Thursday, November 09, 2006

Religious Liberty, Part III

So, all three of the major foundations of religious liberty flow from the Bible and its impact on western civilization. The problem is that all of them are currently in jeopardy because of western civilization’s rejection of the Bible and the Christian worldview. In the United States, there is still a solid majority of people who not only consider themselves Christians, but who actually hold many of the foundational beliefs of Christianity. The west is steadily losing belief in many of the distinctive elements of the Christian worldview. In Europe the disintegration of the Christian world view has preceded at a higher rate than it has here in the United States, but even here the disintegration is most evident. Another problem is that while western civilization was steadily working the biblical principles into its way of life, it was also steadily unraveling the application of some biblical principles for its convenience at the same time. Our poor treatment of the Indians and our experiments with slavery and racial discrimination have not only been evil, but have caused tremendous damage to western law and western legal theory. Today our rejection of the ideas of the Scripture is leading to the rejection of the very foundations of the liberties we cherish.

Today westerners are being educated to believe that there is no such thing as objective truth. Post-modernists try to tell us that objective truth does not exist. Truth is merely an artificial construct of society—a deception used to justify the status quo of power structures. Pragmatists may tell us that we can go ahead and act as though objective truth existed, but despair of actually providing any genuine foundation for its existence. So when challenged or when presented with some other possible working hypothesis, the pragmatist has no way to hold the line against the active “moral superman” who seeks to unravel customary morality in favor of some “new” morality that is not moral at all. Our lack of belief in truth is already beginning to show up in the courts as people are more and more willing to lie in individual cases and as judges are more and more willing to disregard the established meaning of the law and of individual words in order to achieve an evolution in social policy. In the name of tolerance we have also become intolerant. Western society is poised to persecute those who believe in objective truth and seek to maintain it in the face of social demands for moral relativism. Sadly, the cutting edge issue in this regard is sexual morality. In California we are continually threatened with proposed laws that will effectively make it illegal to be critical of homosexual conduct. In some places, like Canada and Sweden, such laws not only already exist, but have already been used in prosecutions against Christians who have spoken against the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual practices. Thankfully, in Sweden an acquittal was achieved when a pastor was put on trial for criticizing homosexuality from the Bible. But if this trend continues, the west will continue to reject belief in truth and will begin to subject those who believe and maintain belief in objective truth to persecution in the name of “freedom.”

If a society no longer believes that objective truth exists or can be determined through reasoned inquiry or special revelation, then it only makes sense, for practical purposes, that society must decide what is to be true or not to be true, and must act to preserve social stability by suppressing those who advocate an alternative truth. This is, of course, exactly what happened to Socrates and to Jesus. And the former western beliefs in objective truth and in free dialogue were largely based upon the situations involving Jesus and Socrates.

No comments: