“The single greatest feature of our society is our systematic refusal to install authority deeply within the soul. We are reluctant to judge, and we soften the language of good and evil with endless critical qualifications – ‘From the perspective of western culture . . .’ or, even more weakly, ‘From my point of view . . .’ Refusing to give commandments their full and proper form as an unqualified No is the actual effect of so-called critical thinking, and it is the deepest meaning and purpose of multicultural education.”
Strong analysis by R.R. Reno, a Christian writer and former professor. Where does this refusal to make categorical moral judgments lead? Here is an illustration.
We learn that in certain Islamic cultures, honor killings are carried out against women who are raped. In a purely neutral perspective, using the best of multicultural perspective, we have to nod our heads and say, “Well, it’s hard for us to understand from our Western point of view, but there must be a way to justify it from their angle.”
We are paralyzed as a society by our refusal to take a stand against patently immoral activity. I think we would be far better served to return to vigorous argumentation. Let there be strenuous debate about what is right and wrong. Let there be clear differences of opinion, openly stated.
The debate over abortion is one of the few places where good old-fashioned polarization contributes to moral clarity. The more we argue, the more we see that the disagreement lies in whether a woman has the right to do what she wants, even if it takes the life of her child. At least in the abortion debate, people retain the courage to judge other’s behavior.
In sexual morality, however, with a large number of people ignoring biblical prohibitions against sexual activity outside of marriage, those who uphold biblical values are too often reduced to a soft demurral, “Well, from my point of view. . .”
No, that will not save a decaying society. Even if there is a small minority who champion biblical values, let them speak boldly.
And let us not forget the persuasive quality of truth telling. No one needs to raise his voice. There is power in a straight-forward declaration, face to face: “But what you are doing is wrong.”
I’m not concerned that some (many?) will object that Christians cannot impose their beliefs on others. Granted that we cannot impose, we can surely propose, as strenuously as possible. If we believe that there is fundamental validity to our moral foundation, we need not apologize for our convictions.
In my Presbyterian heritage, two of the great ends of the church are the preservation of the truth and the promotion of social righteousness. In our timid society, these strong aims will reinforce believers in the saving power of No.