Tolerance, Morality, & Freedom Part II: Morality

Written by Victor Stanley Jr.

Introduction

The following statement is put forth by a friend or acquaintance: “My biggest problem with Christianity is, for one, that Christians seem so intolerant and judgmental, and secondly, their sexual ethic seems to suppress basic human desires and our freedom to live fulfilled lives.” The question now raised is this, what response can be offered by the Christian who truly wants to engage the person who holds these views as well as the culture that shapes them? One can imagine that numerous responses are possible yet not all are plausible, some responses are consistent yet incoherent, and still other responses are coherent yet do not correspond to reality. Thus, the attempt must be made to offer a response that is plausible, consistent, coherent, and that corresponds to reality.

Morality

Morality is what guides and shapes a culture or society’s values and ethics. People’s understanding of complex issues of right and wrong can be traced back to their basic morality. What behaviors and practices a culture is willing to accept or reject as normative is determined by its morality, and herein lies the issue; the moral structure on which Western society in particular is and was built is being turned on its head.[1] Those things that have been almost universally considered morally wrong or abhorrent by all human cultures and societies throughout history are now being called good and acceptable. “[This] moral revolution is now so complete that those who will not join it are understood to be deficient, intolerant, and harmful to society,”[2] says Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. in his analysis of the sexual and moral revolution of the last seventy years.

Homosexuality is the topic at hand, and it has been a driving force behind the moral revolution. It is interesting how so great a shift in a culture’s morals can take place when such a small percentage of the culture actually identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Gallup puts the percentage of LGBT persons in the United States at 4.1% in 2016,[3] but surprisingly their research shows that in 2017 polls 51% of Americans support new civil rights protections for LGBT persons,[4] 64% support legal same-sex marriage, and 72% support legal same-sex relationships.[5] Their reports also shows trends for the last twenty years that reveal that these numbers are double what they were in 1997.

What becomes evident is that somehow the views of a minority have so effectively persuaded the masses that they have become the standard for the majority. The words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract clearly show how such a thing can take place:

“From the deliberations of a people properly informed, and provided its members do not have any communication among themselves, the great number of small differences will always produce a general will and the decision will always be good. But if groups, sectional associations are formed at the expense of the larger association, the will of each of these groups will become general in relation to its own members and private in relation to the state; we might then say that there are no longer as many votes as there are men but only as many votes as there are groups. The differences become less numerous and yield a result less general. Finally, when one of these groups becomes so large that it can outweigh the rest, the result is no longer the sum of many small differences, but one great divisive difference; then there ceases to be a general will, and the opinion which prevails is no more than a private opinion.”[6]

The great divisive difference of modern American society is same-sex relationships, and the prevailing private opinion that has become the general will is the belief that the historic understanding of homosexuality is archaic and oppressive.[7] In Western society right and wrong are no longer grounded in objective moral standards, but rather in the subjective will of the current culture. When a society begins to operate on this basis everything is suddenly up for grabs; all questions of right and wrong are now decided by the consensus of the group. And what of those who disagree with the group accord? They are now considered backwards, narrow-minded, and intolerant. They quickly become marginalized and ostracized, viewed as a threat to the forward progress of the culture, more than this they are considered dangerous and are subject to eradication.

Those who advocate for tolerance and subjective morality not only claim that those who disagree with them are intolerant and wrong, but they make it a point to go after their businesses, churches, schools, jobs, families, etc. in an effort to punish and silence them. This is a mob mentality that dictates its morality as the standard for all and defines tolerance as an acceptance of their views, to go against this is to be intolerant and to lack moral goodness. If such a position is considered to be the benchmark for freedom and self-expression, one wonders what restriction and suppression look like.


[1] R. Albert Mohler, We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, & the Very Meaning of Right & Wrong (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, 2015) pp. 1-3.

[2] Ibid, 3.

[3] Gallup Inc, “In US, More Adults Identifying as LGBT,” Gallup.com, accessed June 9, 2017, http://www.gallup.com/poll/201731/lgbt-identification-rises.aspx.

[4] Gallup Inc, “Americans Split Over New LGBT Protections, Restroom Policies,” Gallup.com, accessed June 9, 2017, http://www.gallup.com/poll/210887/americans-split-new-lgbt-protections-restroom-policies.aspx.

[5] Gallup Inc, “US Support for Gay Marriage Edges to New High,” Gallup.com, accessed June 9, 2017, http://www.gallup.com/poll/210566/support-gay-marriage-edges-new-high.aspx.

[6] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (London: Penguin, 2003) pp. 73.

[7] Mohler, We Cannot Be Silent, pp. 3.

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2 thoughts on “Tolerance, Morality, & Freedom Part II: Morality

  1. Vic,
    You have articulated the problem very well. I have held this to be the case for many years.
    Is this the response you are suggesting? Simply to analyze and expound upon the problem? I was hoping that you were going to give me a magic answer that would waylay all of the vicious responses I get when I tell others that they are operating in mob-rule mentality.
    Love what you do, Brother. Keep on!

    Like

    1. This is only part 2, did you read part 1? I’ll post part 3 tomorrow which deals with freedom and provides my conclusion to the topic. I don’t really give a definitive answer, but I believe I succeed in pulling the rug out from under the anti-Christian position and forcing the argument to be reframed.

      Definitely let me know your thoughts after you read part 3 tomorrow.

      Like

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