There is nothing so frustrating as having a conversation with someone, attempting to reason with them, only to realize you have no idea where they are coming from. The problem is seldom a matter of understanding but of origin. Every single person possesses a worldview, whether they realize it or not. That world view serves as the foundation on which they interpret every event and do every deed. What happens then when worldviews collide?
In the same way you can’t cure a disease by merely treating the symptoms, you cannot heal cultural divisions by addressing only the arguments. We must comprehend the worldview from which the arguments emerge. Social and political positions may seem illogical, unreasonable and even offensive if we are uninformed concerning origin.
Millions have come to America looking for new life. They carry with them a worldview and culture different from most Americans and sometimes contrary to traditionally accepted beliefs and practices. This is the wonder and beauty of America. Our forefathers believed in “the marketplace of ideas,” meaning that every individual has the freedom to present his/her views and opinions in the public arena without fear of persecution. However, while people are treated equally, ideas are treated with scrutiny and discernment. Let’s face it, some ideas are just not very good. Some are beneficial to the safety and security of society while others are harmful. Some protect the rights of the innocent while others abuse and oppress the weak. These issues reveal how deeply America is influenced by Christian thought. Think for a moment. Why do we care about protecting the rights of the innocent? Why do we “feel” it’s wrong to abuse and oppress the poor?” Is it because our particular worldview sees life as sacred, possessing intrinsic worth? That we are more than blood and soil? Even the very basis on which we form our laws assumes the Judeo-Christian belief that all men are created in the image of God and therefore possess certain inalienable rights.
Ah, but herein lies the problem. What happens when we meet someone who does not agree with our view of origin and destiny nor the political or social views which follow? What happens when worldviews collide? Tolerating opposing views means refusing to discriminate against an individual for his/her political or social beliefs. However, tolerance does not mean accepting all political and social views as equally valid or equally true.
America is a democracy. If one immigrates to the United States one should not expect to convert her to a communist or socialist regime. Leaving Russia for a better life in America does not mean one has the right to expect America to conform to one’s own political or social precepts. What America does promise is no one is discriminated against for holding alternative political or social views. At the same time, neither should one expect a nation that has prospered beyond any other nation in the world to alter her political or social systems.
Unfortunately, both secularism and pluralism have gradually expelled America’s sacred origins and left her lost at sea without compass or sail. Unhinged from the Creator’s moorings she drifts on the violent waves of unrest and instability.
In her attempts to embrace all ideas as equally valid and equally true, the new America stands for nothing and falls for everything. As I stated in a previous post, “America has opened her arms so wide she is choking herself out of existence.”
What is the point in all of this? America, in the name of secularism, tolerance, and inclusion, has abandoned her origins, lost her ultimate point of reference, and detached herself from the source of her prosperity. Because she has fallen for the lie that everything is true, nothing is true. Therefore, every man or woman does what is right in his or her own eyes.
This is not the America in which most of us have grown up. My dear friend Ravi Zacharias said it best in his book entitled, “Deliver Us From Evil.”
“Let us go beyond the debate as to how orthodox or heterodox the founding fathers were. What is already beyond debate is that the fundamental precepts by which they wanted to govern could only have been possible within a biblical framework, not that of any other major religious system. But in our time the light of the ancient and tested blueprint of the soul....has once again been smothered at the whim of an autonomous culture. The imprint of Athens, Rome, and London are still upon us. But the all-important endowment of Jerusalem has been tossed to the winds.”
The divided America we see today is a direct result of snuffing out the one true objective authority that previously guided our positions and precepts. We must remember that was the Judeo-Christian worldview that told us that all men and women are created equally. The same book that denounces racism also denounces revenge and thievery and looting and murdering. The ends do not justify the means, no matter how honorable the ends.
Unfortunately, with no appeal to the objective authority of the Scriptures, each person does what is right in their own eyes. Governed by their own insatiable lusts, the American seems bent on destruction. Can we restore what has been lost? Absolutely. Can we discover a renewed society with minimal fear and maximum peace? Yes we can. I will offer solutions in my next post. Blessings.
Jeff Vines, Lead Pastor at ONE&ALL Church