It came up again just last week in a conversation regarding a very important and potentially dangerous cultural topic, CRT or Critical Race Theory. There was a moment where I contradicted the other party in the discussion and say in effect, that’s just wrong. Now I know that it’s doesn’t seem fashionable and perhaps many would call it offensive to say that I believe that I am right and you are wrong, but there comes a time, popular or not, when it has to be done.
You may remember that a premise is defined as a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion. This suggests that if the previous is true, then the conclusion can be trusted as factual as well. For many, that’s enough to settle the matter and move on; however, there is such a thing as rejecting the premise. It seems as if no one feels the need or possesses the ability to reject a premise these days. Many people may agree on many things, but wait... there may be a problem with the premise.
Michael Knowles in his latest book, “Speechless, controlling words controlling minds,” takes a long and detailed look at the heart and the manipulation of language. He explores the history of political correctness beginning in the 1920s with thinkers like Antonio Gramsci to critical theorists and second-wave feminism.
He writes, “Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School is credited with developing the idea of “false consciousness,” which explained why the masses were comfortable with conservative cultural hegemony and unaware that they were oppressed. Knowles recounts how Second Wave feminists in the 1970s held “consciousness-raising” meetings to awaken themselves to their own oppression.
This led to “woke” ideology spread through academia in the fields of “Women’s Studies,” “Black Studies” and “Queer Studies,” each dedicated to tearing down the old oppressive standards of speech and replacing them with standards that enforce their worldview. The success of this movement is keenly felt in today’s political controversies, whether it’s the debate over critical race theory in schools, censorship on social media or the fight for fairness in women’s sports.
“All cultures ‘cancel,’” Knowles declares. He believes it is perfectly legitimate and in fact, morally right to “cancel” speech that opposes traditional moral standards. He points to the 1950s, when Americans tried to “cancel” communism because the communist system is tyrannical and evil. Now, in the 2020s, anti-communists are “canceled” because people have used political correctness to supplant the old standards of good and evil with new ones that adhere to its ideology. There will be standards of speech. Either they can uphold what is good, true and beautiful, or they can promote what is bad, false and ugly.
I am reminded of the words of Peter as he wrote to early Christ followers, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Wow, talk about a first-hand account! No one could convince him otherwise. Jesus really was who he said he was. Peter removes all doubt as he was even willing to die for what he knew to be true.
First-hand accounts are important because they dispel misinformation and falsehood. Peter must have been familiar with darkness, as everyone in his day was. No thousand-watt municipal street lamps ripped open the night sky. He saw the small oil lamps limited ability to illuminate a room. In our day and time when many are skeptical of the story of Christianity and with the prevalent secular mindset of our culture, I can see why they have a bit of trouble embracing the incredible claims regarding Jesus.
There is an offensive nature to truth. A common complaint against anyone claiming to have absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a stance is “narrow-minded,” or that it is arrogant to claim that someone is right and another person is wrong.
Yet another protest against truth is that it is offensive and divisive to claim one has the truth. Truth has always mattered to God. One of my favorite writers, Oz Guinness, states in his book, “A Time for Truth,” “all truth is God’s truth and it’s true everywhere for every one, even if no one believes it!” So, truth is not subject to your vote or your opinion.
Some things are wrong and some things are right. Jesus never hesitated in the face of misconceptions and false teaching to say clearly that “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by me!” Now I want to tell you, that didn’t sit too well in the next Jerusalem Pharisee meeting!
Allow me to restate... Some things are wrong and some things are right! May we know what is true and good, and may we be prepared and equipped to stand for it. And if need be when faced with immoral and harmful ideas, just say no!
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council, who writes a weekly column published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.