Relativists, Revisionists, and Reconstructionists, Oh MY!
"I grew up in the North, have spent many years in the South, but have decided that both were wrong."
Good comment, Eva, but some of them were more wrong than others.The South fought to protect their homes and families, AND a lifestyle that involved owning other human beings. When it looked like that lifestyle was threatened, they seceded as they had said they would, and drew first blood too, by attacking Fort Sumpter.The North’s motives weren’t entirely altruistic either: the Northern politicians fought to preserve the Union, and protect their economic interests. Slavery was a secondary issue, but it was an issue, nonetheless: many Christians in the North were dedicated to the cause of ending slavery, and they helped slaves find asylum in Canada via the Underground railroad.
We call these people *abolitionists*, and when I was in school, we also called them *heroes*.Other people call them other things, and attempt to revise history by portraying all abolitionists as being like that maniac, John Brown:
“From Doug’s Bookshelf: The Secret Six by Otto Scott is the best book on the evil movement known as abolitionism which funded America’s first terrorist, John Brown, and did so in the name of anti-Christian Unitarianism.”
But that’s the trouble with revisionism… it revises and romanticizes historical fact to fit the author’s worldview. Usually this is fairly harmless, and takes the form of lionizing one’s favorite hero. We all do that, I think. For instance, take Robin Hood (my alltime favorite!): if Robin of Locksley ever existed at all, it’s very unlikely that he was anything like the legend that has grown up around him. But, the mythos exists, and as long as we know that it’s a *legend* rather than historical fact, there’s no harm in it.Similarly, the Old South has been romanticized, and that’s not altogether bad. Who DOESN’T love pecan pie, and magnolias, and gallant young men courting girls in beautiful gowns, a la Gone With the Wind?
The harm comes when a romanticized ideal of history becomes popular to the degree that people begin to ignore the reality of what actually HAPPENED; or worse, try to revive and relive a past that never was.Still worse, by far, is when someone comes along and starts writing and publishing revised histories which teach our young folks a skewed version of reality, in order to further the writer’s ideological or political agendas. Secular humanists have been getting away with this for years, and now folks like Steve Wilkins, Doug Phillips, and others are doing the same.
As I pointed out in an earlier blog, to Steve Wilkins and his neo-Confederate followers, LYING is perfectly permissible, and even virtuous, if it advances their Cause. Theonomists justify this strategy with a Biblical story, “Rahab’s Lie,” of a young woman who lies to protect the lives of Israelite spies in Jericho. As I pointed out earlier, Deacon Kevin Branson posted an article on the web site of Wilkins’ church in which he praises Rahab as “a spiritual hero” because “she deceived the wicked who sought to kill God’s own people.”Branson said that “some of us don’t have a clue about honorable and necessary deception of the wicked” and that “sometimes God requires that we offer by way of our right hand a sweeping sword, and from our lips deception, that the wicked might fail, and Christ and His Bride might flourish.”
So if it will serve a good Cause, these fellows see lying as OK.
Let's look at that.
Rahab was a pagan, and she lied to protect the Israelite spies. She lied for a good cause and great good came of it. But does that mean that it is acceptable to lie, or commit any other sort of sin (because that's what this really boils down to: MORAL RELATIVISM, a key tenet of secular humanism) , if doing so will result in good in the end?
Do ends justify means?
Now, mind you, I in no way am condemning Rahab. Personally, I think that Rahab was most likely a very good-hearted, courageous, and well meaning person --"a hooker with a heart of gold", if you will. She told her lie for a noble cause, and since she was a pagan, she had probably never been taught that lying is bad ALL the time. After all, Rahab grew up in a culture which taught that prostitution was a highly respectable profession. She very likely thought that lying for a good cause was OK. For Rahab telling such a lie almost certainly wasn’t a sin, because she was doing what her conscience said was right, and was acting in the interest of virtue; she was doing the best she could without the knowledge of God’s Law to guide her. She simply didn't know any better, and as it turned out, a well meaning person with no knowledge of the Law was just what God needed that night. God's spies survived and the person who saved them did not have to sin to do so. This does not say that morality is relative,however. Rather, as Romans 5:13 says ”until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” In other words, Rahab's lie was still a "wrong thing", but Rahab herself was not guilty of the sin because she was ignorant of God's law against lying.
But the situation would have been different for an Israelite, and it is completely different for Christians today. We have the Bible to tell us that ALL lies are wrong:Rev 22:15 For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and *****mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever **loveth and maketh a lie**.
And, if we are going to tell ourselves that according to the Bible, lying is sometimes acceptable because Rahab did it, we might as well say that it's OK to practice Rahab's profession too, as long as it advances some noble Cause. After all, Lot's daughters did something similar when confronted with a tight situation, as did Judah's daughter-in-law Tamar. The Bible records these deeds and does not condemn them.
But I doubt that Wilkins, Wilson, Phillips and the rest of their confederates in the homeschooling curriculum business are going to preach THAT to their congregations.