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The maniacal magnetic pull of moral relativism: An upside down universe

Man in a surreal upside-down world. Digital art style.
Man in a surreal upside-down world. Digital art style. | iStock/Grandfailure

I grew up on the coast of Maine and learned early on how difficult it was to swim against the tide.  Life on the jagged and rugged rock-bound coast is governed by the moon's magnetic pull on the Earth’s oceans. Lobstermen, clam diggers, "periwinklers," seaweed harvesters, and sea trout fishermen alike assiduously study the daily tide calendars to work their respective wares, considering not only the time of tide but its size and strength as well. 

As I look back upon those years living now in the Midwest, I reflect upon the morally tumultuous times we are living in as a nation and silently wonder if America has lost the art of swimming upstream against the magnetic pull of delusional, progressive thought running contrary to moral absolutes.

I was recently interrupted in my discouraged stupor by an article I read about the Vatican’s stance against this perversity. Their newly released “Dignitas Infinita” (Latin for Infinite Dignity), five years in development by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith, is an exceptionally worded piece that is a clarion call for all to remember that God created mankind and did so with exquisite beauty and in unique specificity. I was happily encouraged by reading excerpts of the document which rightly criticizes gender theory, transgender surgery, and surrogacy as “affronts to human dignity.”       

Pope Francis has called transgenderism one of the world’s “most dangerous ideological colonizations.” Dignitas Infita states that transgenderism “denies the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference.”  The document continues by adding that this difference is “foundational” and “the most beautiful and powerful” of them all. These words echo the Scriptures’ finest comment on God’s creation, repeated seven times throughout Genesis chapter one: “And God said it was good.”

If God said it was good, why then has man sought to upend His perfectly designed creation?  Through the weeping prophet Jeremiah, God gave us a succinct and unalterable answer when he declared “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked? Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The Apostle Paul built on this sentiment when he wrote “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is the fallen nature of man to be his own god and decide his way, attempting in vain to rewrite even the most basic design of creation.       

Believers must stand up against the increasingly rebellious behaviors emanating from this warped worldview, a worldview and mindset the Apostle Paul told young Timothy would become more and more self-centered (“For men will be lovers of themselves…” 2 Timothy 3:2 NKJV). We may often grow tired of having to confront these seemingly obvious and unreasonable moral conundrums born out of extreme narcissism. The temptation to retreat into our corner of creaturely comfort often allures us into inactivity. We should resist this temptation by recalling God’s word through Ezekiel, words that should haunt our conscience: “When … you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.” (Ezekiel 33:9, NKJV).

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In many cases, believers have tried in vain to warn others but to no avail. Experiences like this can discourage us. It’s easy to become emotionally and spiritually worn out. However, remembering another one of Paul’s encouraging words can help us continue to stand against the surrounding flood tide of immorality: “Don’t be weary in well-doing for in due season you shall reap” (Galatians 6:9, NKJV). As people of a thoughtful and biblical worldview, we must not back down against the seemingly maniacal and magnetic pull of moral relativism as it rapidly reaches a zenith of expression, knowing that its result will be destruction not the perverse recreation of some upside-down universe, contrary to the original design of our Creator. It would be wise to take a cue from our Catholic brothers and sisters, remembering the insightful words of American writer, poet, and essayist Suzy Kassem: “Strong people stand up for themselves. Stronger people stand up for others.” Years from now, we will want to have left an invisible time capsule for future generations that believers of this current culture didn’t capitulate to the times we were living in but boldly and clearly articulated an opposing, scriptural view in the face any and all who might truly listen or, as in some cases, the vitriol of maddening crowds.

Despite the accurate observation that many of us have of living in a similar time as the Israelites in the period of the judges where “everybody did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), we must be patient and allow God to work out His agenda while still standing strong against unreasonable, unethical and untenable immoral progressivism. It is difficult to be sure but necessary. Let love and patience prevail with those who wish to vouchsafe their comfort away from the inevitable and rapidly disintegrating moral fabric of our culture. In her bestseller series Newsflash, author Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) writes “... to those who would choose safety of inaction over the danger of taking a stand, I have this to say, ‘You bloody cowards. May you have the world that you deserve.” It would be all too easy to say a hearty “Amen!” and yell a few cheers with Grant but we must be patient, remembering the character of our Lord who is “longsuffering, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

Ralph Ackley has pastored for over 30 years in a variety of denominational and church settings from Maine to Michigan. He is an honors graduate of Evangel University (B.A. Biblical Studies, 1985) and an alumnus of The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri (1988,’89).  He also holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maine at Machias (Summa Cum Laude, 2012). He is a frequent contributor to Guidepost publications The Breath of Hope - Guideposts; “A Shrill Voice in the Night” (Ralph Ackley, Author at Guideposts) and Tree of Life - Guideposts.  He and his wife host a podcast entitled “Faith, Family and Friends” and have interviewed over 250 people from all walks of life including best-selling authors, politicians, beauty pageant winners, veterans, film producers and directors, scriptwriters, CCM artists and musicians, visual artists, evangelists, missionaries and activists.  Find them on YouTube, Spotify and Instagram. Ralph and his wife Amy have been married for nearly 39 years and have 3 adult children and one grandchild.  Ralph pastors Fulton Christian Church in Southwest Michigan and teaches English Literature at Reformed Heritage Christian School in Kalamazoo.

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