When who we are as human persons is completely disconnected from any design and from any creator, then the only thing there is left to us is whatever I express about myself. With this framework, when anything – whether it’s religious, moral, or social norms or even laws and public policies – gets in the way of me being whatever it is that I say or that I want to be, it is here that the greatest oppression, the greatest discrimination comes.
It’s easy to think that the story of the last several decades, at least as it comes to Christianity and society, is the story of moral shifting. In other words, things that were once considered wrong are now considered right, and things that were once considered right are now considered wrong. That certainly explains an awful lot, and certainly there have been moral shifts in Western society.
However, that’s not enough to explain everything. More accurately, maybe we should say that the moral shifts that we see, which are obvious and which have indeed happened, are the fruit of the issue, not the root. They are the effect, not the cause.
The deepest and more fundamental shifts that have taken place in Western culture over the last several decades have not been in our definition of what’s right and what’s wrong. They’ve been in our definition of reality itself, specifically our understanding of what it means to be human. Starting with that framework, we can answer some questions that, for many of us, seemed to be nearly unanswerable. What’s wrong? It’s been in our definition of reality itself, specifically our understanding of what it means to be human.
Maybe today you find yourself in the same cultural boat as Carl Trueman: a little dizzy, like so many of us, about how quickly things went from unthinkable to unquestionable. It is one thing for someone to say something like, “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.” Certainly, throughout history, there have been people that have thought that sort of thing, and maybe even said that sort of thing out loud. The difference, as Trueman puts it, between those times and today is that this statement has now come to be regarded as coherent and meaningful.
There is an essential question for Christians to answer. If we are to frame our worldview without being pulled here-and-there by the various deceptions of our culture while also having a strong enough cultural witness that is big enough for the questions of the challenges of this time in human history, then answering this question must involve a deep dive into the issue of the image of God. In other words, we must articulate the Christian view of what it means to be human. That is why we are going to be spending an entire conference in May on that question at the Wilberforce Weekend in Fort Worth.