Three Bumps in the Road

Recently a friend visited me in my office and, in the middle of our conversation, surprised me by asking my opinion of the three greatest issues in the world today. Good question. But I had to answer that question without being able to give it any real thought. As I have thought about what I said, however, the more I think about it, my immediate response was right on. My first answer was radical Islam because it threatens the very existence of Western society. For the first time in history, an enemy has the capacity to bring its weapons into the United States and hit us at home. Then I described to him the dynamics of radical Islam and why it was determined to destroy us because of our decadence, and then, of course, how we are cooperating in the process by allowing ourselves to become so decadent. I also mentioned Samuel Huntington's thesis about a clash of civilizations. The second answer was truth -- not "what's true for me," but what Francis Schaeffer called "true truth." If there's no absolute truth, there can be no meaningful moral order in society. The frightening part is that according to George Barna's studies, recently cited in The Wall Street Journal, "only 9 percent of self-described born-again teens believe that moral truth is absolute." There is a real crisis of truth in America, which leads to a crisis, as Os Guinness often puts it, of cultural authority. This is a crisis as serious as radical Islam because if we lose the capacity to say this is what ought to be the case, that is, the moral law, then we descend to the law of the jungle. The strong dominate the weak. My third response was what it means to be human. First, the whole biotech revolution raises profound questions about the very nature of what it means to be a human being. We are at a place today where we can not only take life, created in God's image (abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide -- that's bad enough), but we can also make life in man's image (cloning and genetic manipulation). This question is very personal to me because I have a 13-year-old autistic grandson. I get chills thinking about how much longer a utilitarian society will decide to keep people around whom some of Darwin's followers have called "useless eaters." One day we'll decide to dispose of them or manipulate their genetic makeup. But of course, as C. S. Lewis once said, once we conquer nature, nature conquers us. The issue of what it means to be human also applies to same-sex "marriage." It raises the whole issue of gender and embodiment. Increasingly gender is not connected to our bodies, sex is not connected with marriage or childbearing, and parenthood is a separate enterprise from a man and a woman getting married. Once that happens, we've entered a brave new world where a biblical understanding of what it means to be human is completely fragmented. The next step is to produce children in an assembly line in a factory. And parents -- party A and party B -- will have no connection to the process. These are three huge issues that I believe are at the root of almost everything else we talk about or think about here on BreakPoint. Christians need to be grounded in all three so that we really understand the issues that face us in American life today and so that we can make a credible defense for a biblical worldview. For further reading and information: BreakPoint Commentary No. 040415, "Terrorism and War: Facing the Facts of History." BreakPoint Commentary No. 040622, "Decadence and Vulnerability: Same-Sex 'Marriage' and Terrorism." Jim Tonkowich, "Ten Things We Should Have Learned Since September 11, 2001," Christianity Today, 10 September 2002. (Reprinted at BreakPoint Online.) Samuel Huntington, Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon & Schuster, 1998). Dale Buss, "Christian Teens? Not Very.Wall Street Journal, 9 July 2004. BreakPoint Commentary No. 040611, "Absolutes without Absolutism: True Truth." Art Lindsley, True Truth: Defending Absolute Truth in a Relativistic World (InterVarsity Press, 2004). Alister Bull, "Fear of hell makes us richer, Fed says," Reuters, 27 July 2004. (Article about a new study that demonstrates the influence of religion on a society.) Learn more about bioethics issues at the Council for Biotechnology Policy website. BreakPoint Commentary No. 040701, "Doing the Unfashionable Thing: Governor Romney Takes a Stand."
  1. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man(1943).
The church and small-group curricula "Playing God?" and "CounterCultural Christians" are great teaching resources for Christians. Charles Colson and Ellen Vaughn, Being the Body: A New Call for the Church to Be Light in the Darkness(W Publishing, 2003). Subscribe today to BreakPoint WorldView magazine to learn about issues -- from science, to art, to education, to the movies -- from a Christian worldview perspective. It also makes a great gift that gives all year!  


Chuck Colson


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