By Larry Ray Hafley
The “Do Your Own Thing” philosophy is not new. It is a way of life for pigs, dogs, apes, and roosters, that has been adopted by certain sets of men in all generations. It was described in Noah’s day when “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).
Those who promote the doing of “your own thing@ are advocates of moral anarchy. Their guide is their appetite, their goal is to gratify it, and their God has been “turned off,” “tuned out” and replaced by a flower or a dream produced by drugs. The Holy Spirit through “His own thing,” the pen of the apostle Paul, defined this sordid sort as “they` (that) are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to, practice every kind of uncleanness” (Eph. 4:18, 19-RSV):
What breeds and begats this depravity? There are causes too numerous and nebulous to mention, however, it is clear that a lack of respect for authority in general has been the germ, of “Do Your Own Thing.” The youth of today were raised by parents who were told that spanking your child will warp his personality. (When my dad spanked me; I assure you that something more than my personality was warped!) They, were told not to deprive, deny, or discipline their children lest they damage their “natural curiosity.” All too late we seethe fruits. The twig has been bent. Now the appeal to authority to quell the rebellion is helpless; hapless and hopeless. So grows the tree.
In any sphere of life it must be understood that to neglect to use authority is to destroy it. It cannot be shelved an then be placed into service, for its power dissipates and disappears when it is shunned. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15):
A second cause is found in the attitude of “the clergy” toward the individual’s religious rights and responsibilities. Two ideas have been advanced: (1) It does not matter what one believes, just so he insincere. (2) Each person should join the church of his’ choice. The former is the father, begatter of the latter. Both statements encourage religious promiscuity. They say in effect that one should “shop around” until he finds a system that suits his particular religious whim. A simple, succinct summary of the two suggestions is, “In religion, do your own thing. “Thus, in the home and in denominational doctrine we find the roots of unrestrained self determinism. Is it surprising, therefore, that we have a sizeable segment of society set on; “doing their own thing”? “I trow not.”
Whenever the authority of God is supplanted by force or tradition, it is destroyed. A religion founded on what is time honored has very little power over those who suddenly decide not to worship the inventions of the centuries. Hence, the Catholic Church faces revolutionary revision. Its agony, however, will not revive the authority of God. The struggle is against institutions that long ago shadowed the direction of Deity. The internal warfare is over the traditions themselves, not over whether or not God approves or disapproves of them. Concern for God’s will (authority) died when the tradition was born.
“Do Your Own Thing” is seen as both a cause and an effect. It is a cause of contemporary confusion and the effect of the age old attempt by man to steer his own steps. (Prov. 3:5-7) Its ultimate meaning is to seek to satisfy self, and those who parrot and practice it are championed by every barnyard bull.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:44, p. 8-9
September 12, 1974