On more than one occasion, I had a chance to speak to his nephew, whom I will refer to as Chris. Our conversations were cordial. Nonetheless, I was perplexed by his strange tendency to vacillate back and forth between moral relativism and moral objectivism. When I questioned him about some of his actions – he had impregnated and then abandoned a young woman – he adopted moral relativism. He would simply say “Well, what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me.” When I asked him about some things that were done to him – he said he had been abused as a child – he adopted moral objectivism. He had no problem agreeing when I said that abusing children was “objectively immoral.”
One day, I asked Chris to give me some book recommendations so I could read about his religion and, hopefully, better understand him. Chris’ recommendations – there were two of them – were enlightening, to say the least. They clued me in to both the degree and the origins of his spiritual drift. They also spoke volumes about the cultural drift that has accelerated on our nation’s campuses and in our churches over the last few decades. There were two things about his recommended readings that caught my attention. They led me to a couple of conclusions:
1. America is becoming a land of cut and paste religion. In the preface to the book explaining Chris’ religion, a neo-pagan “priest” discussed how he and others resurrected their religion in the 1960s. It was based on the teachings of nomadic European people from many centuries ago. But it had disappeared for several centuries. The “priest” confessed that when they researched and re-established the religion, they simply kept the parts they liked and threw out the parts they did not like. Contrast this with what we learn from the Dead Sea Scrolls.