Just recently, the Home and Garden Television network (HGTV) announced its decision to pull the plug on an upcoming real estate reality show. This show was about twins David and Jason Benham – two guys who help families create their dream home from “fixer-uppers.” And why was the show pulled? It had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the show. Rather, it was because of the private beliefs of the two stars. They were accused by gay rights activists of being anti-gay and pro-life because they dared express their biblical beliefs out loud – in their private life. Because of the demands of radical homosexual rights activists, the network caved and pulled the show. This is pretty much the same thing that happened with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame.
Then there is the case of former Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich. He is recognized as, literally, a genius in the internet tech world and was a perfect person to become the head of this company. However, very shortly after he was selected, the company was pressured by radical homosexual activists to kick him out because he contributed to the California pro natural marriage amendment effort back in 2008.
And these two headlines are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pressure to eliminate Christian values from the public square. There are numerous recent headlines where the immoral speech and actions of individuals are accepted and celebrated, and others where the private expression of traditional or personal values lead to public sanction. These various headlines relate to such topics as: personal speech (an NBA team owner who has been fined and is being pressured to actually sell his franchise based on illegally taped bigoted remarks he made in the privacy of his own home), political thuggery (the U.S. Attorney General who refuses to prosecute law breakers or even follow the law himself), destruction of economic opportunity (the implementation of public policies based on a political philosophy which makes it easy for people to avoid personal responsibility), sexual immorality (the normalization of polygamy, homosexuality, adultery, and fornication) and abortion (the devaluing of life for personal convenience). And honestly, the list could go on and on.
In modern culture, it is not okay to hold certain opinions if they are deemed to be politically incorrect by certain cultural elites. On the other hand, it is okay for those with political or social power to make up their own morality and force it on the entire culture using brute force. And in our day, the rules governing these things can change over time based on the beliefs of social influencers, regardless of what the law says. Basically, the rule of law has been set aside. What was right can become wrong and vice versa based purely on the personal beliefs of those in power. For people who believe in the rule of law and freedom of conscience, it is disturbing to witness individuals being persecuted for their opinions and driven out of business or out of the public square.
The political correctness which is behind all of the intolerance mentioned above is a function of a naturalistic worldview. Naturalism is the belief that material reality is all that exists. There is no God or any kind of supernatural existence. As such, Naturalists believe that everything in all of reality can be accounted for by natural means. As it relates to moral judgements, since there is no God to reveal any kind of transcendent moral law, the only place morality can come from is the opinion of individual human beings. And based on that belief set, morality is determined by those who hold the power to enforce their beliefs – the law of the jungle.
So, here is the bottom line: Some set of worldview beliefs will dominate a culture. As America was founded on Christian worldview beliefs, the values which dominated American culture for most of its history were Christian values. This does not mean that everyone in the culture was a Christian or even agreed with all Christian values. In fact, far from it. What it does mean, though, is that a certain set of Christian values which relate to governmental structure and the exercise of power in the culture were commonly accepted by virtually the entirety of the population. It is these biblical worldview values that have defined America’s uniqueness. These values include:
1. Freedom of conscience: Freedom of conscience means people are free to follow any religion or belief set they want. It means individuals are allowed to live their lives and speak their opinion in the way they personally choose without fear of being set upon by legal authorities (assuming, of course, that those actions don’t infringe the rights of others).
2. Equal justice before the law: This means there is no arbitrariness in the legal system. Everyone, regardless of their station in life will be judged based on the same set of laws.
3. Sanctity of life: The principle of the sanctity of life refers to the belief that no innocent human life, regardless of its immediate state, shall ever be taken.
4. Personal responsibility: The value of personal responsibility expresses the belief that every person is responsible for his or her own life. As such, society should be set up to allow people to succeed or fail based on their own efforts and abilities. There should be no special privilege or hindrances placed on any group or individual which would infringe this principle. For those who need special help, some kind of accommodation should be implemented, but not in a way which violates the larger principle.
5. Biblical sexual morality: The family is the most important institution in society for the promotion of stability in the culture. The promotion of biblical sexual values strengthens this institution. This is not to say that deviant sexual behavior should necessarily be criminalized. However, it should never be accepted and celebrated in law. At the same time, laws and social systems should be promoted which strengthen the traditional family.
In recent years, these unique values have been challenged by opposing values which emerge from a naturalistic worldview. The result has been the downhill slide of the culture. The result is:
1. Societal rules (laws, mores and folkways) based on power and personal preference: Freedom of conscience and biblical morality are replaced by political correctness and personal permissiveness. This leads to hedonistic indulgence and repression against anyone who thinks or acts contrary to the beliefs of the cultural power brokers.
2. Arbitrariness in legal matters: When the rule of law is not strictly observed, lawlessness becomes the order of the day. Laws which are unliked or deemed “unfair” by those who are charged with enforcing them can simply be ignored.
3. Devaluation of life: In naturalistic thought, the value of life is based on the personal beliefs of the cultural and political elite. Economic considerations and personal convenience trump individual lives when it comes to deciding who should live or die, or what kind of life certain classes of people are consigned to.
4. Social control: Using naturalistic presuppositions, equality of outcome generally trumps equality of opportunity. It is deemed proper that everyone in society should have the same benefits and privileges regardless of the effort they put forth in life. Unfortunately, this never has and never can create a situation where true equality exists. To implement this, there must necessarily be a ruling class. This ruling class will always find a way to exempt itself from the negative impact of this approach, and will always be in a position to control the masses.
5. Sexual freedom: Since in Naturalism there is no objective moral standard, literally anything goes when it comes to sexual morality. There is no such thing as any kind of inherently wrong sexual activity. This ends up having a devastating effect on the family. And when the traditional family is broken down, the glue that holds society together disintegrates. The result is higher crime, greater poverty, lower education levels, more people dependent on government assistance, less personal initiative, lower employment and wages, and a whole host of other problems.
The truth is, the headlines at the beginning of this article are the natural result of the naturalistic point of view which now dominates our culture. Most polls taken in recent years show an increasing sense that the American public believes we are headed down the wrong road. And that wrong road is quite easy to identify. It is the road of naturalistic worldview beliefs. And there is only one way to change the direction. It is to intentionally move back to the Christian principles which are our heritage. And the only way to do that is to elect leaders who believe in those values.
The only problem is, too many of those who live in the culture want to hybridize their beliefs. They want to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. They want the good results which come from a culture based on biblical values, but don’t want to be put in a position where they themselves are held accountable for personal activities which reflect anti-biblical behavior. With this kind of hybridized belief system dominant in the culture, it becomes difficult to impossible to determine where the line should be drawn concerning what is morally acceptable.
People want freedom of conscience for themselves but are willing to shut down the speech of those who express contrary opinions. People say they want equal justice under the law but are willing to allow elected officials to selectively enforce the law or even ignore those they don’t agree with. People say they support life, but are willing to allow some life to be considered of lesser or no value, and to be enslaved or even killed. People say they want to help those who are down and out, but find it easier to consign them to a life of dependence on government handouts than to make the effort to provide opportunities for them to grow and flourish. People say they want social stability, but not to the extent that they are willing to accept and live by the kind of moral beliefs which are necessary for that to exist. The problems we see in our culture today exist solely because the values inherent in a naturalistic worldview are so widely accepted by the population at large. Thus, the desire for the recognized benefits of biblical moral values are set aside for the pleasures of sinful indulgence.
Ultimately it is not new laws or new technology which will be our salvation (if salvation is to come at all). Laws which are based on arbitrary values or which are not enforced in order to indulge selfishness and sensuality are no laws at all. Technology which has the potential for good can also be used for evil – and will be when those using it have evil hearts.
No, the only thing that can put our nation back on the right track is a population which recognizes what values are good and right AND is willing to put aside evil and actually implement what is right. A change in direction to reverse the evil and perversion that has become part and parcel of our culture only comes from changed hearts. And changed hearts only come from acceptance of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
© 2014 Freddy Davis