via Dr. Bill Perkins, believingtounderstand.wordpress.com
The late Francis Schaeffer wrote frequently of the dangers of losing a universal, absolute definition of morality. Once morality shifts from the realm of the universal into the realm of the particular, morality simply becomes a matter of public opinion.
“We need univerals (absolutes) if we are to determine what is right and what is wrong. Not having universals, the modern concept is finally sociological: one asserts the statistics of public opinion of right and wrong, and a majority determines moral questions. Or we can think of an elite emerging to tell us what is right and what is wrong. But both of these approaches are merely matters of averages.”- Francis Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent.
Christians have long lamented the post-modern tendencies of modern culture, whereby truth is relegated to the realm of the relativistic whims of the beholder. Such thinking was on full display recently as liberals tripped over themselves in a desperate attempt to lavish praise on the dear departed Fidel Castro. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau summed up the misty-eyed consensus of the left in his statement regarding the death of Castro:
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
No mention of the atrocities committed by the Castro regime. No mention of the repression of dissent. No mention of the thousands imprisoned and murdered. No mention of the scores of refugees who have risked their lives to escape from Cuba, apparently in a desperate attempt to show their “deep and lasting affection for el Comandante.” So long as one shares in the liberal ideals of the proliferation of free healthcare and education, all other sins can be excused and overlooked.
It should be pointed out that such thinking is not new. This same brand of particular morality allowed for American slavery, and for German atrocities in the holocaust, and more recently, for the relentless slaughter of the unborn. Such selective morality has generally been accompanied by a healthy dose of self-deception. Africans are less than human, Jews are filthy rats, unborn babies are merely “fetuses.”
Schaeffer pointed out that, once unleashed, the shift in morality from the universal to the particular will soon infect all areas of our thought. This has been most clearly seen in the politics of the last twenty years. Right and wrong is not determined by an objective reality, but rather by the political affiliation of the person committing the act. Thus, when George W. Bush engaged in drone warfare, the right justified it, while the left condemned it. However, when Barack Obama engaged in the same tactics, the right suddenly discovered that it was morally questionable, while the left conveniently forgot.
While the loss of a universal morality in the realm of politics is well attested to, perhaps no event in recent history has shone a more glaring spotlight on this phenomenon than the rise of Donald Trump. Every aspect of Mr. Trump’s existence seems to be shrouded in myth. Whether it be his legendary business acumen in the eyes of his supporters, which seems questionable in light of his tax records and bankruptcy filings, or his equally legendary demonization on the part of his detractors. Donald Trump, depending on who you ask, is either the greatest man who ever lived on a mission to save America, or the most evil man who ever lived on a collision course to world destruction.
It seems that no matter where you look, a particular morality informs people’s opinions of our new President. Thus, the left angrily decries him as a vile sex offender, while at the same time praising the likes of Roman Polanski, who is unquestionably a vile sex offender. Conversely, throngs of right wing evangelicals have overlooked his seemingly endless string of offensive rhetoric, his multiple divorces, and his lucrative participation in the gambling and strip club industry- all the while no doubt decrying the decaying morality of America from their respective pulpits.
If recent trends are any indication, this epistemic confusion will only escalate over the next four years. So what is the solution to this conundrum? Can anything save us from the whims of morality by popular opinion? The only thing that can save us is if we return morality back to the realm of the universal. We must learn to stop determining right and wrong on the basis of whether we agree with the politics of the person in question, or on whether we think we will benefit from the result. Such thinking has left our land polluted with the blood of fifty million aborted babies.
Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump is our president, and he is an evil man just like everyone else. In light of this truth, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our children, and we owe it to God to stop making morality a matter of subjective opinion. And so, when President Trump does or says something that is objectively immoral, those on the right should seek to hold him accountable and stop pretending that he is the savior of America. And when he does something that is good and noble, those on the left should rightly praise him and stop pretending he is the devil incarnate. History has shown that morality by popular opinion has generally resulted in disaster. If we are to avoid such disaster over the next four years, both sides must put to death the myth of Donald Trump and accept him for who he is: a flawed and fallen human who is now the most powerful man in the world. Such power can only be a positive force if it is held in check by a citizenry that sees reality through the clear lens of an objective, universal moral standard.