The Return to Innocence

Aug 13, 2019 by

by Auguste Meyrat, Crisis Magazine:

With the continued normalization of vice in modern life, the idea of preserving or recovering innocence seems somewhat irrelevant. For most people, a return to innocence is more likely to bring to mind a new age hit single from the nineties than a serious societal concern.

Today, only a few parents (usually of the Mormon or traditional Catholic variety) will take their family’s innocence seriously and do what they can to protect their children from the corruption abounding on every form of media and physical setting. They homeschool; they restrict or prohibit screen-time; and they take care to limit the company they and their children keep. In most cases, their more progressive neighbors will deride them as kooks and modern Pharisees, particularly when they see their children keeping their faith and living prudently while their own fall into every moral quagmire imaginable.

In light of such success, one might wonder why more people do not take care to follow these wholesome families instead of mock them. Some do, which explains why more traditional orthodox religious communities are growing rapidly while liberalized ones continue to decline nearly as fast. Others do not because of the failure to properly understand the meaning of innocence. Too often, it is cast in negative terms: not being exposed to evil influences; not observing or knowing about evil; not having evil thoughts or committing evil actions. If people view innocence as a collection of non-experience, then those who oppose it can reframe it as something that denotes ignorance, naiveté, and even callousness.

The consequence of this redefinition is clear to see, especially in schools, entertainment, and in family life. At school, children are systematically scandalized in their faith, their relationships, and their own identities. They learn early to equate religion with superstition, love with utility, and the self with accidental characteristics. Students who practice their faith, refrain from sex, and waive victim status are thought weird and draw universal contempt. By contrast, the gender-fluid students with many partners and no religion are increasingly celebrated and admired.

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