Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Who is President Obama?"---How Relativism Shapes the Culture and Individuals

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The Hill, not known to be a conservative voice, is asking of President Obama, "Who is he? "

"Five months into his second term, allies and enemies are as confounded as ever about who President Obama really is," they report.

They ask, "Is he the dyed-in-the-wool liberal that his biggest supporters and critics suggest? Or is he a pragmatic, even cynical politician who cares more for his popularity than taking risks for his individual goals or living up to his rhetoric?"

One thing is certain. Both sides agree, he does not live up to his rhetoric. What he says and what he does most often stands in stark contrast.

This is not so much about President Obama as it is about a bigger, broader picture.

However, his comments on Father's Day weekend provide a perfect example of one of the core problems in our culture. How relativism shapes and individual and a culture.


Most of us know that often, perhaps very often, among many politicians, there are the moments when they elevate their own ambitions, their career and personal benefits above principle and values.

The Hill article linked above points out a number of seemingly conflicting positions the President has taken including his strong opposition to the Iraq war as a candidate and now the likelihood that he will take America into the civil war in Syria.

The Hill points out the duplicity in his position on the Keystone XL Pipeline. First he opposed it on the grounds of environmentalism--now he is poised to okay it.

Has the environment improved to the point that it is now acceptable to install the pipeline? You can read the comments in the linked article.

The most profound example of duplicity or conflicted beliefs is in the President's radio message on Father's Day weekend.

The President, who is working to advance same-sex marriage and enshrine it into American law as legal and normal and whose Department of Justice has argued before the Supreme Court that children need neither a father or mother to have a culturally and socially sound childhood, said this past weekend, "There will never be a substitute for a father."

He said young people need "a strong male roll model."

He spoke of his own life and the loss he feels as a result of the absence of his own father. "I really never knew my own father," he said, "That's why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me." He said, "I've met plenty of other people--dads and uncles and men without family connection---who are trying to break the cycle and give more of our young people a strong role model."

Then, as though he suddenly had a reality check and remembered the party line, he made it plain he was directing his comments to parents who were both "straight" and "gay."

How do those beliefs apply to a family with two mommies or two daddies? They don't.

The argument for a male father that the President made this past weekend is the same argument the supporters of Proposition 8 in California made in defense of marriage.

The Supreme Court will rule on Prop. 8 this month. The supporters of Prop. 8 said the state has an interest in marriage as between one man and one woman because that is the optimum place to raise a child---a male father and a female mother.

On behalf of Prop. 8, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., told the Court, '"The best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father."

But the Department of Justice, directed by the President, told the Court, “As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing.”

“To the contrary," Obama's Justice Department said, "many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”

“The weight of the scientific literature strongly supports the view that same-sex parents are just as capable as opposite-sex parents,” said the Obama Justice Department.

Duplicity.

Relativism has gotten us to where we are in our culture.

For the past several generations, our children have been indoctrinated in the fundamentals of relativism, which stands in absolute contrast to the eternal, unchanging Truth of God's Word.

Our children have been taught there is no consistent standard of true and false, right or wrong, good or bad.

Therefore, my truth is different than your truth and all is equally valid. That is how you get to a place where you simultaneously believe in something and not believe in it.

Relativism provides no moral compass. Each individual drifts about on a sea of uncertainty. Every person does what is right in his own eyes.

John Piper, one of the great theologians of our times, has given a sermon on this subject. I have linked it here. If you want to be informed biblically as to how relativism shapes an individual and a culture, take a little time and read it---or listen to the audio.

Consider this:

1. Relativism commits treason.

Relativism is a revolt against the objective reality of God. The sheer existence of God creates the possibility of truth. God is the ultimate and final standard for all claims to truth—who he is, what he wills, what he says is the external, objective standard for measuring all things. When relativism says that there is no standard of truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone, it speaks like an atheist. It commits treason against God.

In James 2:10-11, we see the dynamics of treason in relation to God’s law: “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” Why? “For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’” The key to James’ argument here is that he connects our relation to God’s law with our relation to God himself. The reason your failure in one point makes you guilty of all is that the same God gave all the law—and what matters is that in rebelling against the law you are rebelling against him.

Relativism is a pervasive rebellion against the very concept of divine law. Therefore, it is the most thoroughgoing rebellion against God. It is a treason that is worse than outright revolt because it is devious. Instead of saying to God’s face, “Your word is false,” it says to man, “There is no such thing as a universally binding divine word.” This is treason.

2. Relativism cultivates duplicity.

Everyone knows in his heart that believing relativism to be true is contradictory, and everyone also knows intuitively that no one even tries to put it into practice consistently. Therefore, both philosophically and practically, it cultivates duplicity. People say they believe in it but do not think or act consistently with what they say. They are hypocrites. Relativism breeds hypocrisy and duplicity.

It is contradictory because the very process of thinking about relativism commits you to truths that you do not treat as relative. Relativists employ the law of non-contradiction and the law of cause and effect whenever they talk about their belief in relativism and its relation to the world, and these laws are not relative. If they were, relativists could not even formulate the premises and conclusions that they say lead them to relativism. This is a deep duplicity. And when one does it knowingly, it is immoral. The king keeps saying he has clothes on, when he knows he is naked. People keep saying all is relative when they know their very thinking and talking involves principles they do not think are relative.

3. Relativism conceals doctrinal defection.

One of the most tragic effects of relativism is the effect it has on language. In a culture where truth is esteemed as something objective and external to ourselves that we should pursue and embrace and cherish and employ for the good of the people, language holds the honorable place of expressing and carrying and transmitting that precious cargo of truth. In fact, a person’s use of language is assessed on the basis of whether it corresponds to the truth and beauty of the reality he expresses.

4. Relativism cloaks greed with flattery.

Apparently, the apostle Paul was accused in Thessalonica of simply wanting money from his converts. When he responds to this, he shows the link between flattery and greed:

Our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-5)

What is flattery? It’s the use of language to make someone feel good about himself with a view to getting what you want. Paul calls it a pretext for greed. When relativism has abolished truth as the governor of language, language itself goes on sale. If we can get more money by telling people what they want to hear, we will give them what they want.

Relativism is the perfect atmosphere for turning language into a pretext for greed by flattering people with what they want to hear. This is no surprise to Paul. “The time is coming,” he says, “when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

5. Relativism cloaks pride with the guise of humility.

If you believe in a truth that all people must embrace in order to be saved, you will be called arrogant. On the other hand, relativism is put forward as the mark of humility. What I want to suggest is not that all lovers of truth are humble, but that relativism is not a humble stance but a cloak for pride.

It works like this. Truth with a capital T—Truth rooted in God’s objective reality and word—is a massive, unchanging reality that we little humans must submit to. Knowing is the humble task of putting ourselves under this reality and submitting to it. Understanding is literally taking the humble position to stand under the truth and let it be our rule.

But what about relativism? It poses as humble by saying: “We are not smart enough to know what the truth is—or if there is any universal truth.” It sounds humble. But look carefully at what is happening. It’s like a servant saying: I am not smart enough to know which person here is my master—or if I even have a master. The result is that I don’t have a master and I can be my own master. That is in reality what happens to relativists: In claiming to be too lowly to know the truth, they exalt themselves as supreme arbiter of what they can think and do. This is not humility. This is the essence of pride.
6. Relativism enslaves people.

In John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If we cultivate a view of truth that makes it unreachable or non-existent, then we create a kind of Christianity that will simply colonize slaves. People are not freed from sin through the fog of relativism. They stay in chains.
7. Relativism leads to brutal totalitarianism.

The formula is simple: When relativism holds sway long enough, everyone begins to do what is right in his own eyes without any regard for submission to truth. In this atmosphere, a society begins to break down. Virtually every structure in a free society depends on a measure of integrity—that is, submission to the truth. When the chaos of relativism reaches a certain point, the people will welcome any ruler who can bring some semblance of order and security. So a dictator steps forward and crushes the chaos with absolute control. Ironically, relativism—the great lover of unfettered freedom—destroys freedom in the end.

Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Active. Be Blessed.

12 comments:

  1. The repeated message in the book of Judges, including the last verse (Judges 21:25) - "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." The Children of Israel enjoyed very little peace or freedom during the time of the judges, being enslaved both from without and from within.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just read a god book , "Still the Best hope" by Dennis Prager
    He splits the main differences into three categories . Europeans Style Socialism , Islamism, and Americanism. He spoke to the morality that each group held .He made clear that their were good and bad on all sides of the issues , but made a strong support for Americanism . The book perhaps can explain why say certain people will be more inclined to support a small government view over a larger government view. Why those on the left will blame crime on poverty , racism and another group will blame individual morality . A few distinctions I took from the book are below , Leftism is a term used for the European Style Socialism view , secular in nature . Americanism is a reflection of the Judeo Christian ethic morality. Atheist, Jews , Christians and all groups of people also can share in this morality . Atheist for instance may have no belief in God but still appreciate the freedom and choices that the morality of those with a Judeo Christian Ethic do extend .Its a mistake to demonize secularist ,because their morality is the problem , not their concern for their fellow man . Religion is not the problem in my opinion in regards to our problems we face , but the Judeo Christian ethic I believe keeps our neighborhoods safer , and our freedom better secured . Some examples between secularist and those with a more Bible based morality .
    Mick





    Americanism will support Liberty , In God We trust, E Pluribus unum their

    main concern …… Liberty



    Leftism material Equality



    Americanism believes Individual character builds strong communities

    Leftism Get rid of in equality and you will have a better behaved society.



    Americanism believes in Small government ,

    Leftism believes in Big Government



    Americanism believes Wealth should be created

    Leftism redistribute it



    Americanism believes values are Universal,taken from the Judeo Christian ethic.

    Leftism Relative to individual and or society



    Americanism believes Evil comes from individual

    Leftism socio economic forces causes wrong doing .



    Americanism family headed by mom and dad

    leftism Only Love is needed in families



    Religion should be in our society

    Leftism believes Secularism should be only in our society



    Americanism believes America is exceptional.

    Leftism believes America exceptionalism is a chauvinistic doctrine



    Americanism believes Evil is our biggest threat

    Leftism believes Global warming is our biggest threat.



    Americanism believes Teen age sex should be discouraged by family and society

    Leftism says Teens will do what they want , teach safe sex .



    Americanism teaches some cultures are superior then others

    Leftism believes No culture is superior

    Americanism believes America is the least racist society

    Leftism believes Racism is all around



    Americanism believes Violent crimes caused by individuals

    Leftism believes Violent crimes caused by inequality



    Americanism stands for a strong military Pacifist did not free Jews from death camps

    Leftism believes War is not the answer


    Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/heart/2013/06/18/america-still-the-best-hope/#ixzz2WaLp90rU
    Follow us: @KitsapSun on Twitter | KitsapNews on Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just read a god book , "Still the Best hope" by Dennis Prager
    He splits the main differences into three categories . Europeans Style Socialism , Islamism, and Americanism. He spoke to the morality that each group held .He made clear that their were good and bad on all sides of the issues , but made a strong support for Americanism . The book perhaps can explain why say certain people will be more inclined to support a small government view over a larger government view. Why those on the left will blame crime on poverty , racism and another group will blame individual morality . A few distinctions I took from the book are below , Leftism is a term used for the European Style Socialism view , secular in nature . Americanism is a reflection of the Judeo Christian ethic morality. Atheist, Jews , Christians and all groups of people also can share in this morality . Atheist for instance may have no belief in God but still appreciate the freedom and choices that the morality of those with a Judeo Christian Ethic do extend .Its a mistake to demonize secularist ,because their morality is the problem , not their concern for their fellow man . Religion is not the problem in my opinion in regards to our problems we face , but the Judeo Christian ethic I believe keeps our neighborhoods safer , and our freedom better secured . Some examples between secularist and those with a more Bible based morality .
    Mick





    Americanism will support Liberty , In God We trust, E Pluribus unum their

    main concern …… Liberty



    Leftism material Equality



    Americanism believes Individual character builds strong communities

    Leftism Get rid of in equality and you will have a better behaved society.



    Americanism believes in Small government ,

    Leftism believes in Big Government



    Americanism believes Wealth should be created

    Leftism redistribute it



    Americanism believes values are Universal,taken from the Judeo Christian ethic.

    Leftism Relative to individual and or society



    Americanism believes Evil comes from individual

    Leftism socio economic forces causes wrong doing .



    Americanism family headed by mom and dad

    leftism Only Love is needed in families



    Religion should be in our society

    Leftism believes Secularism should be only in our society



    Americanism believes America is exceptional.

    Leftism believes America exceptionalism is a chauvinistic doctrine



    Americanism believes Evil is our biggest threat

    Leftism believes Global warming is our biggest threat.



    Americanism believes Teen age sex should be discouraged by family and society

    Leftism says Teens will do what they want , teach safe sex .



    Americanism teaches some cultures are superior then others

    Leftism believes No culture is superior

    Americanism believes America is the least racist society

    Leftism believes Racism is all around



    Americanism believes Violent crimes caused by individuals

    Leftism believes Violent crimes caused by inequality



    Americanism stands for a strong military Pacifist did not free Jews from death camps

    Leftism believes War is not the answer


    ReplyDelete
  4. Well said Gary. Hope many forward this to friends and family. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Gary. Very true and informative.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Part of the reason Gary’s side is losing the debate on gay issues is its insistence that gay marriage is somehow anti-father or anti-mother. If you squint the argument appears to have some validity, but upon even slight examination, it lacks all logic.

    First, Gary is muddling two separate issues here: gay marriage and gay parenting. They happen independently of each other. Banning gay marriage does not and has not banned or even slowed gay parenting. Similarly, straight people can and do have children with and without marriage. We encourage straight couples with children to marry partly because it benefits those children. We should do the same for gay couples with children.

    Second, no one is against the unique roles mothers and fathers play in the lives of children. No one. But the gender make-up of the parents is not the ONLY factor that determines whether a child will grow up happy and healthy. There is love, the stability of the parents' relationship, the amount of time the parents spend with their children, their involvement in their schools and lives, not to mention income, access to health care. By pretending that ONLY a mom/dad household is a good place to raise children does more harm than good. I would rather be raised by two moms who love me and are involved in my life, than a mom and a dad where the dad is absent, distant, and unloving. These are both real-life situations, but in the anti-gay myopic world, the latter is ALWAYS better than the former.

    Third, Obama referenced a father he had and lost in 1982 to a car accident. He’s not the child of two mom’s longing for a biological father he never knew. His words touch nearly every gay person out there, including myself. I’ve lost my father, too, after knowing and loving him. But I see no conflict with a lesbian couple having children. There is no comparison.

    Despite the opinions of every major child-welfare government organization in the country, Gary and his ilk still try to insist that gay people should not have children / get married. YET, I‘ve yet to see a single instance of Gary standing up, in the name of children, to prevent children from being raised by those who really can do harm to children: those who do not spend time with their children, those who do not love each other, those who do not have the money to raise their children and provide health care and schooling or food, those who lack relationship skills to hold a family together, etc.

    Instead, it’s gay people! gay people! gay people! 24/7, even though most of the world has already figured out that gay people can be just as good (or just as bad) at parenting as straight people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we're going to continue debating the merits of raising children by gay parents, then we should also be debating the long term harm done to children raised in extremely religious homes. Unlike the anti-gay argument, there actually exists lots of documentation of serious problems caused by overly religious environments.

      Delete
    2. Disagree with your premise that the pro traditional side of marriage lost any debate . Nor the pro homosexual marriage side won . We have a changing morality in this country . One that says morality is not based on Universal values for one , that is part of it . A secularized morality that promotes love only is required in relationships . That morality has a lot do with other things , like sex with kids is said can not be stopped so teach safe sex . Instead of a society promoting no sex till marriage , that is just one of many values . To suggest that a debate can be held with two different moralities and have a debate on a culture that one side just one families exist , some families can live together , some can have single Moms , with all preferences having no clear standard is why gay marriage won . Has little to do with gay marriage in my opinion . The morality and culture had more to do with it . Next generation may have a different culture and marriage may once again be re defined . Your kids if you have any may agree with it or not , but if they have a similar morality to you I assume it will be no big deal to them . They will look at it as equality .

      But just like abortion , just like beliefs of smaller government , a belief system that sees character as the problem in making sound communities instead of government policies will continue to conflict with each other.

      This is really nothing knew when you look at world history . From my point of view I read the Bible and see many times where Israel for instance went back and forth with their value system .

      To suggest that one side has better people , more caring or loving is bogus .
      Politics of course is a terrible way to promote politics though I agree.

      Of course gender is important . They have distinct differences . I also believe cultures are different and some cultures are superior to others . Not the people , but the culture that allows people to be free.
      many people who share your opinion in gender being no big deal find my view of superior cultures ignorant and even bigoted .

      There was no real debate , public schools have a lock in dealing with kids today , our kids live in a world where all roads are equal , being exposed to that morality as we all have has caused more problems then less.

      Multi culturalism has failed in Europe , and the problems they are facing are becoming violent because of it . Lets hope that never happens here , Being a melting pot had so many benefits to us , we are the least racist , most tolerant culture in the world in my opinion . We have so many races, nationalities , beliefs that use to come together as one on certain values . That is disappearing .

      Mick

      Delete
    3. Mick, you are making this more than it is. This is not about "two moralities." This is about a single issue (gay marriage) or a set of issues (gay rights in general) and people coming to a realization that past attitudes and our treatment of gay people has been wrong and unfair.

      I did not say you have lost. But I said you are losing. It is clear from the polls that you are losing fast.

      Finally, no one here is saying that gender "is not that important." I'm just saying that there are LOTS of important factors -- gender is one of them -- and we allow people to marry all of the time who lack some of those important things. Again, the gender of the parents alone does not dictate child-rearing outcomes. It's nonsense to ban gay people from having children, just like it would be to ban people making less than $30K a year, etc. etc.

      And, finally, while gender is important, studies show again and again and again that kids fare just as well in same-sex households as they do in opposite-sex ones.

      This is not about morality. This is about common sense.

      Delete
  7. Hope everyone forwards this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So what happens to a country whose native born birth rates are falling thru the floor? What happens when those children born have no allegiance to this country or any country....just to themselves? What happens when fathers no longer form stable, loving families....they just make lots of babies and move on? What happens when those abandoned children know nothing but government handouts in order to live? What happens when over 50% of the children have no father-no stability-no teaching that there is a God higher than themselves, no teaching that they should care about the feelings and welfare of others as much as themselves...and.the majority are about me first--hand over a car, house, job or I'll shoot you? I fear in the next ten years, we are about to find out what happens when a county crashes into anarchy and real poverty and lawlessness prevail....may God have mercy on us.

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  9. We are reaping what was sown in the Protestant "Reformation".

    ReplyDelete

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