Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adult Books

There are many strange and misleading euphemisms in our society. For example, “reproductive health” often entails the murder of the very one who is the living manifestation of human reproduction. Not very healthy, death. Another one, which I’d like to look at today, is “adult books,” which can be bought at “adult bookstores” or on “adult websites.”

There’s really not much that is adult about “adult” books. They mostly cater to adolescent fantasies (at least I guess they do, or so I’ve been told, or, like, I wouldn’t know!). And if people read them long enough, they become so twisted and perverse that there’s little that is adult, i.e., mature, about them. “Mature” is another misused word. Books or films that cater to those same adolescent fantasies are for “mature audiences.” Perhaps there should be a rating system that indicates certain books or films as designed for “immature, sick, perverse, weird, satanic, degenerate audiences.” That would at least give pause to some mature adults.

Our society in general is quite immature, or at least it takes people much longer to mature than in past generations. It may be that they get street-wise and have their “eyes opened” by eating forbidden fruit much earlier (in some places lobbyists are advocating STD vaccines for 11-year-olds). But about the meaning of human life they have no clue. I was just told of a young pregnant woman who wants to have an abortion because she doesn’t want to get fat. Perfectly good reason for killing a baby! I know a young husband and father who left his wife and son, because after the birth of their child his wife actually grew up and became a mother, and hence was “no fun” anymore, but he wanted to have fun. I suppose he reads “adult” books, too. He’s a real man!

Perhaps our high-tech society has something to do with the lack of ordinary human growth and formation. Kids can use a calculator, but they don’t know their multiplication tables (quick, what is 9 x 7?). They can operate a computer, but they can barely read and write. They can manipulate figures in video games, but they don’t know how to hold a baseball bat. They know nothing of literature, but they read “adult” books and magazines. They go to school to learn cutting-edge technology, but they rarely receive an education.

But it’s more than that. They also don’t receive adequate moral and spiritual formation, and I think that is the major impediment to human maturity. If they are not grounded in eternal truths and in profoundly God-centered vision of life, the way is paved for the media, the pornographers, Planned Parenthood, and every hawker of hedonism to insure that they will never become real adults, never mature. They will remain forever in an emotional adolescence that thrives on fun, gratification, and selfish disregard for others, while eschewing sacrifice, courage, nobility, faith, and all that truly builds human maturity and character.

My recommendation to you is to read some adult books: the Bible, the lives of the saints, the fathers of the Church, and other noteworthy spiritual writers, novelists, etc. These are the true adult books. They may be for mature audiences, but even if you’re not quite mature yet, they will actually help you get there. And make sure you recommend them to others. Our society must eventually tire of its degrading surfeit of immorality, its unhealthy diet of illicit pleasure and moral indifference. Their “adult” freedom is nothing more than enslavement to perpetual adolescence. We need to show them the path to recovery, so that they will not forever remain at the present arrested level of emotional and spiritual growth. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1Cor. 13:11). They need to hear that word and grow up to “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).