The Huffington Post posted an article titled “The Mythology of Burning Man”. In case you are not familiar with this yearly event in the Black Desert just North of Reno in the state of Nevada, it is where close to 70.000 or more gather for a festival, as the sponsors describe it as a place to discover yourself and find out new ways to experience the world, an adventure in self-expression, creativity and community spirit, in which participants erect a temporary town, to be taken down at the close of the week long festivities, this along with a towering man-like figure, sometimes forty feet tall depending on the year located in the make-shift community. Like pilgrims, they came from all over the US. About the proceedings themselves, they have been described as an experiment in what community can be like when people from all different backgrounds come together, and not surprisingly “inclusion” is a term often used by them. At the closing ceremony is the “burning of the man” which is purported by the founders to be offered up as an effigy, a form of radical self-expression. The organizers may say it is about finding your creative self but in fact it is a ten-day freewheeling trek of drug use, drinking, and unreserved sex. The show of nudity, sensory, and party-like atmosphere combined with artistic displays is, according to the organizers, supposed to bring man closer together and create spiritual change in our world which while we understand that hedonism is not new, mixing in artwork and culture into an orgy of self-pleasure and debauchery can only be considered foolish to think that society will benefit from it.
The kind of radical immorality we have seen so far is a reminder of something similar that happened many centuries ago. Again, in a desert, but this time at the base of a mountain named Sinai. A figure of a calf had been forged from fire into a gold figure and placed before the Israelites as their god. Once more, dancing, drinking, and shameful immoral and idolatrous behaviour was exhibited among the more than two million Israelites that had gathered to seek a spiritual change. They wanted to turn away from following Yahweh and instead embrace pagan gods in order to help them along their journey through the desert. They feared that their leader Moses was not coming back from meeting with God on the mountain, so they ended their allegiance with God and turned to paganism instead. Their revelry ended soon enough though, once Moses appeared and those held responsible were punished.
The Bible teaches that self-pleasure and profane acts of debauchery and defiance will not go unpunished (Heb. 12:.25). Hard to believe that earlier God had appeared to the Israelites on that same mountain in which great darkness, thundering and searing sound was heard and seen by these same Israelites and had left them in such a state of awe and fear that they pleaded for God to speak to Moses alone instead of them (vv.18, 19). His majestic holiness is such that sinful man was warned not to approach Him or even set foot on the mountain under risk of death. In verse 14 we read that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord”. It is a dangerous perception that we can perform whatever evil we choose and pass it off as a moral exercise in self awareness when in fact it often serves as a pretext to carry out evil deeds. God sees the heart of man and is not fooled by his attempts to cover his tracks with talk of self-discovery, and human empowerment. In the book of Isaiah we read: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20) Whether a festival occurs in the desert or in the city core where nudity, sexual perversion, profane acts are paraded around in public can only be described as a foolhardy act of rebellion against God. The two scenes in the desert are reminders on how far man will go to indulge his fleshly appetites and to what lengths he will go to justify himself. God has given us the ten commandments, knowledge of Himself and redemption in Jesus His Son — these are revealed through His Inspired Word in which we learn about One who would come and die on a cross that was erected just outside the gates Jerusalem we fondly know as Calvary. His death and resurrection paved the way for sinners to believe and repent and escape judgment and be granted eternal life. We have no need to find ourselves or experiment with false gods and paganism. Do receive by faith this great salvation that is ours in Christ. Christ has come to us in the flesh and now resides in heaven as our Mediator for those who wish to come to Him and be forgiven and saved from their sins and have everlasting life.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23