How the Marble Always Rolls
Political Dualism - Americanitas
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Years ago, when I was in college, the prof in some class or other had
us watch a documentary film recording somebody's suicide. They didn't
show that part on camera, but the whole thing was a "situation ethics"
kind of thing, where the person had been diagnosed with a terminal (and
painful) disease that he didn't want to endure, and so he decided to
check out. The film included the farewell party, bunch of friends over,
that sort of thing. The premise of everything was "avoidance of pain,"
with justification of the suicide built on that assumption.
In the class discussion afterward, I raised the question of
-- not only was pain avoidance considered the highest
good in this situation, but entirely unspoken was the invisible
assumption that this strategy would, in fact, be effective. In other
words, everybody serenely assumed that this approach would in fact be
effective in avoiding future pain. But this is only true if the
Christian faith is false. Hell is painful, and so why should we discount
the possibility that this suicide was the beginning of endless pain --
instead of a mere avoidance of temporal pain? Not only was this
possibility discounted, but it was discounted with absolutely no
discussion or debate.
In other words, why should Christians enter into ethical debates when
one of the underlying assumptions of the whole debate is that their
worldview is false or of no account? When the floor is slanted, the
marble will always roll into the same corner.
The same thing is happening whenever the "hurt" card is played. When
someone -- the Chick-fil-A guy, or Kirk Cameron -- says something
judicious and wise, but which registers any level of opposition to
homo-marriage, all manner of hurt, outrage, devastation will be noted
for the record. "You are being hurtful" is thought to address everything
about it. Simply because of your faithfulness to the standards taught
in the Word of God, you have driven a knife into their heart. But Hell
hurts too. If hurt avoidance is the driving criterion, shouldn't we be
talking about Hell more?
But just try that, and you will find that the possibility of "hurt"
is not really the standard. "Hurt by the standards of God's law" is the
new standard. But that can only be the new standard if we assume that
the Christian faith is false, or non-authoritative, or pomo-relativized,
and there the marble is, by the china hutch again.
This can be seen in another way -- all kinds of abuse can be thrown
at folks who don't fit into the new designated victim groups, and it
doesn't matter how much that abuse might hurt. So "hurting" is not the
standard. "Thou shalt not hurt" is not the law. "Thou shalt not hurt the
disobedient" is the new law.
Those Christians who have gotten the treatment need to make sure they
never complain about the double standard -- that just gives the bad
guys opportunity to take the double standard and double down on it,
which they love to do. Being hurt by what they are doing, and showing
it, is a bad move. Jesus said to rejoice and be exceeding glad, so you
shouldn't be hurt on that score, and the devil wants you to be hurt,
which is why he is doing all this in the first place. That is what he is
trying to do.
So here is a simple statement of our duty in this regard
-- make Jesus happy and make the devil sad.