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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Inconsistency of the Worldview of Personal Autonomy, Part 3

This is the third article in a series exposing the inconsistencies of the worldview of personal autonomy. To read the first two articles, click here and here.  In this post, I’d like to show how the Christian worldview is the only truly compassionate worldview.
What makes the Christian worldview compassionate is the very thing that causes the world to regard it as hostile and intolerant.  The Christian worldview holds that the creation is fallen and man is totally depraved.  Genesis 3 records Adam’s rebellion against God in the garden of Eden.  We learn from Romans 5 that Adam’s sin didn’t just affect Adam, but rather through him sin entered the world, through sin death entered the world, and death spread to all men because all sinned. 
That man is fallen doesn’t just mean that he does sinful things.  Certainly that is part of it, but it goes deeper than that.  He is totally depraved.  This does not mean that he is as bad as he can possibly be, but that he is fallen in every part of this being.  His body is fallen and not only desires sinful things, but also is susceptible to disease.  His affections, motives, ambitions, emotions, and even his mind are all fallen. 
That his mind is fallen means that he thinks wrongly about himself, God, and the world around him.  Romans 1:21-22 points out sin’s effect on the mind: For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…  Ephesians 4:18 speaks also of the mental condition of the sinful human race: They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  This wrong, unnatural thinking leads man to embrace unnatural affections and actions, sins that harm him and those around him (Rom 1:24-27).
Why does man misunderstand the world around him?  Why does man not see himself rightly?  Why is man so easily confused about his identity and purpose?  His mind has been affected by sin.  When we understand what sin has done to man’s faculty of thought, it should not surprise us to find that people experience gender confusion.  It should not surprise us that people believe the only way to freedom is through slavery to substances, or that paranoia would lead a person to commit mass murder.  It should not surprise us that man would deny the existence of God while living in a world that bears obvious evidence of design.  Natural man is unable to think rightly about himself, God, and the world.
Now, how is this view more compassionate than some other worldview, particularly the worldview of personal autonomy?  First, it provides genuine understanding of our fundamental problem.  It is honest with us about what is wrong.  Most people struggling with trials and suffering just want to understand the real issue.  The person experiencing gender confusion wants more than anything to understand himself.  The worldview of personal autonomy offers nothing but deception on this issue.  It points to other people as our main problem – we are being denied what we want.  The cruelty of this deception becomes clear when we see that what this errant worldview advocates to solve the problem can never lead to true freedom.  Which leads to the second way in which the Christian worldview is more compassionate…
The Christian worldview offers a solution to man’s fundamental problem.  It proclaims the good news that there is a Savior who redeems fallen men.  He died for the sins of men and was raised from the dead, earning the right to free men from their bondage to sin (Rom 6:3-7).  All those who repent and trust in Him are made new creations (2 Cor 5:17).  Because of this gracious Savior, an untold multitude can not only say that they have been freed from the penalty of their sin, but that they were formerly sexually immoral, idolators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers (1 Cor 6:9).  Those who embrace Jesus Christ embrace true freedom.
Conversely, the worldview of personal autonomy, by pointing us to the wrong problem, denies us the hope of help with our real problem.  It ensures our continued slavery to darkness and eventual eternal death.  When viewed rightly, such worldviews, while considered compassionate by the fallen world, are unimaginably cruel.  They guarantee suffering, not relief.
This is why those who embrace the worldview of personal autonomy do not find freedom.  For example, one long-term study found that among individuals who undergo sex-reassignment surgery, most experience increasing mental difficulties, and their suicide rate is twenty times the rate of non-transgender society.[1]  The worldview of personal autonomy cannot explain this.  The Christian worldview can.
The only compassionate worldview is the Christian worldview – it alone offers salvation from sin and clarity over confusion.  We should never apologize for this worldview or the truth, freedom, and hope it offers.  Rather, we should lovingly and compassionately champion it.

[1]Paul McHugh, “Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution.” The Wall Street Journal. June 12, 2014.

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