The World As We Knew It, Part One: Changing Views In The General Public

Talking to campus ministers and others I have noticed a change in the outlook our young people have regarding life and morality.  Foundations and points of view that we have taken for granted our entire lives have suddenly vanished from the conversation.  Beliefs that were shared by the generations of America, religious or not, have suddenly disappeared from view.

A recent encounter with students at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia left a friend of mine confused at the turn in these members of an institute of higher learning.  My friend has been preaching on the campus for a number of years.  On a recent Sunday night he began a bible study with interested students.  To increase the interest, the study was held at a pizza parlor near the campus.  The first group of students included three Catholic students, a Baptist student, and a self-proclaimed agnostic.

These students began with one question:  “Who gave you the authority to tell us that we are sinners?”  The heart of the question goes to the concept that none of us has the right to declare something good or something bad.  It even goes deeper than that by silently declaring that nothing about God is definite.  We cannot say what is sin or what is acceptable behavior.  That is judgment and not what they consider love.  They have grown up in a society where everything is acceptable as long as you feel good about yourself.

Herein lies the danger.  Labeling any speech inappropriate simply because we do not like the message helps create the problem.  That is why I am a pure free speech advocate.  To pick and choose what is acceptable is intellectually dishonest to me.  Thus, I believe in the right to a public debate on God—by those who believe he exists and those who know he never existed.

The interesting dynamic here is that at the same time we are finding speech limited because it might be offensive—i.e. calling sin sin and sinners sinners—we are finding ourselves faced with violence, nudity, and profanity on our televisions and radios in the name of free speech.  This means that if you get paid to speak you have free speech that cannot be censored in any way.  If you make your speech for free, in public, it is no longer free and you are subject to censorship.

Hollywood and the music industry shove down our throats that artists have an uncensorable right to express themselves.  Then, they go further by claiming that we do not have the right to question their positions or call for boycotts of their work when we disagree with their viewpoint.  So, we have to accept their speech or risk being black balled by them.

Yet, when we in turn begin a public debate about what we consider important we find ourselves being mocked and ridiculed publicly.  The tolerant moral less students on our college campuses are tolerant of all speech and ideas—unless it is speech of ideas with which they disagree.  Then we become bigots or hypocrites or fear mongers or too judgmental.

We must ask ourselves which is more judgmental, the idea that all men and women have sinned and need a way out of sin or that sin is too harsh a word and everyone is basically good, as long as everyone agrees with us?

In the name of free speech, we are finding our freedom to speak limited without good cause.

We must once again agree to disagree, in public without violence or disruption.

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Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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