What Do All of These Things Have in Common?
1) It is not permissible to say the “N” word.
2) It is not permissible to eat a section from a pop tart to make it look like a gun.
3) The name “Washington Redskins” is offensive.
4) A US miliary dad cannot go on his child’s school campus in uniform.
5) It is sexist to be “pro-life.”
6) It is not permissible to believe in traditional marriage.
7) It is not okay to refer to those in the country illegally as “illegal” or “aliens.”
8) It is not permissible to wear clothing in school with patriotic images.
9) It is not permissible to speak ill of Islam.
What do all these things have in common? They are all examples of political correctness (PC). In a nutshell, PC can be defined as the avoidance of vocabulary or actions that are considered offensive, discriminatory, or judgmental to progressive cultural leaders. The primary focus of this effort relates to race/ethnicity and gender, but also extends to religion, patriotism and other cultural issues. PC is, essentially, an attempt to prescribe the moral forms which people in society must follow. The only problem is, the progressive cultural leaders who push this agenda have no objective basis for making their moral evaluations. All of their pronouncements are strictly expressions of arbitrary personal beliefs.
But let’s try to get a little more specific. Where does PC come from and why has it become so prominent in the culture?
What Is Political Correctness and Why Is it a Problem?
The basis for the idea of political correctness is rooted in a naturalistic worldview. Naturalism is the belief that there is no such thing as a supernatural reality. When it comes to actually living out Naturalism in real life, though, there is a serious problem. If there is no supernatural reality, there can be no absolutes when it comes to morality. But it is impossible for humans to live life without some kind of moral framework. So, since no absolute transcendent morality is acknowledged, morality must be made up by those in society who have the power to impose it.
But where do these people get their values? Essentially, they must borrow their moral ideas from other value systems. Interestingly, even PC values which Christians might consider good, have no reason for their existence. As Christians, we might see some particular PC expression as good because it corresponds with the values expressed in the Bible. But you have to remember that Naturalists don’t accept the Bible. Their reason for holding one of “our” values has an entirely different purpose, and it is a purpose that actually works against the work of God in the world. Looking again at the nine PC statements above, there is no particular reason why any of them should be acknowledged as “right” except that it is the personal preference of those who hold moral sway in the culture.
Why Has Political Correctness Become Prominent in the Culture?
From the time of our country’s founding, Christian Theism was the dominant belief system in the nation. The morals and values of the Bible were accepted by virtually everyone as the proper foundation for societal order. It created the environment which shaped the legal system, the operation of the political arena, and all of the ways society viewed and expressed morality in the public square. This does not mean there was never dissent and certainly does not imply that everyone actually followed Christian values. But the values themselves were not really disputed. Right and wrong were simply understood based on the teachings found in the Bible.
Beginning in the late 1800s, naturalistic beliefs began to emerge as a significant competitor within the culture. The increasing acceptance of and advocacy for naturalistic presuppositions as expressed by leaders in our educational institutions, the news media and in the entertainment industry began to lead the culture to increasingly accept naturalistic beliefs as its foundational set of assumptions. A tipping point was reached around the 1960s and 70s where these naturalistic beliefs became the dominant belief system in the culture. This wave of acceptance of Naturalism has only increased since that time. Sadly, even many people who claim to be Christians accept naturalistic beliefs as true without even realizing it.
In education we see the acceptance of relativistic beliefs as normative, and teachers are passing that philosophy on to young students who do not have the ability to understand what they are getting – thus indoctrinating every subsequent generation. In the news media we see it in the blatant bias of reporters – not only in what they report, but also in what they do not report. It is evident in the entertainment industry as blatant immoral speech and lifestyles are presented in movies and on TV as normal. Politics is another particularly prominent place this is played out as party loyalty vanquishes biblical moral beliefs, self promotion trumps true public service, and telling lies is acceptable if it promotes personal policy agendas. These are all outward expressions of values based on naturalistic presuppositions, and this approach has become the norm. We also see it in our economic policy as greed, on the one hand, and an entitlement mentality, on the other, have pushed aside personal responsibility and industriousness. The reason for all of this is that the people in positions to make policy in these areas do so based on naturalistic worldview presuppositions.
What Can We Do about It?
What can we do about it, indeed! This is a huge question which has answers that go in many different directions, but which has its ultimate answer in only one place.
In an ultimate sense, the only way this will ever be turned around is for Christians to begin getting serious about how they express their faith as they live and work out in the culture. The reason for the mess in the first place is that a large enough number of people in the culture have accepted and live by naturalistic beliefs. Sadly, a large number of these people actually consider themselves Christians. But considering oneself a Christian does not make it so. Actual believers in Jesus Christ are people whose lives have been changed by him and who will stick their necks out to take Christ to the culture.
One of the ways to do this is to become active in some way which outwardly pushes back against the evil that is being thrust upon society. There are numerous groups which are doing this kind of work. And I would personally urge Christians to involve themselves in this kind of activism.
However, if that is all that is done, the end result will not be Christian. There is one step more that must be taken in addition to the activism. It must be undergirded with a genuine commitment to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone who advocates for a cause – even a good cause – without the purpose being to bring people into a relationship with Christ, is ultimately advocating for a secular purpose. And a secular purpose does not advance God’s purpose.
One of the greatest shortcomings of modern day Christians is that they do not, on the whole, know how to share Christ with the anti-God crowd that is so prominent in the culture. It is one thing to simply know how to share the gospel (and this cannot be set aside). But we must also know how to do it in a way which communicates across worldview barriers. Without this, the people we share with will simply not understand the message – even when we actively share it.
What can we do to change a culture which has gone over the deep end? We must get out in the middle of it and confront it with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not just to challenge evil words and deeds. This is not just to “express our opinion” on cultural topics. This is not just to advocate for Christian beliefs. We must actually share the gospel message with people in a way that is understandable and actually draws them into a personal relationship with Christ. And we must do it massively!!! When this begins to happen among a large enough group of people, we will begin to see some change. But if we don’t, it will only become worse.
© 2014 Freddy Davis