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Christian ethics and moral symmetry

Christian ethical standards are timeless, objective, and are to be applied without fear or favor

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Christian ethics and moral symmetry

Christian morality is a respecter of no tribe or alliance. Faithfulness to Christ requires that we apply Biblical truth to every dimension of life, including our political life and social media.

It is not simply that I agree with the content of Christian ethics. I love how Christian ethics works as a theory. Our ethical standards are timeless, objective, and impartially applied without fear or favor. Our values, understood rightly, should never change or evolve.

How Christian ethics work as a theory is best measured against how secular ethics work. If you pay attention to secular moral values, you will notice how they constantly evolve and catch up based on the current cultural mood. For example, 20 years ago, same-sex marriage was unthinkable, and Democrats universally opposed it. Twenty years later, if one is against same-sex marriage, one could never conceive of being a Democrat. So, the moral values change to meet the needs of an evolving political constituency. At root, it is a form of ethical subjectivism and relativism.

I offer that example to illustrate the background premises of how Christians think about morality and moral judgment. If same-sex marriage was wrong 2,000 years ago, it was wrong 20 years ago and is still wrong today.

I say all of that because if one pays attention to the dark underbelly of X (formerly known as Twitter), one cannot help but pay attention to the weird fixation with race and ethnicity by X accounts (largely anonymous ones) caught up within the “dissident right” ecosystem. The dissident right is not synonymous with conservatism. Often, these accounts are outrightly hostile to authentic conservatism.

Envision those accounts with laser-eyed Confederate generals, medieval Knights Templar with swords drawn chopping down the infidel, or Pepe the frog memes for their profile pictures. The accounts are often brash, profane, and cynical. They are acerbic and pugilistic. They might style themselves with smashmouth adjectives in their bio to project their bravado. They somehow excuse their anonymity as speaking truth to power with Publius-style pseudonyms. Some accounts do not cloak themselves in anonymity. They are willing to spew their antisemitism or their racism for all to see.

Without Scripture as our authority, humans are prone to valorize whatever gives them the identity they are looking for, whether homosexuality, transgenderism, misogyny, or racism.

Then there are the accounts that cannot bring themselves to admit their racism but want to spend all their time nuancing the complexities of identity politics. A lot of time is spent engaging in throat-clearing differentiations on how race ties into biological differences. I know of no simpler way to say it: It’s really weird stuff and reveals thinly veiled racism and eugenics dressed up in academic jargon. To me, it seems a right-wing version of what online discourse calls a “nuance bro,” which is slang for the type of person who extends no nuance to their enemies’ view but demands nuance for their own views. Reflexive nuance when it comes to race and ethnicity is the mirror image of those who nuance the complexities of sinful sexual desires.

Why bring up the dissident right wing and a concern about Christian moral standards? As I said earlier, Christian ethics should be about moral symmetry. This means that I have to apply the same ethical standards to my right as I do to my left.

If you are a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, you should give no quarter to left-wing sexual and gender ideology.

If you are a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, you should give no quarter to weird right-wing preoccupations with race and ethnicity.

Making human existence reducible to our sexual desires, chromosomes, melanin, or geography without obedience to Scripture and its full-bodied anthropology grounded bearing God’s image is where today’s left wing and right wing horseshoe into similar worldviews. Without Scripture as our authority, humans are prone to valorize whatever gives them the identity they are looking for, whether homosexuality, transgenderism, misogyny, or racism.

I spend my time mainly criticizing the secular left for its sexual and gender identity politics. But impartial analysis means that those who misbehave on the right need to repent, too. Individuals of these stripes need to channel the time and energy into finding a local evangelical church that will preach the gospel to you, call you to repentance, and love you into the truth.

Andrew T. Walker

Andrew is the managing editor of WORLD Opinions and serves as associate professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a fellow with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. He resides with his family in Louisville, Ky.

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