Christian? Relativism


 

            There are many distinctions between people in our world today. We celebrate diversity and individuality. People all over the earth are distinguished by skin color, language, customs, religious practices, and culture. More specifically in the United States, people are distinguished by social status, financial income, and the lifestyle in which each person chooses to live. Among the majority of “young people” there is a growing desire to be “different.” Young Americans are encouraged to express themselves and be who they truly are. I recently saw a commercial urging people to (in the words of the well-known and endorsed rapper) “Let me do me and you just do you.” Very clever ad since they were endorsing Mountain Dew. In other words, “do what feels right” or “do what makes you happy.”

          There are tremendous logical problems with this line of thinking. Firstly, it is very shallow and vapid. It is an unaccountable way of living and was established in order to approve of behaviors which were once labeled as “taboo” (or as we Christians like to call it, morally corrupt). Not only that, as I have stated, it is illogical. Think with me. Perhaps my neighbor is getting out of her car after a long day of work and walks toward her front door. Before opening the door, she drops her purse and multiple belongings scatter, including her medication. Simultaneously, I allow my dog to run around and play. He makes his way into my neighbor’s driveway. Finding the pills at the front steps of their house, my dog licks them up before I even notice what has happened. The next day (unexpectedly to me) my dog passes away. I am terribly upset about this and later find out that he had gotten into some medication. I then realize that he had gotten into my neighbor’s medication that she had dropped. Her carelessness caused my dog to die. After realizing this, I become furious and my anger turns to my neighbor. It would make me happy to take revenge on this individual. If I base my life and actions on the “do what feels right” or “do what makes you happy” logic, I would kill my neighbor (hypothetical situation of course). My natural anger would lead me to this action. My anger would then be satisfied and I would feel better. Therefore, I should do it, right? You shout, “Of course not! Besides, who would be happy about killing someone? That is illogical in itself!” And I would agree with you in most cases. Most people would not receive enjoyment from murder. However, I would respond, “Who are you to judge me? This is who I am and I am not changing to satisfy you or anyone else. I do in fact receive great pleasure from killing people who make me mad. It felt right and it makes me happy.” If I stood by this line of thinking and defended it, I would want to have the legal right to murder any individual I desired to in order to satisfy my hunger for happiness.

            If there is no absolute truth or standard way of living, then anything should be allowed. If it brings me joy to worship God, then I should be allowed to do so. If it brings me joy to drink alcohol and do drugs, then I should be allowed to do so. If it brings me joy to have a sexual relationship with a woman, a man, an animal, a relative, etc., then I should be allowed to do so. This relativistic way of thinking opens the door to literally anything that any individual considers to be right. This line of thinking establishes each individual as their own “lord” and they base their lifestyles on their own personal “growth” in their humanity. Personally, I would much prefer my flawed humanity be minimized to the point of non-existence as I grow in faith in Jesus Christ who sanctifies until the day of ultimate glorification.  

            Now, I am not nearly as frustrated with non-believers who support this line of thinking since they are refusing to acknowledge and recognize the authority and ways of God. In fact, they must be relativistic in their thinking since they have nothing and no one to ultimately base their decisions and lifestyles on. No standard, no worries. Anything should be allowed among them, however, they are quite inconsistent in their relativism since they advocate only for certain behaviors and lifestyles to be approved of and not all. For example, if one advocates and approves of gay ‘marriage’ they should likewise advocate for every single form of marriage possible. They should advocate in every state for any individual to be able to marry anyone or anything. However, this is not evident. There is no advocacy for a 50 year old man to marry a 7 year old girl (even if they love each other). Without a standard, we literally do not have much to stand on (since we are standing on our own thoughts and opinions which change from decade to decade, rather than standing on the eternal morality and righteousness of God which never changes).

              The problem with this relativistic approach is that there is in fact a standard and Jesus Christ is in fact Lord over the lives of every individual on earth whether they recognize it now or not (and one day, everyone will. Philippians 2:9-11). My anger and frustration (and don’t worry – it wouldn’t make me happy to murder) is directed at so-called “Christ-followers” who have this relativistic way of thinking and behaving. Countless individuals claim Christ; yet live by the motto “do what feels right” and “do what makes you happy.” This is unacceptable. If you claim Christ as Lord of your life, then this comes with some striking implications. You are now claiming that you despise sin and are forever grateful of God’s grace in freeing you from it because of your faith in the works of Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. You are now claiming to obey His established way of doing things and you now have a standard by which to base the behaviors and actions of your life. You no longer strive to “do what feels right.” You now long to do what is right as established by your Creator God. You no longer strive to do “whatever makes you happy” as established by you, but instead you long to do what pleases God as established by HIM. The only way a Christian could live by these two worldly mottos would be if they were both modified with the phrase “in the will of God.”

            Before continuing into the study of Scripture today, it must be firmly established that one cannot be a Christian and have a relativistic worldview. Therefore, one cannot be a Christian and live totally in sin. Understand what I am saying. Christians will continue to sin, however, there will be a deep remorse for this sin and a gratefulness as great as David’s for forgiveness. Temptations will persist, but God will remain faithful to provide you with a way out. While Christians continue to sin, we are daily being sanctified as we are conformed to the image of Christ. Christians will not desire to please themselves through sinful actions, but through the overflowing pleasure that God has in Himself. We will revel in the glory of God and seek pleasure in what pleases Him.

            We all have a grave problem. While we all desire individuality, there is one commonality that no individual on the planet can avoid: sin. We are all sinners. Period. No questions asked. Billy Graham is a sinner. Barack Obama is a sinner. John Piper is a sinner. Mitt Romney is a sinner. This is an unavoidable truth: We have all rebelled against God’s way of behaving and doing things. What matters now is our response to God’s only way out of our predicament. Christians call this salvation from our sin and the eternal death it demands by the grace of God and faith in Christ. If you claim to follow Jesus Christ, do not underestimate the heavy implications that this commitment has on your life. Do not fall into the trap of relativism. Instead, savor the sufficient satisfaction of your Savior and do not live your life relative to what your sinful nature demands. Live your life under the universal truth and lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

By His Grace – For His Glory – For our Joy

 

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