The Right Side of History?

Only Christians have a spiritual right, an historical right, and the moral duty to say they are on "the right side of history."

Whenever someone says “I am on the right side of history” they are presuming that their understanding of right and wrong is the same as whoever or whatever is in control of history. Since a large number of those who have adopted this phrase are self-avowed atheists, agnostics, or religious liberals their use of this phrase is fundamental hypocrisy. If there is no personal God, history is going nowhere, or at best it is moving randomly. And even if it is going somewhere, on the basis of the left’s confessed worldview, they should have no way of knowing where it is going.

 

The expression “on the right side of history” is an important tool today used by the progressive elite to silence biblically faithful Christians. Never mind that it rests on significant religious assumptions. After all, no one can prove that history is inexorably going somewhere. Large segments of the world’s population reject this idea. The better part of the non-Christian world believes that history is circular. Since it can’t be proved that history is going somewhere, it is de facto a religious assumption. The progressives hold it by faith, and by doing so they are acting contrary to their own secular presuppositions.

Nevertheless, we are grateful that the progressives now agree with Christians that history is heading somewhere, and that it’s end will be just and morally beneficial. Nevertheless, they have borrowed this assumption from the Christian worldview, and now ironically uses it to pound us into submission. Believers have solid grounds to push back.

Whenever someone says “I am on the right side of history” they are presuming that their understanding of right and wrong is the same as whoever or whatever is in control of history. Since a large number of those who have adopted this phrase are self-avowed atheists, agnostics, or religious liberals their use of this phrase is fundamental hypocrisy. If there is no personal God, history is going nowhere, or at best it is moving randomly. And even if it is going somewhere, on the basis of the left’s confessed worldview, they should have no way of knowing where it is going.

In effect the speaker is saying, “If you’re smart, you will get on my side before it’s too late, before the inevitability of history tramples you under its hobnailed boots.” The secular world assumes “that history marches with them,” writes Jay Nordlinger. “Get out of the way or be crushed.”1 The phrase is used to bully those who doubt the rightness or wrongness of gay marriage, abortion, firearm ownership, LGBT rights, taxing the rich, ending the death penalty, advancing socialism or a variety of any other progressive causes.

A Need for Humility

However, because most that have employed this expression in the past have been dead wrong, it would behoove the secular world to use it with humility. For example, The French Revolution at the end of the 18th century was utterly convinced that it was on the “right side of history.” It dissolved the French Monarchy, and devastated Europe with the Napoleonic Wars, but the progressive changes that the “revolution” assumed were on the “right side of history” were dead on arrival within a few decades.

Oxford historian Andrew Roberts observes that the phrase, “the right side of history” is “profoundly Marxian.”2  The followers of Karl Marx insisted that a Communist Worker’s Paradise was history’s inevitable terminus. Alas, as I write there are only a handful of Communists countries remaining, and communism will soon be shown to have been, not on the right side of history, but on the dust bin of history.  Jesse Jackson, while running for president in 1984 said that the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were on the “right side of history.” The Sandinistas are now a soon-to-be-forgotten footnote to history, and it has only been a few decades.

The truth is just the opposite. “The right side of history” is a useful expression, but only Christians have a spiritual right, an historical right, and the duty to say that they are on “the right side of history.”

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