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When the Supreme Court last week issued its rulings concerning Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, to say I was not surprised is an understatement.
Although I was hoping for a different outcome, I had already prepared myself for this ruling; this has been coming for some time.
Our culture is ripe for such a shift. The moral fabric of our nation had begun to rend long before last Wednesday; the rulings of the court were simply indicative of the direction we are heading as a society.
Wednesday’s rulings were not merely about so-called gay marriage. They are part of a bigger picture, a larger story that humanity began to write the day our first parents willfully chose to disobey their creator (Genesis 2 -3).
When humanity chose to worship and serve the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1:25), and chose not to retain the knowledge of God in their minds (Romans 1:28), God essentially gave them over to the lust of their own hearts. Since, as John Calvin pointed out, the heart of man is a factory of idols, if we do not worship God we will make our own god to worship, along with its own set of religious beliefs.
The gods that people have created are mirror images of themselves. In other words, people worship “self.” Like the gods of Greek mythology, society has fashioned gods that share in its attributes: their fickleness, arbitrariness, sensuality, etc. The religion of our culture is pragmatism, which is the idea that meaning of a proposition rests upon the experiences or consequences that result from a statement of fact. In other words, new “truths” are innovated to deal with conflicting claims and experiences of life.
William James, the 19th/20th century philosopher and father of pragmatism, wrote that “purely objective truth, truth in whose establishment the function of giving human satisfaction … is nowhere to be found. The reasons why we call things true is the reason why they are true…” In other words, truth is relative to the person and their experience, and there is no ultimate standard of truth and morality.
The rulings that came down last Wednesday are an expression of this laissez-faire philosophy of life. We are told to “live and let live” at the expense of the life-giving truth of the Bible. Biblical morality is not the standard by which to live; we are the masters of our own fates; if it feels good … do it. If the Bible is not the standard of truth, we can consciously ignore Proverbs 14:12, which warns us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
When the Lord Jesus Christ was standing before Pontius Pilate, shortly before his crucifixion, he made this statement: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Pilate asked the same question millions have asked, while truth was standing before him! His was a question of a cynic, of one who didn’t have time for the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Jesus is not the truth because Christians say he is the truth; he just simply is the truth. He is the embodiment and standard of truth, whether we submit to him or not. The question is, do you accept him or reject him? Will you accept his free offer of salvation or reject it? The truth can only set you free if you know it; truth is a person. Jesus Christ is truth, absolutely.
Brian Owens is an associate pastor with youth and children emphasis at Farmdale Baptist Church. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.