truthXchange just finished a marvelous conference on the important issue of “Gay Christianity,” in which we thoughtfully examined the biblical content that informs our decisions about homosexual practice in relation to the Church. We also heard powerful testimonies from some who have lived and left the gay lifestyle. Very few Millennials attended. This is disconcerting, since 75% of them accept homosexuality as normative. A recently converted Millennial, who works for a student Christian ministry and attended the conference, observed that almost all Millennials (including Christians) resist controversial subjects. If Christian Millennials will not think or talk about this, the future of the Church is compromised.
Perhaps they are intimidated. Ohio University is launching a “bias reporting system,” that requires both professors and students to report acts of “racism, sexism and homophobia.” Fortunately, many scholars and students are still arguing that such strictures hinder free speech and create an Orwellian aura. Nevertheless, other students nationwide, including those attending Ivy League schools (where veritas used to be the much-vaunted motto), are demanding “safe spaces,” where they are protected from hearing speech that makes them uncomfortable.
One area of intimidation is that of climate change. We often hear that the “climate change science is settled.” Some even advocate jailing “deniers.” Climate change is blamed for everything. Hillary Clinton recently claimed that hurricane Matthew was evidence of climate change, though hurricanes seemingly have little or no connection to climate change. (In fact, studies seem to show a five decade decrease in the frequency of the most powerful hurricanes). On a more foundational level, can we ever say that science is “settled”? (See truthXchange Senior Fellow, Cal Beisner’s important climate change blog Cornwall Alliance).
Another area of intimidation is that of homosexuality. Rod Dreher, in his article, “‘Shut Up, Bigot!’ The Philosophers Argued” (The American Conservative, Sept 26, 2016) recounts the response of the president of the Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) to a lecture on homosexuality given by Richard Swinburne, a respected Christian philosopher who teaches at Oxford. The lecture was relatively mild, but the president, Michael Rea (a Notre Dame philosopher) excoriated Swinburne for failing to respect the values of SCP, namely “diversity and inclusion.” How far have we come when even Christian philosophers censor debate?
How will the rising generation ever be educated if all they want to hear is what they think they already know? The issue is not simply academic. It is rooted in a profoundly spiritual transformation. The West is absorbing an Eastern (Oneist) approach to knowledge, unwittingly accepting the key Hindu concept of Advaita– Sanskrit for “not two.” We are rejecting the truth of Twoism: that the world is made up of distinctions, beginning with the greatest distinction of all, namely the distinction between God and the creation. The change we are seeing in our culture is deeply religious. As the Benham brothers, popular authors and speakers, recently and correctly said: “Today, America is not changing from Christian to secular, but from secular to pagan.”
In Advaita (Oneism), there are no ultimate distinctions, and so it is natural that critical thinking is profoundly undermined. Hindu gurus tell us to abandon the mind in order to feel a oneness with the god within. Feelings, not intellectual thought, determine our lives. Ideas from an opposing worldview threaten our very existence and must be avoided or silenced. Totalitarianism beckons.
I have been tracking those in contemporary culture who are determined to “eliminate the binary” (or twoness) in spirituality and sexuality. This elimination is now moving into the field of intellectual exchange, which takes us to the heart of contemporary Western culture. One teacher of four-year-olds discusses the implications, in her classroom, of the June 26th Supreme Court decision to legalize Same-Sex Marriage:
I work to create a classroom environment where differing points of view [men marrying men, women marrying women] can be addressed and explored. My goal is for the children to feel confident about articulating their point of view and safe enough to consider other perspectives. As teachers, we can model nonjudgmental behavior and challenge binary thinking.
The Supreme Court decision effectively legislated that one of the timeless binaries, the male/female distinction (the essence of human marriage), should no longer be a fundamental part of contemporary life. Now, in many places, though it apparently can’t be discussed in college, it must be taught to four-year-olds!
As Christians, though our Twoist worldview is under fire, we must not despair. This is a great occasion for the Gospel. A culture that denies thinking and discussion will end up in nonsense and self-contradiction. People will become so disoriented that they will long to hear clarifying, life-giving truth. Christians alone will be able to show them the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.