Is Everything Relative?
It is true that we have all changed on various issues that we once thought ourselves correct. In my early years I had an aversion to interracial relationships (as did most of the country: Star Trek aired a scandalous interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura in 1968). Over time I learned this was wrong and God did not prohibit interracial marriage (as, in truth, we are all of the same kind: homo sapiens, represented by various regional and/or ethnic groups).
Further, I used to hold a denominational view of the church: that “our” collection of non-institutional churches, with attendant papers/editors/preachers was the “true church” without consideration of other factors. I was violating a fundamental principle: that fellowship is not congregationally dispensed; that the name “church of Christ” on a sign or building was not indicative of the soundness of a church or a mark of legitimacy for individuals in a local fellowship.
The fact that we have all evolved (read, matured) in our thinking is used by “progressives” as leverage. A recent comment equated current opposition to homosexuality/transgenderism with aversion to interracial marriage five decades ago. In their view, all who reject their ideals are still in the dark ages and only need to be educated (or sued, or arrested) to see the light. This tends to knock us off-stride and tap into our guilt or insecurity concerning our previous mistakes of judgment.
First, it behooves us to critically examine our views and make sure that we stand on solid ground. Of course, Christians implicitly trust scripture as divine truth, a solid foundation of morality and an impeccable guide to navigating this world’s tangled mess of standards. However, it is easy to mix in our own opinions, prejudices and conditioned thinking with God’s revelation. Paul obviously made this mistake in his opposition to Jesus, but he came to recognize his rigidness of thought and confusion between rabbinic tradition and inspired revelation.
Second, humanistic progressives are as hostile toward Christians as they accuse Christians of being toward the grossly immoral. They are the ones flying in the face of ancient truths, common sense and scientific observations (i.e., that those of the same sex are not fit components of a marriage and family structure, or that a child born with male sex organs and XY chromosomal structure is ... drum roll … a boy). Two things to note here:
1) A recent employment tribunal decision in England against a doctor who refused to use transgender pronouns proclaimed: “Belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals” (Caleb Parke, via Fox News website, 10/3/19, emphasis jj).
Progressives want to make this a case of “dignity,” but guess who gets to define dignity? Human dignity, in their view, is whatever they declare it to be. Dignity to them is everyone doing whatever they choose, with whomever they wish, and be celebrated for it. There is no such thing as perversion, confusion, disgust, shame or limits – unless, of course, it is Biblical condemnation of their behavior. Then there is unmitigated hatred.
2) “The common narrative today is that deeply held religious beliefs are a key driver of incivility” (Daniel Darling, USA Today online, 10/4/19). This is a constant theme of the left in their attempt to banish religious influence from the public square (and the minds of believers). Christians are the trouble makers; their rigid beliefs make them haters of those who don’t buy into their morality or doctrines.
However, Darling goes on to state: “Evangelicals who believe in the exclusivity of Jesus as the pathway to God and the importance of religious liberty, who believe that every human being is created in the image of God (and in the ‘inherent and equal dignity of all’) had high civility scores … So much of the public conversation around civility encourages Americans to abandon what many consider to be outdated core doctrines. But our research suggests that drawing on religious traditions doesn’t nurture nastiness. Rather, it is a deep well with resources that help people of faith navigate a challenging political environment” (ibid).
Finally, “This is also why, though it makes many nonreligious people nervous, Christian evangelism isn’t a barrier to a healthy civil society. Because those who actually believe Jesus so passionately that they are willing to try to persuade others to join them are usually the Christians who are most eager to love and serve their neighbors … They see their neighbors as human beings and objects of God’s love … [This] produces a kind of holy abandonment, releasing Christians to give of themselves in service to the most vulnerable in their communities …” (ibid).
These observations underscore two major Bible principles:
Mt 22:37-40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jn 3:19-21: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen …”.
Yes, cultural norms change, and often for the better. Let us embrace such changes and have the courage to adjust our convictions when we realize they are based on opinions, prejudices and blindness to greater truth.
But let us reject the blather from the left that rests on the shifting sands of godless, humanistic philosophy and wishes to impose its own brand of degeneracy upon everyone else. Don’t be intimidated. Their ideas are destructive and rob people of the true dignity that arises from acknowledging our Creator and His ideals for mankind. No, everything is not relative, and we should be thankful for objective truth and courageous in defense of it. For without it we are lost in the darkness of human ignorance and impulsiveness.