A surprising way to win the culture wars by Steve Yount for Denison Forum
Several months ago, I ran into a neighbor on one of my daily walks. I didn’t know him very well, but I knew he was a Christian.
As we began to talk, it quickly became clear that we disagreed about many things. I had just written a story about relating to people with different views, so the subject was on my mind. Without revealing my politics, I said that I believed in establishing common ground.
His speech grew more animated, his eyes flashed, and our conversation went downhill from there.
Sadly, our little chat revealed a lot about the state of cultural discourse in America. Extremists on both sides have become so entrenched in their views that seeking to find common ground—even just agreeing to disagree—seems like a moral compromise. They will accept nothing short of total victory.
And Christians shouldn’t expect that, not in this fallen world.
How do we grant liberty within plurality?
Andrew T. Walker, an associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, foresees a period of “ups and downs, successes and failures” for the church.
“The Western church in the twenty-first century should remember that history belongs to the Lord and not to our triumphs,” he wrote in Liberty for All.
Walker pointed out a benefit of the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment that’s easy to miss.
“We Christians should extend religious liberty to everyone, because everyone is pursuing truth, even if incorrectly,” he wrote. “In a secular and increasingly pluralistic age, we need to allow falsehood a space to be wrong in hopes that individuals will ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4).”
Certainly, we should stand up for biblical values. Yet we also must realize that this country was founded as a pluralistic society. The Latin phrase E pluribus unum, inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States, means “out of many, one.”