Can the Unraveling of Our Culture Be Stopped?

Increasingly, I feel like our country and, indeed, our world, are unraveling at the seams. I run into an increasing number of people who think that, too; maybe you are one of them. Is there a solution? The short answer is yes, but only if we properly diagnose the problem and apply the correct solution.

In a speech in 1982, the late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer diagnosed the problem this way:

“Christians, in the last 80 years or so, have only been seeing things as bits and pieces which have gradually begun to trouble them and others, instead of understanding that they are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one. … We may be troubled with the individual thing, but in reality we are missing the whole thing if we do not see each of these things and many more as only symptoms of the deeper problem. And that is the change … from a Judeo-Christian consensus to a Humanistic one.” (emphasis mine)

Unraveling Bit by Bit

Here are some “bits” that may seem disconnected that we really need to connect. Several decades ago, many in our country were troubled by the no-fault divorce laws that led to the increased unraveling of marriages. But as a society, we moved on. Then we became troubled by same-sex “marriage.” And while many of us are still troubled by it, polls show that society is once again moving on. Now we’re troubled by the transgenderism movement that gives boys permission to shower in the girls’ locker room if they want to. Over the next five to ten years, will society “move on” regarding this issue as it has the others?

The answer, I believe, is yes, unless we realize that this progression is the product of a particular way of viewing the world and that this worldview needs to be replaced.

The Reigning Worldview

The worldview that ties together the changes in marriage policy to the developing changes in locker room policies was recently articulated during the oral arguments on the constitutionality of man-woman marriage. In response to the concerns by her fellow Justices that same-sex “marriage” was too out-of-step with world history, Justice Ginsburg said:

“You [proponents of same-sex “marriage”] wouldn’t be asking for this relief if the law of marriage was what it was a millennium ago. I mean, it wasn’t possible. Same-sex unions would not have opted into the pattern of marriage, which was a relationship, a dominant and a subordinate relationship. Yes, it was marriage between a man and a woman, but the man decided where the couple would be domiciled; it was her obligation to follow him. There was a change in the institution of marriage to make it egalitarian when it wasn’t egalitarian. And same-sex unions wouldn’t—wouldn’t fit into what marriage was once.” (emphasis mine)

Here we see Justice Ginsburg applying to marriage the evolutionary rationale employed by Darwin, who said micro changes in plant and animal life justified the assumption that there had been macro changes in those things, that one kind of “thing” had eventually become a completely different kind of thing.

Specifically, Justice Ginsburg was saying that a change regarding how the roles and responsibilities of marriage are allocated between a man and a woman in a marriage—a micro change, if you will—justifies or perhaps is even rooted in a macro change, an equality in biological sex. If this is true, then it is logical for her to treat men and women as interchangeable parts in regard to marriage.

But if men and women are interchangeable parts in regard to something as fundamental to the ordering of society as the institution of marriage, then logically how can they not be interchangeable when it comes to where one showers after gym class?

The Solution

If Schaeffer correctly diagnosed the problem, and I believe he did, then what can be done? If you ask me, the only institution that can do anything to affect the reigning worldview embraced by our other institutions is the church. And it can do one of two things. It can continue to teach a do’s and don’ts sexual ethic divorced from the context of the larger worldview story revealed in the Bible, or it can begin to systematically teach the biblical worldview that makes the sexual ethic hang together and do the even harder work of equipping its people to engage others at the worldview level.

What it will do I don’t know, but I do believe that if the church continues to choose the former, then everyone can grab their towel and head to the locker room of their choice.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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