When I was growing up, my parents would often say to me, “You know better!” as I messed up, and said and did things that were foolish or wrong. We are watching the infantilizing of our social ethos as emotionalism, erotic passions, and ideological narratives triumph over critical thinking, lasting virtues, and the search for the truth.
“We know better” a friend said to me in a coffee shop recently as we shared about many “hot topics.” As he spoke, my mind went to a whole list of inversions and perversions that are being peddled as true, and any disagreement is labeled as hatred, intolerance, or one of the new “phobias” that pop up each day.
In several coming posts, I will continue this theme of “We know better” and offer insights around the following issues where we deceive ourselves:
- We know that abortion kills a pre-born human being. While we may differ on permissibility, we know that a life is ending. Replacing “baby” with “fetus” does not change this.
- We know that the future of any child is improved when the biological parents finish high school, delay children until after marriage, work, and stay married. We know that fatherlessness is destroying communities trapped in poverty.
- We know that China is a serious threat to democracy and freedom, yet we refuse to take serious measures to confront their aggrandizements and injustices.
- We know that the world will not end in 10 or 100 years from climate change, but people in power love apocalyptic narratives that infringe on personal liberties, compel wealth transfers, and destroy the middle- and working classes.
- We know there are two biological sexes and that all but a miniscule number of persons are born female or male. We also know there are complexities involved in attractions and gender identity, but these do not change the binary nature of humankind.
- We know there are structural challenges to achieving equality for all people. We also know that every story of success includes agency, relationships, and hard work, regardless of gender or race.
- We know that parents bear primary responsibility for their children, including their education, religious beliefs, and moral sensibilities. We also know that teachers should be teaching basic subjects that prepare children for adulthood in the 21st century.
We know better about all of these topics…and we are afraid. We fear being labeled as the oppressor of women for opposing abortion. We fear being called racist for demanding fathers take responsibility for children they are producing. We are afraid of being called colonialist or xenophobic when we call out the Chinese government (We have no contentions with Chinese people per se) for its abuses. We are called callous capitalists if we do not mouth the inanities of climate fear. We are considered zealots and full of hatred for affirming basic biology. Making the family more important than government is impeding the “long march of Marxism” (Os Guinness) and hence the “new freedom” of the “new humanity” shaped by collectivism.
It is time to displace fear with love, for the Bible says that, “Love perfected casts out fear.” If we love God and our neighbor and desire flourishing for all, we will “know better” and stop lying to ourselves. Let’s not just react, but respond to these inanities with courage, love, and wisdom, seeking the maximum consensus possible. Stay tuned. In the next post we will take on abortion and offer a new vision for receiving children as gifts from God.
A critical mind is not a judgmental heart.
May we (re)learn the art of evaluating arguments and evidence, without castigation or hypocrisy. Disagreeing with another’s perspective – even on moral and political issues – does not mean hatred or intolerance.
Living peaceably with our deepest differences while we find common principles of ordered liberty requires humility and courage.
A Joyful Lament:
Lord, hear my praises and receive my tears:
Rejoicing in the goodness, love and power of Christ.
Lamenting the immature and polarizing words of people in power, from the President to celebrities.
Rejoicing in all the good work done by millions no one hears about.
Lamenting the sufferings of so many and praying for comfort in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, Mexico City and scores of other locales.
Rejoicing in the progress of many dialogues, community outreaches and on-the-ground renewing of communities.
Lamenting the inability of so many to live with diverse views and honor one another.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, come anew with purifying and transforming grace.
Dear friends of conscience from all parties or none:
It is time for a new conversation.
When racism is veiled in patriotism, it is time to call this evil.
When anarchism is veiled in justice language, it is time to expose destructive agendas.
When advocates for the Left propose things they know they cannot fund, it is time to say, “Get real!”
When advocates for the Right forget the serious historical and systematic injustices oppressing millions, it is time to say, “Repent!”
When we like someone or approve their agenda, we overlook often egregious faults.
When we dislike someone or their agenda, the smallest flaws are reason for rejection.
I am ready to converse, pray and roll up my sleeves with all that desire every person and community to flourish.
Yes, we will disagree on (sometimes eternally) important things.
I will defend the rights of others that I desire for myself.
What I cannot defend is hatred and violence.
The new conversation starts today – even in our posts!
Global lovers of liberty face an implacable enemy that believes that they are destined to subjugate the world in the name of Islam. Yes, most of our Muslim neighbors reject this intolerant and violent ideology, but their religion has no reforming stream powerful enough to counter the dedication of both Shi’ite and Sunni radicals.
It is up to people of conscience – of all faiths or none – to rally wisely with the future of freedom at stake.
In the USA, the Left and Right are both failing is their responses. Here are some reflections to create a different kind of dialogue:
Compassion and strength are not opposites.
Resisting ISIS, Hamas, Al-Qaeda will require both.
Without losing our values, we can devise military and political resistance that is more than an occasional foray.
I challenge the Left to realize that there are millions of folks – not economically deprived and oppressed – that want our destruction. “Love and peace” banners are not enough. Wishing away the hatred of those dedicated to our demise will not make it so.
I challenge the Right to end jingoism and offer strategic ideas for alliances and long-term effective action. We must not descend to the level of the enemies we face. It is possible to love our enemies even as we resist their hatred and violence.
I challenge oil-rich Islamic nations to welcome millions of refugees in the name of their hospitable religion. A Silicon Valley Imam recently agreed with me that given the wealth of many Islamic nations, there should not be a single Muslim living in poverty.
“Can’t we all just get along?”
Sometimes the answer is a tragic, “No.”
But Christ offers a divine, “Yes!” to all who repent…and that is our greatest “weapon” – gospel love and truth that transcends culture, ideology and national interests.