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Monday, June 30, 2014

Alan Bloom's book, The Closing Of The American Mind

 

Unified In Relativism and Allegiance To Equality
by Tom Wacaster

It has been more than twenty years since I read Alan Bloom's book, The Closing Of The American Mind. It still occupies a place on my bookshelf, and although published in 1987 it remains a popular and profitable book for the inquiring mind who desires to know what is happening to our society and why. An oft quoted part of that book is very revealing:

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative...The students' backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality [emphasis mine, TW].

The fruits of that kind of thinking are coming to fruition, and the harvest is not encouraging in the least. This particular philosophy (if we can call it that) has literally saturated the American society, yea, the whole of the western world. Part of that fruit is the insane stress on political correctness and the inability and lack of desire to judge any behavior as wrong or sinful. Like any other philosophy "falsely so called," this one is insidious and runs contrary not only to scripture, but to plain old common sense. The most recent example of political correctness is the furor over the Washington Redskins football team. A week or so back the Federal patent office stripped that club of its exclusive rights to the name "Redskins" in an effort to appease a small handful of native Indians who find the name "Redskins" offensive. Even though 9 out of 10 native Americans do NOT find the name offensive, the small percentage who do have won the day, and political correctness has claimed yet another victim. I am not a big football fan, but the intrusion of the government into matters that ought not to concern them is just another example of modern day sophisticated silliness. What concerns me, however, is the impact that this 21st century philosophy is having on our morals as a nation and the Lord's church in particular. Let me explain.

There are two planks in this insidious philosophy. The first is the desire for unity at any cost. Bloom calls it "allegiance to equality." Redistribution of wealth, a government nanny state, entitlement programs, equal pay for everybody-the list is endless but the goal is the same. All men must be brought to an equal plane in the name of fairness, regardless of the cost.

On the moral front this battle is being waged against those who want to "impose their morality upon others." Have you ever noticed that certain words and phrases have a connotation that will actually bias the thinking of otherwise reasonable thinking men and women? "Homophobia" is a good example here. The homosexual community is presently pushing for this particular kind of equality. It is not an equality with regard to human rights, but an equality that wants acceptance, regardless of life style. The bottom line is that they desire a muzzle be placed on the mouths of all those who oppose their practice. This, my friends, is the kind of equality under consideration. If law makers can be convinced that opposition to ungodly behavior is really inequality gone to seed, then the politically correct crowd will succeed in muzzling the mouths of those who presently oppose their practice by passing laws favorable to immorality. On the religious front it is toleration and agreement to disagree. It is not so much the desire on the part of the leaders to become united in practice as it is the desire to muzzle any opposition. "You do your thing; I'll do mine; and let's not criticize one another." But in order to attain such "equality" it is necessary that there first be a removal of any absolute standard. Hence, the second plank: the modern gospel of relativism. "Nothing is absolute; nothing is certain; you can't know anything for sure." Now, one might expect the world to think this way. Wickedness and error have always sought to cast off the restraints of God's will (Psalms 2:3). But of late we are hearing some of our brethren advocate the same kind of thinking.

On the far left we find those who are nothing more than relativists. They have climbed aboard the bandwagon of relativism and proclaim without fear of God or man, "You can't know anything for sure!" (I wonder how they can be so sure about that!). But what is it that has backed them into this corner? It is, I believe, the desire for the kind of equality spoken of above - equality to do as they please, and simply agree to disagree, while muzzling the mouths of those who might criticize. Again, to accomplish their desired end, there must be a removal of any absolute standard. This is the very reason some of our once faithful brethren have abandoned a proper approach to the Scriptures and are now calling for a "new hermeneutic." There is simply no way to authorize what they desire to practice, so every attempt is being made to approach the way we view Scripture. "It is a love letter," "We must focus on the 'core gospel,'" "Doctrine is not important," et al have all become the flag around which the liberals rally, all in the name of relativism and equality.

We are presently witnessing a headlong plunge into a full acceptance of this two planked error in the Lord's church. First, there is the desire for some kind of unity. A noble desire, based of course upon the prayer of our Lord recorded in John 17, but alas not the type of unity of which Jesus spoke. Enter plank one: "Let's agree to disagree." Workshops are organized which invite men of every shade and color (doctrinally speaking) with no intention of addressing error, but rather presenting a "united front" regardless of differences in doctrine. Known false teachers are not rebuked, but revered and respected. Opposition is squelched by subjective thinking rather than objective reasoning. No longer is it the false teacher who is the enemy, but those who cry out for truth and justice. Enter plank two: remove or ignore the standard. Lip service is given to a "thus saith the Lord" while sound, Biblical arguments are ignored. The "fruit" which error bears is looked at through colored glasses, and the circle of relativism and equality is now complete.

The Lord is the epitome of truth and righteousness, and He never subscribed to the kind of nonsense plaguing the thinking of some. To the contrary, He was plain, pointed, and precise in what He taught and practiced. He rebuked error, refused to compromise in the least, and lived a life that was absolutely sinless in every respect. His message, and that of His apostles, was anything but political correctness. Hear their message: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruit ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-16). "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them" (Romans 16:17). "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them" (Ephesians 4:11). Does that sound like political correctness? Quite the contrary. I close with the admonition of the apostle Paul: "Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8).

~~~~~


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