I attended an international student conference this weekend, put on by the Kentucky Baptist Convention. We had almost 200 high school and college students from over 20 different countries represented at the conference and it was really something special to be a part of.
The speaker for the conference was a Chinese lady who came from a very poor peasant background in China, and yet by the grace of God, had the opportunity to come to America to work, study, raise a family, and most importantly, hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. She shared her story, which was a fascinating account of her experience of the Cultural Revolution. One of the more interesting things she shared is how when the cultural revolution first started, all the landowners and aristocrats were publicly condemned and punished. It now was a crime to be wealthy or educated or experienced, and all wealth now became common property. She shared one story about how as a student, one of their heroes was another student who always caused trouble and never studied, and one time he turned in a blank test and demanded that the teacher give him a perfect score. Because of the constant threat of being labeled a counter-revolutionary, the teacher gave him the score.
Well, after the counter-revolutionaries were killed, life went on, and the peasants were told to go out and work the fields. Since everyone shared in common property, people were only allowed to own the clothes on their backs and their beds. At mealtimes, they were instructed to go to the village wok, where they would have food available to all the families. This system lasted about two years, and after that people began to starve. She asked, “What happens if you get to eat no matter how hard you work and cannot keep any wealth no matter how successful you are? People will no longer work.” Once the distributed wealth of the aristocrats ran out, the villages became extremely poor and hundreds of thousands of people all over China starved.
As I heard her tell this, I couldn’t help but think of the parallel between the Cultural Revolution and today’s post-modern pluralism and relativism. What will happen to a people if they are affirmed to be in the truth, regardless of what they believe in, regardless of the inconsistencies of it with their lives, regardless of the fruit of their beliefs? What will happen to a people if they believe there is nothing to gain by believing one faith over another since all faiths are true and good? People will no longer work to find the truth. People will no longer seek after the truth. And very soon, they will starve and find themselves spiritually bankrupt and hopeless. Only this time, the consequences are far more dangerous. If you starve physically for a lack of food, you will lose your health and maybe your life. But if you starve spiritually for a lack of truth, you will lose your soul forever. Are we seeing the days of Amos again in our day?
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. – Amos 8:11