III. The Coming Cultural Tsunami: Rejection of Biblical Morality

The second quake is the denial of biblical morality. The Bible draws a clear contrast between truth and error. The Apostle John warns of distinguishing the “Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6, ESV).[1] Paul states those who deny the reality of God “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18).[2] The postmodern rejection of truth has led to the idea of constructionism, which asserts that everything people regard as truth is socially constructed, including reality.[3] Mark Bauerlein defines social constructionism as “a simple belief system, founded upon the basic proposition that knowledge is never true per se, but true relative to a culture, a situation, a language, an ideology, or some other social condition.”[4]

Forgetting God

The idea of constructionism is in direct opposition to Scripture, which holds that “what can be known about God is plain” because “God has shown it” to us (Rom. 1:19). Namely, God has made his eternal power and divine nature known since the creation of the world through the things that have been made, which leaves mankind without excuse (Rom. 1:20). However, postmodernism has made truth relative, and therefore the foundation for morality has also become relative. As Dr. Denison said, “Sexual truth is what I say it is,” or “my body, my choice,” from abortion, to euthanasia, to gender.[5] When society accepts no universal Truth, it has denied the foundation for understanding God’s moral standards.

In his 1983 Templeton Prize address, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn offered this summary explanation for why all the horrors of Soviet communism came to pass, “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”[6] The false assertion that “God is dead” did not start with postmodernism. It reaches back to Nietzsche, where we find the “tendency to be suspicious of any claims to absolute moral truth and a rejection of religion as distasteful.”[7] For Nietzsche, freedom is freedom from essentialism and for self-creation. People have turned themselves into their own god, and by becoming god, they have taken on the responsibility of becoming the author of their own knowledge and ethics. They become the creator of their own world.[8] Paul warned of this tendency in his letter to the Romans stating, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21-22).

Constructing Truth

The postmodern belief in a social construct has given individuals license to be the creator of their own world. The inner psychological life of the individual has become sovereign, and identity is limited only by one’s imagination. With this radical individualism, what is meaningful, valuable, important, good and bad, right and wrong becomes personal. This is where we find the rejection of biblical morality. In a world where everything known is relative and believed to be constructed, not judging becomes the highest moral virtue. As Carl Trueman explains in The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, this helps explain the phenomenon of making the classroom a “’safe place’ where students go not to be exposed to ideas that may challenge their deepest beliefs and commitments…but to be affirmed and reassured.”[9] It also helps to understand the crises enveloping the West, including the rejection of Christianity, the breakdown of the family, loss of communal purpose, sexual immorality, erasing the boundaries between men and women, and the evil spirit found in abortion that denies the sacredness of human life. [10] Men have forgotten God. They are attempting to make themselves into a god and, in doing so, have also forgotten what it is to be man. They have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).

Due to this, “God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, [and] malice.” (Rom. 1:28-29). When society forgets God and places themselves in His position, they do not lose religion. They have created their own. The rejection of biblical morality does not mean the denial of a moral framework. Individuals that have embodied Social Justice or embraced Wokeness have things they live for and would be willing to fight for and even die. They have created a new ethical framework within their new religion. Examples are what they regard as racial justice, homosexual rights, and environmental justice. They have a faith, but it is a pagan faith. But what is it about the Woke faith that warrants labeling it “pagan”? Professor Steven Smith explains:

“Pagan religion locates the sacred within this world. In that way, paganism can consecrate the world from within: it is religiosity relative to an immanent sacred. Judaism and Christianity, by contrast, reflect transcendent religiosity; they place the sacred, ultimately, outside the world.”[11]

They worship creation. This pagan orientation “accepts this world as our home, and does so joyously, exuberantly, and worshipfully.”[12] For this reason, God gave them up to their dishonorable passions and though “they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve” judgment, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:26, 32). Now, anything that challenges the “approval” of these “passions” is viewed as oppressive and dangerous.

Christian Oppressors

Since at least 2014, Christians in the U.S. have lived in the Negative World, where society has come to hold a negative view of our faith. The days of comfortable Christianity are over. In today’s world, to be known as a Christian is a social negative, especially among the American elite. Biblical morality is openly repudiated and viewed as a threat to the public good.[13] We are in a similar position to the first-century Christians in imperial Rome. If we are to remain faithful to our Lord, then we are “quite literally intolerable,”[14] which is the third quake we will be discussing next.

See all posts in The Coming Cultural Tsunami series here.

Notes


*Featured Image, L.Filipe C.Sousa on Unsplash

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).

[2] Douglas Groothuis, “The Biblical View of Truth Challenges Postmodernist Truth Decay,” Themelios 26, no. 1 (2000): 19.

[3] David Clemens, “Judith Butler’s Deific Damage,” Academic Questions 33, no.2 (2020): 219.

[4] Mark Bauerlein, “Social Constructionism: Philosophy for the Academic Workplace,” Partisan Review 68, no. 2 (2001): 228-241.

[5] Jim Denison, “The Coming Tsunami,” Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, September 7, 2021, video of lecture, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUEo4up1y6E&t=270s.

[6] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “’Men Have Forgotten God’: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1983 Templeton Address,” National Review, December 11, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/aleksandr-solzhenitsyn-men-have-forgotten-god-speech/.

[7] Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 111-112.

[8] Ibid., 110.

[9] Ibid., 33.

[10] Ibid., 12.

[11] Steven Smith, Pagans and Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac (Eerdmans, 2018), quoted in Robert George, “The Pagan Public Square: Our Christian Duty to Fight Has Not Been Cancelled,” Touchstone, May/June 2020, https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=33-03-024-f.

[12] Robert George, “The Pagan Public Square: Our Christian Duty to Fight Has Not Been Cancelled,” Touchstone, May/June 2020, https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=33-03-024-f.

[13] Aaron Renn, “The Three Worlds of Evangelicalism,” First Things, February 2022, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/the-three-worlds-of-evangelicalism.

[14] George, “The Pagan Public Square.”

Published by Tyler Tennies

Finding Life in the Word is my place to share thoughts on life. I write every day and my page is a good outlet to write about topics I’m interested in.

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