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.There is an obvious reason why Chris fell away from Christianity. Put simply, Chris was never full Christian. So, how about your children? Are they being raised to be fully Christian? And, if not, how long will it be before they fall away because they don’t know why they believed the things you taught them?
On several occasions, Chris attacked the Bible as being based upon unreliable accounts. It seemed clear to me that he had grown up in a church where he was told the Bible was true. But no one ever told him why. They never informed him that accounts of the life of Jesus are far more reliable than accounts of the lives of ancient philosophers whose existence he would never dare to question. The Bible was not constructed by a bunch of counter-culture outcasts who merely tossed aside the parts they deemed objectionable. But Chris did not have a clue. Like most kids who were raised in the church, no one had ever showed him the evidence.
2. Americans are beginning to embrace shifting definitions of truth. The author of one of the books describing Chris’ neo-pagan religion was considered the founder and leader of its American version. He had a long history of marital instability and drug addiction. The addiction was so bad that he confessed to not remembering large portions of his adult life. When he was criticized for not living a moral life while trying to be a moral leader he simply rejected the idea of absolute morality. Then, when it came to gay rights issues, abortion, and the environment he attacked his adversaries with a vengeance. He was a public moralist advocating federal legislation of morality. Indeed, he was a moral absolutist in the purist sense.
So how can one be a moral relativist and a moral absolutist all at once? It is quite simple actually. In order to resolve contradictions all one has to do is reject the Law of Non- contradiction. If A can also be not-A then you can believe anything you want. And that means you can live any way you want while retaining the privilege of attacking others.
This Friday night (September 28) at 7 p.m., the unthinkable is happening. A church here in Wilmington is opening its doors to allow me to speak to hundreds of young people about why abortion is wrong and how we can defend the unborn. After I speak, Sean McDowell will talk to them about why the Bible can be trusted. Aaron Marshall of Ratio Christi will talk to students about truth and relativism. The conference will resume Saturday with more from Sean McDowell, including a discussion of the dangers of pornography.
If you are between 17 and 25 and will be anywhere near Wilmington, please come join us. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Coastal Community Baptist Church website for more information about the conference. For all other churchgoers who cannot attend, I have a simple question: how long will it be before your church starts to fight back?
We’re talking about the souls of our children, here. We’re talking about your spiritual legacy. Please join us.