiness so we can focus on what matters: immediate pleasure, no consequences, our own wants.
The good news, that the God of the universe wants us and seeks us, that we are loved, and so is every person around us, apparently hasn’t been absorbed. How else can we explain believing the lie that it is a privilege to have the right to kill our own children, equally loved, especially made by Him? How can we explain precious, valued people responding to text messages with disgusting suggestions from strangers with the affirmative, yes, I’m only a vessel for sexual pleasures, use me? And how can I personally explain my apathy in the face of such tragedy, indifference born from seeing so much of this that I go mentally numb, the faces of the refugees, the victims, the children, blurring into a fuzzy image in the back of my mind?
I can’t explain it. I can repent of it. I can bathe these issues in prayer. I can treat people the way God wants them to be treated. I can mourn for what has already been lost in this world, and I do. I can get involved in the way God has called me to help stop these atrocities. But I can’t be shocked easily anymore, and that saddens me more than I imagined it would. I never wanted to be the kind of person who felt like I had seen it all, but at this point in my life, I’m afraid I’ve seen more than I ever wanted to.