At the heart of every idea is an exclusive claim of truth. Exclusivity is in fact, by definition, an attribute of truth. Every idea we ever have, every comment we ever make, every determination on morality we discern, is exclusive in the sense that it will exclude other people’s opinions, values, or claims to truth. If, for instance, I make the moral claim that it is wrong to condemn a person without a fair trial, I am immediately confronted with the reality that hundreds of cultures and nations around the world do not believe the same as I do. As much as I may feel that this belief is self-apparent and obvious, the reality is that it is not universally agreed upon and therefore is an exclusionary claim to truth which means that by believing it to be true I am simultaneously telling other people with different opinions that they are wrong. Sorry Stalin!
At the heart of the modern mindset is the value of inclusion, which claims to desire that all people and views be welcomed at the table for discussion. Entire organizations have been developed to help teams and organizations become more “inclusive”. One of the greatest sins we could commit, it is said, is to label any person’s view as out of bounds or deficient in any way, no matter how extraordinarily wicked their ideas may be. The great twist in this new value system, and one that everybody seems to agree with, is that the only views that are unacceptable are the historic Biblical values. Essentially, all views and voices are are welcome and tolerated, so long as they are not a Christian that actually believes the Bible.
My aim in this article is not to complain about how horrible this all is, but rather to equip Christians in a very particular way for this conversation. I want to show you how to both understand, and help reveal, the faulty and illogical presuppositions of this new modern mindset.
Every worldview rests upon a set of presuppositions, foundational assumed ideas that support every other concept. Modern secularism has been built upon the postmodern ideal which believes that in some degree truth is relative. It is not the purpose or scope of this post to trace the development of that idea over the past few generations, but it is worth stating the obvious that this new postmodern ideal of truth-relativity is something relatively new on the world’s scene. Not that long ago, just about everybody believed that truth was fixed, that up could not be down, that boys could not be girls, and that stealing was wrong (but I’m getting ahead of myself). Let’s evaluate this new postmodern ideal of truth-relativity for a moment.
Whenever trying to evaluate the veracity of a worldview one of the first questions you can ask is, ‘Is this worldview arbitrary? Secondly, you can ask, ‘Is this worldview consistent?” Let’s evaluate this new postmodern value of Inclusion using those two ideas.
The modern secular mind does not like to admit it, but when it comes to practical morality, they don’t really believe that all views matter and are welcome at the table. They have simply moved the goalposts from their historic Christian positions, to a new arbitrary place of their own determining. In other words, they claim to hate goalposts (exclusive moral claims that define right and wrong), yet they themselves have goalposts (exclusive moral claims that define right and wrong).
I’ll work from the extreme edges inwards just to make the point. Let us imagine a local public school board driven by secular postmodernism, which believes in establishing inclusion as a value in their sex education training material for fifth graders. Consider the following three examples of real world conversations taking place right now in our own country.
- Prostitution: A member of the community who is a practicing prostitute, desires that fifth graders learn about prostitution as a valid way of earning a living and contributing to society as well as a positive contribution in the sexual development of minors.
- Drag: A member of the community, who is a biological male drag queen, whose character is hyper-sexualized and self described as “flirty” desires to regularly have a presence among the young students to celebrate diversity.
- Homosexuality: A member of the community who is a practicing homosexual desires for fifth graders to be taught of the normalcy and legitimacy of homosexuality.
Most secular postmodern people I know, who by the way are wonderful friends, would not approve all three of those ideas (though some might!). Many parents would draw a hard line at having a prostitute come into the fifth grade class and teach on the positivity of prostitution. But many of those same people would be outraged that anyone would dare to suggest that #3 above be in the same list as #1 and #2. Herein lies the point. A modern secular person ends up speaking out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand they accept #3 above because they believe that all views and all values matter and are worthy at the table, but at the very same time they exclusively reject #1 (and maybe #2) because they are willing to say that those two views (#1 and #2) are not valued or worthy to be at the table.
This little exercise is much more than just a logical trap to corner my postmodern friends. It is a legitimate exposure of the fault-lines of the modern secular mindset. The modern man is in the unfortunate position of explaining to the world why it is acceptable for 2+2 to equal 5, but somehow unacceptable for 2+2 to equal 6.
Once you begin tracing this exposed fault-line of inconsistency and arbitraniness down, it becomes very apparent that postmodernism (modern secularism) as a philosophy, is incapable of legitimately managing a society. Even the most ardent postmodernist does not truly want to live in a society governed by anarchy, where every person does whatever they want and where there are no laws. Everyone agrees there must be some bounds, some exclusionary ideas. But herein lies the second fault-line—according to the modern secularist, who gets to decide where the bounds get drawn? In this scenario, someone or some group of people, are going to have the unfortunate role of playing God and determining the new boundaries of right and wrong. Quick note to those who don’t know history very well—as a general rule of thumb it typically does not end well when men try to play God.
Additionally, we have to remember that we are not just dealing with ideas in space, but we are dealing with ideas that have real world consequences. It’s one thing for a man to believe in his head that he is a woman (2+2=5). It is entirely another thing for society to tell that man it is true and to actually permit that man to dominate women in women’s sports and use their locker rooms. It is one thing for a white woman to believe that she is actually African American (2+2=6). It is entirely another thing to tell her it’s true and to give that white woman scholarship money reserved for minority communities. It is one thing for a grown man to believe he is a five year old girl (2+2=7). It is another thing to tell him it’s true and permit him to enroll in kindergarten. And yes, these are all real situations.
I want to deal with one more idea that often comes up in this conversation. Some of my good secular friends would respond to this critique of postmodernism by saying, “We have a standard. Kindness to one another should be the standard. So long as the proposed idea is kind to others, then it should be accepted.” But unless we exclusively define “kindness” then the word is simply arbitrary and can be used by any person with any view to justify their behavior. You might not like it, but some people believe it is “kind” to gently beat a misbehaving wife (according to the Quran). Are they wrong? And if so, according to whose standard are they wrong? Some people believe it is kind to remove the children from homes of parents who disagree with current political establishments. Some people think it’s kind to take the life of a child in the womb in a painful and gruesome dismemberment process up until the moment of birth that we have coded “women’s health”, for any reason at all. Some people believe it is kind to take children to drag shows. As it turns out, “kindness” is arbitrary.
The modern ideal of Inclusion is nothing more than Exclusion dressed up in strange new clothes. When dealing with these issues, we must be honest in evaluating the claims of competing worldviews. Christians must not be afraid to honestly push back against inconsistent and arbitrary ideas, especially when those arbitrary ideas are an affront to God and create physical dangers for those around us. It is not loving to stay silent while dangerous ideas permeate our society. Christians can boldly and unapologetically stand upon the unchanging Word of God as the basis of all truth and morality. God alone has defined what is right and what is wrong.
Soli Deo gloria