Subvert: to undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution).
Today we are going to discuss the presuppositions of secular postmodern social progressives. If you are unsure what I am talking about, a presupposition is an implicit assumption every person holds about the world or a background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse with others. It is something which people assume to be true even before they make a point. But in many, if not most, instances people's presuppositions about the nature of reality and how the world works are unprovable; they simply cannot be demonstrated to be true ... and in many cases because they are inconsistent or self-contradictory, can clearly be shown to be false. Why is that important? Revealing someone's presuppositions also gives us a great opportunity to test the truth claims of those who hold them.
ok so ... what are some unproven and unprovable assumptions and presuppositions with which social liberals identify?:
1. Sexuality: You ARE your sexuality ... and the way of redemption for humanity is to free ourselves from all restrictions in how we express ourselves sexually (an unprovable presupposition)
2. Materialism: no God, no spirits, no heaven, no hell, no life after death.(another unprovable assumption) Even if they believe in some vague idea of a god, he only exists to serve what we want. A clear rejection of God who gives revelation through His Word, the Bible.
3. Naturalism: that physical nature is all that there is (a presupposition, without any evidence and easily contradicted)
4. Post-Modernism: that there is no truth; no lie, no fact, no fiction, but only those with power and those without power. (An unprovable, even self-contradictory, presupposition)
5. Relativism: The myth and self-contradictory assumption that that there are no absolutes.
6. Inherent human goodness. (a dangerous presupposition which does not see the need to limit the power of rulers)
7. A perpetual call to transgress all boundaries.
8. To overthrow oppression, particularly sexual oppression (as they define oppression). Answering the question, "what is the secularist faith?", Mary Eberstadt writes, "Consenting sex is the highest good; anything that interferes with the highest good is by definition evil; therefore, whatever it takes to grease the wheels of the revolution is not only good too. It is cause for full-throated, Dionysian celebration.
9. To overthrow all authority (except their own of course)
No doubt there are many more progressive assumptions but these are a good start. From this list it becomes obvious that one of the main goals of secular postmodern social progressives is to subvert all moral norms, which they view as oppressive. By transforming the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy they use any and all tactics by which the values and principles of the system in place are contradicted or reversed. After all, they view the current power structures as an outdated social construction, one which, they claim, favors some and oppresses others.
The object of this post is to help Christians with a simple strategy to help unearth the deepest assumptions and presuppositions of progressives by asking them a lot of good questions. In helping them identify their deepest reasons for believing as they do, I believe the tactic of asking questions has a tendency to reveal anyones' soft spot or Achilles heel, so to speak. It is the responsibility of Christians, by the grace of God, to make a way for the gospel by "subverting subversion", (a phrase I heard from Al Mohler) i.e. exposing a subversive views' inconsistency .
For example, when being criticized by progressives for our Christian views on certain social issues it is important to respond by asking questions such as, how do you KNOW your position on these issues are right and that Christians are wrong? By what authority do you determine what is right and wrong about human nature and behavior? If they answer "we don't believe in a right and wrong" or "we have no authority" then turn it around and ask "why then do you care what we think about it? Our community has a different beliefs about what the nature of man and what constitutes its redemption. Why do you find it so important to impose your strictures upon us and our institutions? Why do you want to educate OUR children with YOUR norms? When you keep these teachings in your community it makes more sense to us, but when you say your new secularist moral norms are universally binding on OTHERS in society (that we all must accept your values) then you are declaring that you must have some special transcendent knowledge of what constitutes right and wrong for everyone. Do you? How do you know this? Have you determined it by your self-declared authority? Did God tell you this or is it merely your preference? If merely a preference then how can you bind others to your conscience? You call yourselves progressives. What are you progressing toward? How do you know that goal is the right one? Most people cannot answer how they know. They simply take it for granted that certain things are true and others false due to provincial biases they have formed over their lifetime. Those who can answer expose the contradictions of their system, the best place to start a conversation.
Many debates I witness online appear to remain at surface level because people are just trading accusations at one another, and thereby they do not but scratch the surface of the stony heart. Instead, I suggest a better strategy, with the help of God, may be to assist our opponents to come face to face with their own basic assumptions and presuppositions about life. You will be surprised at how many have not thought about it before. We do this, again, by asking simple questions. Such a strategy makes it easier to reveal the absurdity of many of their own assertions by showing them to be both contradictory and untenable, even when using their own standards.
If liberals want to subvert moral norms, I could understand it better if they wanted to limit it to themselves and the boundaries of their own communities. But it has become obvious, especially in recent years, that their goals are much more universal. Their intrusion into schools and other institutions in the public square it has become apparent that they want to use the law, government and social pressure to educate our children to believe AS THEY DO creating a kind of homogenized culture where everyone thinks alike. Even today I saw this happening to adults in the department of Justice. They were all to be re-educated for bias. Understandable to some degree, since we are all made in the image of God and no person should be unfairly targeted, but bias is often in the eye of the beholder. Whose standard of what constitutes bias will be used by the DOJ? If other recent comments coming out of the DOJ are any indication, they cannot be trusted at all with this task.
Last week I wrote a blog post on the hugely tragic Orlando mass shooting in response to a comment posted by a professing social progressive who blames Christians for the violence of a Muslim against people who self-identify as LGBT. In the post one thing I said was ...
LGBT and socially liberal "presuppositions about truth and the nature of man are as religious as anyone else. You have created your own narrative of the world and the nature of human beings, about who we are and where we are going. Liberals like you have a whole narrative of redemption, just like many other religions. But you cannot demonstrate to me, or anyone else, that your view is necessarily true. You can try to persuade us and that's fine. You have freedom of conscience, but don't tell me that you and your fellow secular progressives are the only ones who have the people of this world's best interests at heart. You think your ideas are best for human flourishing? Great, others think their presuppositions are true and best for the world and human flourishing as well. You think your view has gay people's best interest in mind? We also have gay people's best interest at heart. From your perspective it may not seem like it, but from the perspective of the gospel, we do. We love them every bit, if not more, than you. From our perspective you are doing them harm, but I don't think you do so intentionally. But good intentions are not always a good test to determine what is true."
There are many ideas in the world as to how people are liberated and redeemed. Not all of them are right. But when a group such as secularists are so confident in their own ability to discern these things, so much that they force others through legal action to conform to their thinking, then we are in true danger of removing the barriers between church and state. Secularism or statism being the religion, in this case. Why is this bad? because human beings cannot be trusted with power. That was one brilliant stroke of realization of our founders. We needed rule of law (not rule of man), balance of power (not power in the hands one or of a few). The founders actually limited themselves and their own power. They essentially said, "I don't care how much I think my view is right. If I were in power I would still need others to restrain me, because I cannot be trusted." Only enlightened human beings have this realization. It seems that today's progressive secularists have not learned this lesson from history and obviously have a flawed view of human nature.
To enforce a single worldview on others (by judicial fiat) is an incredible violation of privacy and freedom of conscience. Conscience cannot be forced. This is just about as distasteful to us as would if we coerced you to attend weekly church and communion, even though you do not hold to our beliefs. I know this post has been general, but I will use just one of many recent specific examples of this wild over-reach. Consider the strong movement by progressives to force religious colleges in California to drop the necessity of a profession of faith in Jesus Christ for its students, making room for persons to openly express a sexual orientation at odds with long-held Christian beliefs. Not just to allow people who struggle with this sin, but to make sure by law they can continue in their lifestyle at a college dedicated to views at odds with secularist views, a lifestyle that Christians would consider sinful. So why do you feel it necessary to change our beliefs, our theology, our convictions? It shows that you really do not believe in tolerance, diversity but want all people to think like you, by judicial edict even. Your view assumes that the Christian view of the world is false and your want to enforce that by law. Another example is the many instances of forcing people out of work because of their religious convictions about marriage. Such are the actions of tyrants.
If the progressives have their way then it appears that persons who have a different worldview, different assumptions about reality, different presuppositions about the nature of human beings and the nature of redemption will not have the freedom of conscience to hold such a view without legal threats in schools and elsewhere. Again, it is one thing to have a conviction about these things in your own community or liberal church but quite another to outlaw OTHER communities from holding their most sacred and intimate assumptions about reality. You think our beliefs are harmful? Would it surprise you that we think the same about yours? Wasn't that the whole reason our country made freedom of conscience such a big deal. You see all your friends who self-identify as LGBT and they have shaped your understanding of what YOU THINK liberation looks like. I will try, by the grace of God, to persuade you otherwise but I cannot force you to believe Christianity. Forced belief is no belief at all. To bring this home, we have many people in our churches (several in my own church) who self-identified at LGBT, yet they have a completely different understanding of what liberation is than you do. They believe in the truth of the Christian message. To them, the Christian message of redemption is reality. You won't allow them to hold these views? You are so confident in your idea of right and wrong that opposing views are outlawed? Do you see what you are doing?
Is there any way to resolve this problem? It would be naive to think there is neutrality in education but perhaps instead of suppressing views that don't square with your own (or my own), how about having frequent lively open debate? How about allowing different views of the world to compete in the market of ideas, especially in our schools. Instead of just declaring that LGBT agenda will be taught in our schoolbooks, how about allowing for opposing ideas in our children's textbooks as well? What is there to be afraid of?
The social liberals who once made so much of the separation of church and state are now engaged in establishing their own state religion to the exclusion of other voices. It is one thing to allow open debate in our educational institutions but quite another to bring on the thought police and outlaw opposing views. I can count many, many recent instances where liberals who once were champions of free speech and human rights in the 60s yet now seem to have no issue with brazenly violating the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments of our constitution. What happened? Just yesterday it was reported that a federal judge arbitrarily decided to tell us that the constitution is an outdated document and should be abandoned and he will begin ruling as such. Well, okay, but your swore an oath. If I recall, to change an amendment to the Constitution it need a 2/3 majority in the states. But that's too troublesome, you say, so you just took it upon yourself to decide what's right? That kind of hubris is one of the core problem with human beings and seems to be the main way that many progressives are advancing their cause. California votes against same-sex marriage ... no worries, just find a judge who says otherwise and overturn their vote.
Lastly, to the socially liberal mind, if you don't affirm someone's sexuality, you're effectively rejecting who they are at their core level. But again this is a presupposition, an assumption about the nature of reality. How do you know your view is true? This assumption, at best, is merely a belief or a preference about the nature of reality. You are not the only ones who want to free the oppressed, liberate the captives. We know that Christian gospel redeems people and have seen it. We are all fallen sinners who need the same redemption. Christians are no better, and in in my case, probably much worse, than the average secularist or person who self-identifies as LGBT. But if God can redeem and change someone like me, he can save anyone. If you believe the idea that Christianity cannot really set people free from their natural depravity, and you outlaw any such view as bigotry, then you are in effect, outlawing Christianity, for that is a core belief. We are all captive to what we cannot change about ourselves. Only the grace of God can do so.
But haven't we learned from history that beliefs cannot be eradicated or established by sheer force.