Monday, November 26, 2007

Christianity and the Culture War (part 1)

What is the relation between Christianity and the Culture War? Should Christians be involved in it through speaking out against homosexuality and supporting the crimalization of homosexuality (or in other countries perhaps to lobby against the passage of bigoted, homofascist "hate speech" laws)?

It can be easily seen that the Scriptures are very clear on various social issues such as the wickedness of homosexuality. Also, on issues such as the evil of abortion and the rightness of the death penalty, Scriptures is abundently clear. Yet the question will be asked as to whether we should 'impose' our religious values upon others who are not themselves Christians. After all, religious freedom is something which is biblical after all.

Such a question shows a lack of understanding of the nature of moral laws and of society. Moral laws are such that there can be no neutrality; taking no stand IS a stand for anarchy, which no one will ever want in society anyway. As an example, let us consider the homosexual agenda in Singapore, who is intensely lobbying for decriminalzation of their behavior. They would argue that the society can just not make a statement regarding it, or that the society could be indifferent towards it (ie neither affirming nor discriminating against it). This is of course not feasible. What the homosexuals want is for the state and others to believe that it is morally wrong for the state to get involved in questions of morality, which is of course a self-defeating notion. For to truly believe that a state should not get involved in questions of morality would mean that the state would be willingly powerless and in a state of anarchy whereby whoever happens to have the power (be they the majority or the elite minority) would impose their morality on others.

Since this is so, it is not a question of imposing morality, since in the final analysis, someone's or some group's morality would be imposed on the population anyway. Whether the morality being imposed is correct or wrong is another matter altogether (which would be judged by God and His Word). As such, to say that just because there are non-Christians out there means that we should not impose their moralty is just plain ridiculous. If you don't impose yours, someone else would impose theirs.

Now, this doesn't mean that by so doing, that would be much conflict with others even from different religions. Since all Man is created by God in the image of God, they would have enough light in them through General Revelation such that there is some form of common principles in which we can all agree upon. Barring some abberant people like the homofacists, this would mean that by and large, we would be able to get a largely consensus moral viewpoint which is suitable for governing society.

Christians thus are allowed to lobby for their views, similar to any other group, and if successful, to impose it through societal laws and regulations (similar to any other group). However, such should not be done in a contentious manner but politely. Also, execution of such laws should be limited to the public domain since they are meant for the sake of society and not individuals (unless those people decide to make their immorality a public matter)

The more serious question that Christians would need to grapple with is with regards to our calling as Christians. We are supposed to witness for Christ, and taking such a stand may antagonize and alienate those whom we are called to witness to. Also, since the Kingdom of God is not of this world (Jn. 18:36), why should we bother with earthly issues that clearly are not seen to be necessary for fulfiling the Great Commission?

With regards to the former objection, it must be stated that such an answer shows either the rejection of God's sovereignty in salvation, or a minsunderstanding of how taking a stand ought to be, or a straightforward fear of Man. Since God is the only one who saves, and He WILL draw His sheep (Jn. 6:37), we should not fear that taking a stand might antagonize and alienate our target audience. In fact, doing so might help in bringing in the Law of God and applying it to their life, showing their sinfulness and depravity before a Holy God, and therefore hopefully driving them to the cross. When taking a stand also, it is possible that many Christians see it as using the truth to club unbelievers with the truth. However, this is not how it should be done. Such a stand should be made in conjunction with the presentation of the Law of God. If done in a spirit of intellectual pride or arrogance, then obviously it is not right. As such, Christians should know that in the culture war, ultimately our taking a stand must always be a tool towards sharing the Gospel with them.

With regards to the latter objections, firstly it must be states that the Bible do tell us to be light and salt in this world (Mt. 5:13-16), thus we are not to run away from our responsibility to show people the way and preserve society. The Great Commission is not the only thing found within the pages of Scripture for sure, and thus we are to obey all of Scripture, not just the parts that we like or the "spiritual" parts only. Furthermore, Jesus' words that His Kingdom is not of this world when read in context is not a statement that says Christians are only to care about the other world and not this world, but rather that the cause of Christ is advanced by spiritual weapons and not the carnal weapons of the flesh. As such, taking a stand, political lobbying etc., is not something which advances the Kingdom of God but rather is just something which Christians are called to do as salt and light in the world.

Of course, as light, our ultimate purpose is to lead people to Christ, and as such, I would now turn.

[to be continued]

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