Pole-Vaulting Beyond Reason


I mentioned yesterday that I see two non sequiturs used by the Christian liberal establishment to pole vault over the chasm of reason to the fantasy world of progressive utopianism.  Not only are these arguments illogical; they also fly in the face of biblical revelation, which is part of what makes them attractive to the theological left.

First is the idea that change = progress.  Any change must be a step forward.  But a moment of thought should wake us up from this flight of fancy.  Liberals cling to the idea that the theory of evolution proves this.  But Darwin’s theory only argues that for organisms to survive they must adapt to their changing environments.  The ones that adapt the best are the ones which thrive and presumably pass on their adaptations to their offspring.  However, whether adaptation means progress is open to question.  Suppose that creatures blessed with eagle-eyed vision are plunged for generations into total darkness where they breed over many years and their offspring adapt well to the dark, losing their visual capacity as their hearing sharpens.  Every observer would agree that they had adapted, but would we argue that in losing their sight they had progressed to a higher level of life?  Hardly.  Because change does not in itself imply progress.

Second, even if we could swallow the non sequitur that in the world of physical evolution change does indeed always indicate progress, it is a leap of fantasy to assume without hard evidence that the world of human social history would operate according to the same model.  What evidence can be cited to buttress the claim that the human spirit has progressed in the last, say, 4,000 years?  Have human beings as a race grown more noble, compassionate, wise, loving, generous, courageous, selfless or holy?  Somewhere I remember hearing that historians have labeled the 20th century the most violent and bloody war-torn period in recorded history.  Where is the evidence that would overcome this assessment and lead us to conclude that on the contrary human beings have outgrown and risen above all those prehistoric, animalistic urges to become enlightened, godlike beings?  Sure we’ve banked huge terabytes of knowledge and developed amazing technologies.  But all this has done is to magnify what has always dwelt naturally in the human heart.  Now we can through technology spread blessing to greater numbers or people, or we can destroy vast masses.  No evidence supports the notion that human nature has evolved ethically or spiritually.  The human heart remains a fallen moral organ — capable of great good, but shot through and through with great evil. 

“Progressivism” dresses up the lie that the human race is on the yellow brick road to an inevitably perfect world and society, if only we will join hands and hearts to pursue justice and peace.  It is a failed human vision built upon the crumbling bricks of unregenerate human souls.  As we will see, it rejects the need for Jesus as Savior and Redeemer, making him instead the suggested pattern by which we measure our own self-styled progress.  Progressivism is an attractive lie — like the wizard of Oz in the Emerald City (“Don’t pay any attention to that man behind the curtain!), or in more biblical language like the apparent angel of light who finally morphs into his true form as Satan. 

That is why in my own communications I typically refuse to use the term “progressive” to address liberals.  Progressivism implies advancement — but I’m convinced from a spiritual point of view that this is a retrograde movement, leading folks further from Christ rather than toward him.  If those in this camp want to truly progress, they need to repent (that is, turn around) and head in the opposite direction, back to the fold of orthodoxy.  When you are headed the wrong way, progress means going backward, not speeding up into oblivion. 

At least the term “liberal” has some truth to it.  It implies freedom — in this case freedom from the shackles imposed by Truth as revealed in the Bible.  As a movement, it still leads to the same oblivion, but at least it does so with less subterfuge….

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3 Responses to Pole-Vaulting Beyond Reason

  1. Timothy F Simpson says:

    I am a progressive Presbyterian pastor. In my judgment, your presentation of progressives is a caricature. I don’t know anybody who believes whist you are saying progressives believe. If this silly portrait was what progressivesactually believed, I wouldn’t agree with it either. I guess the creation of a straw man is easier than listening.

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    • mateenelass says:

      Timothy, thank you for taking the time to respond. I know I’m dealing in broad brush strokes, and that every one on the liberal wing is not neatly categorized by one blog. But I’m convinced that the theological underpinnings of the liberal/progressive worldview depart from the gospel of the NT, and from the Jesus of the Scriptures, and so the vision they pursue is one which leads away from Truth, not toward it. I hope you’ll stick around to interact with my thoughts on the liberal theological propositions I saw evident in the language and arguments of folks at our last GA, and help me see more clearly if I’m misinterpreting or being otherwise unfair to those on the left.

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  2. Lora Koetsier says:

    Writings of Fitzgerald and Hemingway reflect pessimism of World War I and their disillusionment with 19th century progressivism.
    Disregarding the profound influence of Darwin (macro-evolution as progress) and Hegel (dialectic of the World Spirit) upon development of the ideological left is folly.
    Statements concerning straw men that reflect this folly are sophistry.

    Thank you Mr. Elass for sharing your insights.
    Without foundation of knowledge, walls of discernment, and windows of wisdom, the roof of understanding built on the ground serves no purpose.
    Like Jesus said, the wise man built his house upon the Rock, that is the truth of Jesus Christ as found in God’s Word.

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