Thursday, September 22, 2016

Eric Metaxas on our "moral descent"

Eric Metaxas
Begging the question is a logical fallacy. An arguer presumes that things are true within the conclusion of the argument. Note how Jim Dailey tees up a question for Eric Metaxas at Billy Graham's Decision Magazine:
The moral descent of our culture has accelerated at a rapid pace over the past decade—e.g., same-sex marriage rulings, the transgender agenda, the decline of millennial participation in religion, and a worldview that is increasingly hostile to traditional Christianity. What has led to the quickened pace?
This presupposes that we are in moral decline and that the decline is accelerating. Looking at the various parts of Dailey's proposition, I would argue that gay couples making a long-term marital commitment improves our societal morality. I would make a similar proposition with respect to our transgender citizens. There is nothing immoral in treating people with decency.

I do not know if there is a worldview that is hostile or increasingly hostile to “traditional” Christianity (whatever that means). Perhaps “traditional” Christianity is hostile to change in accordance with our better understanding of the world around us. We know to a reasonable certainty, for example, that sexual orientation and sexual identity are not personal choices. Perhaps the worldview is increasingly hostile to willful ignorance.

Metaxas' “answer” to what is really not a question will not disappoint conservative Christians:
The reasons are many. At some point around the 1960s, a number of things happened. For one thing, a widespread misunderstanding took hold about the separation of church and state. Instead of the founders’ idea that the state should stay out of the business of the churches, some pushed the false idea that churches should cease to have influence in the public square. This profound misunderstanding has been tragic. It led to our abolishing prayer in schools, among other things, which sent a signal that America was a secular idea, which was never true. American freedoms can never flourish in a secular environment, and to the extent that we’ve turned away from faith we have seen them falter. Technology also helped the downward spiral because the birth control pill made it possible to divorce sex from childbirth. This was a fatal breach in a holistic view of human beings and it played a major role in destroying marriages and families, which have always been at the center of our healthy culture.
Apparently, we have gone to hell in a handbag ever since liberals took prayer out of schools. Metaxas' idea of the Establishment Clause is at odds with most legal scholars except for “Dr.” David Barton (the Republican operative invented a PhD recently). Moreover, America is a secular society. Many of our founders were deists and they took great pains to separate church from state. In the original text of the Constitution there is only one reference to religion: “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” There is no mention of any god in the Constitution. Metaxas' notion that freedom cannot flourish in a secular environment is patently absurd. What freedoms is he talking about? The freedom to discriminate against people one disapproves of?

Blaming “the pill” is equally absurd. People were already having marital, premarital, and extramarital recreational sex. Lots of it. There is nothing new about birth control. The first rubber condom was produced in 1855. Lamb skins probably go back to ancient Greece. The pill was simply easier to use and possibly more effective.

The unwillingness of Metaxas and Dailey to accept present conditions is a form of delusional thinking. Engel v. Vitale (school prayer) was decided in 1962. It has survived for more than a half century because it is good law. We are not going backwards. Nor are we likely to ever reverse contraception, Roe v. Wade, same-sex marriage or transgender accommodations. These folks need to find a way to live in society as it is. They waste so much energy tilting at windmills and alienating people in the process. Piss into the wind and you are likely to get splattered.

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