America’s Culture War: The Myth of Staying Neutral

John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Two months after the 9/11 terrorist attack, Tom Friedman wrote a New York Times article entitled “The Real War”. His suggestion of where the real war in America is waging may surprise you, but as you read excerpts from his 13-year-old article, you may see that the recent deconstruction of traditional, biblical marriage is a direct result from this ‘war’: “If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War III, we have to understand what this war is about. We’re not fighting to eradicate ‘terrorism’. We’re fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism, a view of the world that my faith must reign supreme and be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated. All faiths that come out of the biblical tradition — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — have the tendency to believe that they have the exclusive truth. The opposite of religious totalitarianism is an ideology of pluralism — an ideology that embraces religious diversity and the idea that my faith can be nurtured without claiming exclusive truth. America is the Mecca of that ideology.”

As Friedman says, the mecca for pluralism today is America, the nation founded on the objective truths of the Bible. Pluralism says all worldviews are equally valid, so no one can claim to know truth. To be clear, Christianity does not deny that other worldviews may have elements that are true, but our verse this week shows that Jesus Christ claims to be the exclusive truth about God. While most Americans would agree that God exists, it is a cultural taboo to claim that God has revealed Himself exclusively in Jesus Christ.

Pluralism is a direct, frontal assault on the Christian worldview. And we have just witnessed the destruction of yet another of the exclusive truth claims made by Christ Himself: that marriage is between a man and a woman. Today’s culture is at war against any book, code or person claiming to know how we should live. As a follower of Jesus Christ, living in pluralistic America means you will no longer be able to stay neutral.

So how do Christians in America respond to the new definition of marriage? On his ‘Reasonable Faith’ website, Christian philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig offers two answers. Below are excerpts from ‘Question 429: Supreme Court’s Redefinition of Marriage’:

“First, Christians must resolve to be resolutely counter-cultural… With this decision the pressure to conform will become intense in pop culture, the academy, the corporate world, and even in the church. Those who refuse to conform to the new orthodoxy will be vilified and pushed out. My fear is that the next generation of Christians will not have the strength to resist these pressures and will accommodate itself to same-sex marriage. Already, I hear young Christians saying that homosexual activity is not immoral if it is in the confines of marriage, a view that would have been unthinkable to first century Jews like Jesus of Nazareth. Just as early Christians were willing to take a stand against the corrupt pagan culture of the Roman empire, so today Christians must dare to be different and to live counterculturally.

That implies Christian activism. Christians must not abandon the political process but see this setback as a call to deeper engagement in the process. In his dissent, Justice Scalia observed that ‘Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination’ sits on the Court. That fact is a stinging indictment of the evangelical church. We have not set before our youth the vision of serving God by pursuing a career as a judge. We are reaping the whirlwind of our own passivity and lack of engagement. Now is not the time to withdraw to the sanctuary of our churches and institutions, but to involve ourselves in those public institutions that so shape the culture in which we live.

Second, Christians should continue efforts to evangelize the American people. It has been rightly said that America is a nation whose people are as religious as the people of India but whose government is as secular as the government of Sweden. Because of the separation of Church and State in this country—an increasingly precious Constitutional guarantee—we do not need governmental support in order for the Christian church to be dynamic and flourishing. Revival can come to this country even as its governmental institutions go to hell.”

If Christians truly hold to the truth of John 14:6, we have no other course of action than to stand firm in the gospel if we wish to remain true to ourselves, to who we are – followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.