Monday, August 18, 2008

On man's nature...

You are likely on any given day to run into a man or woman with leanings to the left. In a nation that’s divided as evenly as the U.S. is between so called red states and blue states, you’re going to encounter a liberal or two or three or more as you go about your business.

So wouldn’t it be good to understand where they’re coming from, why they think as they do? It is, after all, easier to discuss how what you believe differs from what your friend believes when you know what your friend believes. So I want to talk to you about what your thinking liberal friend believes.

I do want to make a clear distinction here. There are people who think through their position on issues and there are robotic followers. The former have logical reasoning, at least to them, behind their ideas. The latter just repeat the mantras of their cause, shouting slogans and waving signs. There are thinkers and non-thinkers on the left. There are thinkers and non-thinkers on the right.

What I’m addressing in this message, then, are the views of those in the “progressive” camp who have actually reasoned through each truth they hold to be self-evident. I consider George Lakoff, author of Whose Freedom?, to be in this thinkers group, so I will refer to his views as we proceed this morning. (With apologies to Mr. Lakoff, I will not be able to quote him directly. Since I’m listening to his book as I drive down the road, I’m unable to take notes or highlight passages or underline or bookmark or flip back and forth to find what I’m looking for. If I misrepresent him in any way, it is done so unintentionally. He can take me to task if we ever meet up.

Let’s start at the beginning – the very beginning.

The very first time I yelled at Mr. Lakoff – I had quietly grumbled a few times before this – was when he made a statement concerning our nature as human beings. Here’s the gist of what he said: Since we are animals by nature, like any other animal, we should be free to do whatever is natural to us. No government, no religion should be allowed to restrict any human action that is harmless to others.

I pointed at my CD player when he said that and shouted, “That’s exactly what divides us!”

This belief that we are just animals evolved from muck doing what animals evolved from muck do is the one belief that leads to nearly every other erroneous assumption made by “broadminded” liberals. It is this view more than any other – I’m inserting my opinion here – that leads millions into sin.

How different this idea is from what God has revealed about our nature and the nature of all things in the Bible.

“In the beginning,” the good book says, “God created the heavens and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1, NIV) God is immediately established as the maker of all things. In this role as maker, God determines throughout the first week of this world’s existence the nature of everything that we see, all that we know. On day six, he made man and determined man’s nature.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image and in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27, NIV)

We are made, created, formed in God’s image. We are not animals in the same sense that a cow is an animal. Cows are creatures, to be sure, made by God, but we are special creatures. We were made after everything else and fashioned in God’s image. We have been given a moral sense, a conscious. We have the capacity to think and reason. We can make decisions and act on them. We have the ability to give love and receive it. And those are just a few of the things that reflect God’s likeness in us.

So God is Creator and as such he has a perfect perspective on the matter of which actions are actually natural and which are not. Where the liberal looks at what is now natural, our Maker looks back to what was determined to be natural at the beginning, before man’s fall into sin.

Throughout God’s word, you find God defining what is natural and good. He does so both positively and negatively. He says positively, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He states negatively, “You shall not murder.” Doing the “love your neighbor” thing is natural and good. Not doing the “murder” thing is natural and good. That’s what God is saying. He is referring back to his original plan and showing us the way to live. He does this for us because we don’t know what is natural anymore. We lost that knowledge when Adam and Eve chose rebellion against God. What we do by nature today, because of sin, is not what is actually natural for human beings.

Thinking liberals say you and I, when we go against what the Bible says is wrong, are just animals doing by nature what animals do. God says we are his special creation doing what we were never meant to do. We’re falling short. We’re messing up.

Who’s right? Both can’t be.

God, if he exists, is always right. He is the Creator. It is his opinion on every matter that matters. “Truth” about mankind that contradicts the Creator’s truth about mankind is not truth about mankind at all. It is delusion. It is rebellion. It is wrong.

God made a very good world. He knows how things were meant to be. He alone knows just how much different we are from what he made us to be.

In practical terms, these two opposing views of man lead to very different moral standards. If you believe God is your maker, you seek to, with his help, live by his standards. You acknowledge his right to command goodness and restrict badness. It is his place to set the rules. You humbly submit to his authority even when what he restricts looks awfully tempting. You obey because you know that he loves you and that he wants and knows what’s best for you.

If you believe we are animals, you must also believe that we set the rules for ourselves, we determine what is moral. It is this “truth” that leads the left to embrace all sexual behavior, no matter how degrading or deviant, as moral. Yes, you heard me right. I said moral. If it doesn’t harm anyone, if it’s consensual, go for it, is the liberal’s view. Consequently, much that God says is abhorrent, the “progressive” says is natural and as such worth defending against restriction.

Homosexuality is moral. “It happens in nature. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s okay.”

Having multiple sex partners is ethical. “It happens in nature. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s okay.”

Teens having sex. “It happens in nature. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s okay.”

And how do Lakoff and the like respond when anyone challenges their made up moral standards or proposes laws to restrict what they deem natural? They shout.

“Separation of church and state!”

“You can’t legislate morality!”

“Keep your religion to yourself!”

And then they force the public to adopt their moral views or be labeled intolerant. They legislate their standards whenever and wherever they can. Go figure.

More tomorrow…or the next day.

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