Discernment, and the disappearing concepts of good and evil.

Something said to me by a relative this Easter Sunday at lunch really bothered me. We were discussing, as southern Baptists are wont to do, the various uncouth practices of other churches at worship, the use of loud rock music to worship, the lack of deep, penitent, reflective lyrics in their songs, etc. I made the comment that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 7 and later at 10:23 that:

23. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. 24. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Now, Paul was leading into a discussion here of policing our own behavior in order to set the correct example for others; to do whatever it is you do for the glory of God, not for personal glory. This is the lesson I was alluding to, insinuating that “worship” that gives glory to the people involved and thereby shifts focus away from the Cross is both unhelpful and distracting from the purpose.

This relative responded indignantly that we are also taught not to “judge,” and that I was treading on thin ice by discriminating against those with “different” worship practices. I chose not to pursue the point for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the price of being right in that situation was higher than it was worth.

Writing this, I had a hard time deciding whether to delve into a theological dissection of Matthew 7. I think, however, it would serve the final point of the blog post, so please bear with me. These are some of the most oft-quoted words of Christ, where he admonished those assembled, including his disciples, not to judge, for they too would be judged. The word used here is ????? transliterated as “krino,” meaning to “distinguish”, and by implication to try, condemn and punish. (HT to Strong’s Concordance) Jesus, here, is speaking to the assembled about the stumbling blocks to entry into the kingdom of heaven. His admonition here, especially considered in context of the culture of the time, is a warning about condemning the souls of your fellow man. The keepers of the “law” of Moses, the scribes and Pharisees, had developed elaborate laws surrounding determination of the cleanliness, and indeed the purity, of a man’s soul before God. Jesus in no way meant that we should not distinguish good from evil, as he illustrates immediately after in verse 6, saying that we should not give to dogs what is sacred nor throw our pearls to the swine. In order to recognize and distinguish behavior that is clean from behavior that is unclean, a discerning mind is required. Verses 16-20 further drive this theme home with the imagery of a tree and its fruit.

But this verse has long been twisted by the enemies of a critically thinking public, those who would have us complacently allow them to blur the line between what is healthy and what is not. It is ever their purpose to confuse the people as to what is and is not good, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the idea of good altogether so they can redefine it on the fly to mean whatever is advantageous to the gaining and retention of power. This is of course not the only concept that is under attack in today’s world. We also see concentrated attacks on the concepts of honor, justice, fairness and the discernment of man. This latter concept is the focus of this blog entry, and the core of much of the sickness that has infected mankind in the new millennium.

For years now, we have endured endless moaning and railing by the enemies of truth around the world against the idea of “discrimination,” a word they have corrupted to mean a prejudicial determination of worth based not on individual merit but on a group membership of some sort. The word’s roots extend back to the latin discriminatus meaning to to set apart one from another, to divide. Synonyms you have seen throughout this entry would be “discern”, “determine,” etc. These concepts are at the heart, nay the foundation, of all critical thinking. The ability to separate truth from falsehood, chaff from wheat, is central to everything that elevates mankind from a collection of mere primates to primacy in this world. Without the ability to discern one thing from another, different, thing, we lose the ability to communicate at the most basic levels.

I hear an argument, “Weeks, you’ve gone off the deep end with this one. No one is talking about abolishing discernment, where are you getting this?”

I offer up for inspection the disappearing standards in our schools, replaced by relativistic effort-based grading systems, the doctrine that there are no wrong answers merely differently-right ones, etc. I call your attention to the vanishing standards of societal responsibility that once penetrated and wove this country together as a nation, now replaced by hedonistic pursuit of pleasure at all costs, with no regard for the impact on one’s neighbor or children. I point you towards the ignorant, incurious public that swallowed whole the lies of, and then elected, a smooth-talking politician whose voting record (what there was of it), personal history and own words contradicted every promise he made from the campaign trail, thereby putting into motion the systematic dismantlement of the great American experiment.

Lets lay the blame where it belongs, before we move on. It belongs at the feet of every American who can still tell right from wrong, the good and healthy from the evil and cancerous, and choose not to stand up. It belongs at the feet of every parent who hears children talking about learning the evils of judging others at all and does not correct them. It belongs at the feet of the leaders of this nation, entrusted with the preservation of the constitution on which our country is founded and the freedoms it represents, who whither before the enemies of freedom and whine about getting along with those who would destroy us. It belongs at the feet of every good man and woman in this nation who have watched complacently as this nation has slowly corrupted from within, able to stand up and stop it and yet have not. I am not exempt from this conviction, and will own my part in the destruction of this nation of free souls. But, before that happens, I hope to redeem myself in some small part by standing in the way of that destruction. I may be ground to dust, stoned to death or burned at the stake a heretic, but I will no longer stand idly by, and I encourage any who read this and understand to do likewise.

The enemies of discernment in this nation have infiltrated every part of society, and have succeeded in part in transforming the American mind into an incurious, ignorant child, eager to grasp any cause that pulls the heartstrings hard enough and shout whatever slogans are handed them by their television parents. Their campaign aims to hamstring the ability of this nation to continue to self-determine its own fate, to control the direction in which the ship sails. But there is hope. We, here at RedState, American Thinker, NRO, and other sites like it, are strong minds, still capable of discrimination between right and wrong. I do not believe we are a minority, but I do believe the “silent majority” has been suppressed in this country. Until recently, I looked at the news filtering into my RSS reader and despaired. I felt there was no possible way truth and freedom could prevail against the juggernaut of ignorance that continues to rumble forward in this country.

Fellow conservatives and Americans, we cannot let them continue to doubt. Stand up, and let our voices be heard. I refuse to believe that discerning lovers of liberty could be a minority in this, the seat of freedom in the world. This is my first blog post here at Red State, and is meant to be an statement of my beliefs, values and intentions. Here, in letters to representatives in legislatures across the US, and in my financial support for movements I judge to be healthy, I will make my voice heard.