In the “Preface” to The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis alludes to William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” as one of man’s constant fantasies, the notion that, “granted skill and patience and (above all) time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found.” On the contrary, Lewis argues that it is an illusion to assume that “all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center.” This outlook counts on the progression of time and change to make evil popular, commonplace, mainstream, and customary.
The history of the sexual revolution illustrates Lewis’s point. The rare use of contraception first proposed for difficult marital situations has developed into a way of life known as the contraceptive mentality promoted by the medical profession and approved by tax funds designated for Planned Parenthood’s sex education programs that initiate the young into practice of contraception for recreational use and the prevention of pregnancy. The legalization of abortion for the sake of women’s health and freedom and in cases of rape and incest has evolved into a universal right of women to destroy their preborn children during all nine months of pregnancy for any reason justified by “the right to choice.” As the evils of contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriages have gained social acceptability and legalized status, they give the impression that evil and good reconcile in a marriage of heaven and hell because of tolerance, progress, and enlightenment.
Nothing of that nature really happens, however, because, once legalization occurs, more evils follow. As Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse writes in “Understanding the Sexual Revolution,” “once the principle is established, they [the revolutionaries] expand the principle. The public would not have accepted the original concept, had they known where it would lead.” If someone wanders off the main road and loses direction, Lewis remarks, he does find the right way by continuing to go forward. Every wrong road eventually divides into two paths, and those two paths also soon bifurcate into two more additional roads. To continue on one wrong road leads to other false ways that complicate the loss of direction and lead the traveler into a maze of confusion. Only one solution leads out of the labyrinth: “A wrong sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never simply by going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good.”
Yet the morally progressive view that has unleashed the sexual revolution has proceeded by “simply going on” under the belief that the former evils can indeed evolve and “develop” into good by propaganda, political manipulation, and court decisions. The former evils of contraception, divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage have gained social respectability and moral status by virtue of enlightenment and progress that have presumably overcome bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and prejudice. Once the right to privacy is invoked to rationalize contraception, the same right to privacy justifies abortion and allows same-sex marriage, and the same right to privacy can provide the rationale for other redefinitions and new arrangements for marriage like incestuous marriages and multiparty marriages. The relativism of modern progressive thinking, then, proceeds by labeling old moral norms rigid, backward, and enslaving in need of revision by way of evolution that illustrates the illogical idea of evil developing into good.
As Lewis explained, evil does not progress, evolve, or develop by way of natural growth or fruitful abundance but rather metastasizes or spreads like a disease from one part of the body to another by the transfer of the cells of a malignant tumor. Good does not grow out of evil in the way an oak tree grows from an acorn or a fertilized egg matures into a fully formed human being as the potentiality of seeds bear ripe fruit. Unless reversed by returning to the place of the wrong turn on the road, the course of evil does more harm and damage. Once sexuality is separated from procreation, it degenerates into using human beings as objects of selfish pleasure. Once contraception governs sexual relationships, it views the conceived child as an “unwanted baby” to be eliminated by abortion. Once abortion gains legal recognition, it permits the slaughter of millions of pre-born infants and instills a culture of nihilism that views death as the solution to all problems. Once abortions become an industry for profit, the trafficking of the body parts of aborted fetuses dehumanizes human beings into ghoulish monsters of avarice. The trail of evil never ends.
To go back and find the source of the arithmetic error or the wrong turn on the road puts a person on a course that leads to truth or the right destination. Goodness does not evolve from evil but grows from a potent seed in fertile soil. It follows normal, natural changes like the plant or sapling in the earth that flowers and blooms to produce a copious harvest. The process of sowing and reaping that governs the fruitfulness of Mother Nature also applies to human love that begins with the marriage of a man and woman and bears the fruit of offspring. The harvest of the field and the fruitfulness undergo stages that follow nature’s laws. Love, marriage, and procreation are the right order that produces happiness, establishes families, and creates civilization. Civilization is fruitfulness, abundance, and the joy of the harvest. Contraception, abortion, and childlessness lead to the wrong road that proliferates into more wrong roads and produces nothing but death, destruction, and tragedy.
The sexual revolution has produced only bitter fruit. Contraception has led to depopulation, entire societies not replacing themselves and greater incidences of divorce following in the wake of marriages regulated by contraception. Abortion has dehumanized human beings into destroying their own flesh and blood and desensitized parents to the point of denying the personhood of the unborn. Divorce and cohabitation have burdened children with a multitude of social and psychological problems that undermine their sense of security and innocence, forcing them to adjust to two homes or two sets of parents—living arrangements that Dr. Morse describes as “structural injustices to children”: “Some children do not live with both of their biological parents. Some children feel like leftovers from a precious relationship. Some children are asked to change their lodgings every week.” Legalizing same-sex marriage with the right to adopt children deprives the young of the balance of both the maternal and paternal sensibility that form an integrated human being in touch with the nature of femininity and masculinity.
As the history of the sexual revolution illustrates in multiple ways, evil does not develop into good, the unnatural does not mutate into the natural, and propaganda does evolve into truth. One cannot go forward with more bad choices that lead to more confused paths that lead nowhere except into a maze. One can only retrace the false steps to the first wrong turn and find the right road, the path that produces living seed, new life, and bountiful harvests where good leads to more good and superabundant good rather than imagining that good produces evil or fantasizing that evil grows into good—the failed experiment of the sexual revolution. In Cardinal Newman’s words from The Idea of a University:
Good is not only good, but reproductive of good; this is one of its attributes; nothing is excellent, beautiful, perfect, desirable for its own sake, but it overflows, and spreads the likeness of itself around it. Good is prolific.