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by Jacob Ninan
To be progressive, in simple words, is to keep up with the times. Times are always changing, in terms of advancements in technology and transformation of culture, living conditions, educational systems, dress, music styles, social language, etc. Anyone who does not adapt himself to these changes is labelled as old-fashioned. To be conservative, on the other hand, is commonly considered to be resistant to change and clinging on to the old ways. Put in this way, to be conservative has a bad smell about it, and everyone likes to be considered to be progressive.
Regrettably, what are also changing with the times are moral values. This moral decay has been taking place all the time, but we seem to have moved into an age that can be called ‘An age of shamelessness’. Sin has always been there, but as long as there was some semblance of conscience left among the masses, sins used to be hidden for fear of shame. Now immorality is being flaunted around, and the bolder the people are to depict immorality in the media or in personal lives, the greater recognition and accolades they get! Some young people are ‘coming out’ and declaring themselves to be aberrant in some way; and they seem to be basking in the attention they are getting!
After homosexual activists held marches in cities and intimidated people, including psychologists and psychiatrists who used to classify them as having a mental disorder, into accepting them as ‘normal’, they began to go for legal battles that finally got them permission for same sex marriages. Emboldened by this, transgender people have begun to ‘come out’ and declare themselves, who claim to have a gender which is different from the physical and physiological identity of sex they are born with. (‘Inter-sex’ is a new term that describes people who are born with a physical ambiguity in their sexual organs or hormones. Eunuchs are males who have been castrated. Some of these terms have been used inaccurately by many, and as a result, there is confusion on this aspect.) Transgenders claim to have a man’s mind while in a woman’s body or a woman’s mind in a man’s body. Some of them now claim to have a ‘fluid’ gender which may change from time to time! They are now demanding and getting rights in the US for a choice of public toilets based not on their physical sex but on what they consider as their gender. We can see the direction in which this trend is going when parents decide not to tell the children whether they are boys or girls, but to leave it for the children to choose what they want to be!
Movies, TV comedy shows and reality shows are all very casual about sexual relations, and the more weird a relationship is claimed to be, the better laughs they get! Courts which bring out decisions that make immoral relationships and acts acceptable do so saying that their duty is only to interpret the law and not to get into moral issues. Little by little, people who watch the media and mix with people who are going immoral are beginning to lose their own moral opposition and inhibitions towards such behaviours, and finally they may even end up losing their own sense of moral values. Christians who oppose such things on moral grounds are ridiculed for not being compassionate or moving with the times.
Everyone is under tremendous social pressure to be seen as being progressive. This translates into accepting whatever ‘everybody else’ accepts. No one seems to have any right to oppose anyone else by pointing out that what someone else is doing is wrong. What happened to Lot in Sodom when he pleaded with the men there not to do wrong is similar to what is happening now. They told him, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge” (Gen.19:9). Those who refuse to support and those who try to help those who are into immoral activities are being penalised, and those who flaunt immoral activities are applauded! We can see now what Jesus forewarned about the last days when He said they would be like the days of Lot.
The single factor that has become so strong in society that no one dares to oppose it is ‘personal choice’. According to this, no one has the right to question anyone else’s personal choices. This dictum is obviously not adhered to when someone murders another, for example, because the first person’s act is affecting another. But when people’s immoral acts are influencing the society at large, there is no penalty for that!
The progressive man is expected to go along with all this. When Christians want this label of being progressive, they first try to keep their opinions to themselves and be silent about such issues in public. But one by one Christian leaders here and there mark their support for the new trends, and over a period of time Christians begin to think that what ‘everybody else’ is saying must be having some truth in it. In their attempt to love the sinner and avoid being judgmental, they also begin to tolerate the sinner’s sins.
To protect ourselves from going in that direction, we need to remember that Jesus and the apostles have warned us about the moral downward slide that will be characteristic of the last times and be careful to watch out and avoid being taken captive by deceitful spirits. We must know that all that comes on the internet is not reliable, because the internet has made it very easy to publish material and there are many who are misusing this powerful medium to spread deception and even blatant lies. It is also seen that even so-called scientific reports are not necessarily scientific because many writers are so much after fame or money that they flout scientific norms in their research and even bring out ‘results’ that they wanted before they started their research.
As time goes on, we have to actually expect more and more hatred from the world when we stand for God and His truths. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (Jn.15:18,19). Prudence tells us not to intervene rashly without knowing who we are talking to, like throwing pearls before the swine, but there are other times we need to stand for God without fear of consequences. We Christians fail not only because we are unwilling to face the mockery or wrath of men but also because there are not enough number of us who are aware of or burdened by what is going on.
We need to be ‘progressive’ in many ways, but when it comes to going against the truths God has given us in His word, we must remain ‘conservative’ even when we are ridiculed for it. These are the last days of the Evil One on the earth, and if we would be faithful to our Lord and Master now we shall reign with Him eternally. The Evil One will be in the lake of fire. Let us not fear man now and compromise on what our Lord has taught us.
-- Editorial in the Light of Life magazine, August 2016
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