As I observe the increasingly evasive tactics of those who are defending Planned Parenthood, I can’t help but notice the sad similarities to those who so evasively defend blatant irrationality in theology. And I’m not surprised, because it all comes from the common root of relativism, and is supported by the militant insistence of moderation. Relativism and moderation: those are the destructive twin “narratives” of our time, and though evangelical Christians would love to protest otherwise, they are, in large part, complicit in that destruction.
We all know the relativism behind which the baby-killers love to hide: “You’re entitled to your point of view, and I’m entitled to mine. If you are against abortion, then don’t get one. If you believe it is a live human with rights, that’s great! I believe it’s just a lump of tissue, and it’s my choice to do what I want with it.” They’re trying to play it both ways; letting you have your cake, while they eat it, too. But you know it doesn’t work. The fact of whether or not it is a live human being is not up to opinion. And the unborn baby either has a right to life, or it doesn’t. Different “perspectives” don’t change that. There is an objective truth to the situation, which transcends mere subjective opinion.
But how is their retreat into relativism on this issue any different than that of the modern Christian “intellectuals” who proclaim that the human mind is incapable of knowing truth with certainty; that there is no way to establish by reason whether or not God exists; that truth must simply be presupposed (i.e. arbitrarily assumed)? Answer: There isn’t a difference. The situation with abortion is just one bloody, concrete, example of the logical implications of the presuppositional-perspectival-narrative-obsessed-relativistic-orgy currently plaguing conservative evangelicalism.
Another dubious tactic of the baby-killers is to insist upon moderation; balance; and “emphases”––anything but absolutes. “I can understand being against partial-birth abortion, but to be against abortion in the 2nd trimester, that’s just extreme”. What’s “extreme” about it though, other than it being “extremely” consistent with the principle that killing a baby is wrong? Ah, but consistency is precisely what “moderation” and “balance” are out to destroy! “We need to balance the mother’s right to choose with the baby’s right to life.” But, you can’t “balance” two mutually exclusive principles; you can only compromise toward one position or the other.
Another example of this obsession with moderation is seen in the talk of “emphases.” “You want to emphasize that they haggle over prices for the fetal tissue,” the baby-killer says, “but they explicitly say that they aren’t making money”. “Well they can’t both be true,” you might counter, “either they are making a profit off of this or not, and the video shows that they are.” Well, they really do say both, and since consistency is out the window, it’s all just a matter of which statements you choose to emphasize (and which statements, therefore, you choose to downplay or ignore).
Now compare this to modern evangelical talk about truth in theology and philosophy: “We need to balance truth with love” (as if there were actually a tension between the two!); “Reason is good, so long as you don’t go to any extremes”; “You want to emphasize that truth, and I want to emphasize this one––there’s nothing wrong with that.” Yes, there is––because all truth is God’s truth, and God’s truth is an integrated whole, not a smorgasbord of “emphases”.
Or, consider the dogmatic insistence on “being charitable” in our reading of blatant heresy and irrationality: N.T. Wright laboriously undermines the entire structure of the traditional doctrine of justification, "but he still affirms it!"
Presuppositionalists (take Frame as an example) take underhanded jabs at reason in every breath, and invent entirely new epistemologies to undermine it, "but they still affirm it!"
N.D. Wilson downright scoffs at serious philosophical inquiry or intellectual certainty, insisting very colorfully that we’re nothing but worms with lightning storms going off in our brains, "but he still affirms that we can know what’s true!"
And Planned Parenthood openly haggles over the prices of baby parts in undercover videos, "but they still affirm that that would be an illegal practice which they would never do!"
If we’re supposed to read the former “charitably,” then where’s the “charity” in our viewing these Planned Parenthood videos? "Sure, he said that reason can’t give us any certainty, but he also said that reason is a good gift from God. Sure, they talked about chopping up babies and selling the pieces to the highest bidder, but they also said that they haven’t broken any laws. You need to be more charitable!"
The Common-Ground: Evasion
Do you see the common thread? The very evil of Planned Parenthood’s evasion is the same type of evil in our evasion with theological and philosophical issues. It is the rebellion against logical conclusions, against consistency, against truth, against reality, that these all have in common. So why the different reactions by Christians?
When it comes to physical, in your face things, the Church (for now) has no problem following logical conclusions, being dogmatically consistent, insisting on “either-or”, and demanding that you choose a side. This is true of saving children from being slaughtered; it's true of fighting the "Gay Agenda"; it's true of earning a paycheck, and it's true of feeding one's family. In all of these "practical" issues, Christians have no problem with objectivity. But when it comes to the more “ethereal” things, like the existence of God, the nature of truth, etc... they’re content––no, desperate!–– to retreat back into the fog of relativism and moderation; the very fog they wish to condemn the abortionists for hiding behind. Why is this? Could it be because, deep down, they don’t consider those things to pertain to real life––that those “ethereal” things are really more like unreal things to them? I think so. And it’s in large part due to the Fairytale Christianity I discuss here.
The Church is supposed to be the pillar and buttress of truth, but the thing about holding up truth is that you can’t do it selectively; you can’t be dogmatic about objectivity, logical consistency, and rationality on some issues, and then turn around and insist upon relativistic subjectivity, “balance,” and “moderation” on other issues––especially the more foundational ones. When the Church plays fast and loose with objectivity in theology, it can't expect the world not to do the same thing in every other area of life––and when the seminary indoctrinates future pastors with relativistic philosophies, don't expect their future sheep to "hold fast to the truth" for very long. They can't. They've been taught not to.
So, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as you behold the very bloody consequences of evading the objectivity of human life right in front of you, consider how much more bloody the consequences may be of evading objective truth, in general. As you witness, and rightfully condemn, these bloody evasions, consider the tidal waves of blood which may result from your own evasions of reality. Then repent, while there's still time.