Writing in the July 21, 1997 issue of U.S. News & World Report, John Leo writes, “Overdosing on nonjudgmentalism is a growing problems in the schools. Two disturbing articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education say that some students are unwilling to oppose large moral horrors, including human sacrifice, ethnic cleansing, and slavery, because they think that no one has the right to criticize the moral views of another group or culture.”
Robert Simon, a college professor, reports that 10 to 20 percent of his students can’t bring themselves to say that killing millions of people in the Holocaust was wrong. One student said, “Of course I dislike the Nazis, but who is to say they are morally wrong?” Simon calls this “absolutophobia”-the unwillingness to say something is wrong.
Leo closes his article by saying, “But the wheel is turning now, and ‘values clarification’ is giving way to ‘character education,’ and the paralyzing fear of indoctrinating children is gradually fading. The search is on for a teachable consensus rooted in simple decency and respect. As a spur to shaping it, we might discuss a culture so morally confused that students are showing up at colleges reluctant to say anything negative about mass slaughter.”
“Values clarification” is a product of the New Age Movement, and was designed to make everyone agree to disagree. No one is right and no one is wrong. This would allow the world to come together in a New Age. It has obviously failed as we have our current society to show as an example of its results. But the greatest single factor in this tragedy was, no doubt, the removal of the Divine moral standard from our schools. If our society wants to provide “character education,” there would be no better way than to re-institute the Word of God in our schools.
However, “absolutophobia” is not limited to our schools and society. The attitude that judging is wrong has evaded the professing Christian church as well. A movement that claims to be Christian is accepted as Christian without being tested by Scrip ture. If a group speaks of Christ they must be one of us. If the music has the same beat as the world’s but is performed by those professing to be Christians, it must be Christian music, and we must not judge!
Not only has the Bible been set aside in public schools and society, it has been set aside in professing Christianity. Many are quick to quote, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” However, few are quick to quote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)
While the Scriptures do warn us concerning judging the motives of others, it repeatedly instructs and encourages us to be judging both the message and the messenger, “For many deceivers are entered into the world….” (2 John 7)
Paul writing to the saints at Philippi said, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;” (Phil. 1:9-10) While Paul prayed that their hearts might be expanded in love, he did not mean that in love they should accept all things or all people. Their love, like a river, was to flow within the banks of knowledge and judgment. It was to be restricted by truth and discernment. They were to discern what was “excellent.”
Many believe that in the professing church discernment is at an all time low, sadly at a time when deception is at an all time high. Many have not taken time to search “the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:1 1) Things are handled at a superficial level, and few search deep into the Word to test movements, their teachers and their teachings. Size and excitement often take precedent over truth.
Others have laid hands suddenly on men. Those who appear quickly on the scene and quickly gain a following with a new line of teaching. Christian psychology and its teachings are rarely compared to Scriptures. Teachings often based on a partial verse or short portions of Scripture, and often taken out of context, are quickly swallowed like chocolate covered candy. Subjective teaching that touches ones feelings is considered more important than the objective truth of the basic doctrines of Scripture.
In addition to not exercising discernment and making necessary judgments, many local churches often condemn those who do. They are viewed as legalistic, or “wet blankets” who hinder the advancement of the church. The apostle Paul experienced this, and replied, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to pray that the Lord will heal the church of “absolutophobia.”