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True for You (but not for Me)

Is Christianity just something that helps some people? Is there really any basis for right and wrong other than opinion?

This article is reproduced with permission from the British ministry Facing The Challenge, see below for more information.

Across Britain this week, hundreds of couples will be getting married. They will spend thousands of pounds on the wedding itself. I’m sure they will go into their marriages with high hopes, and most of them will mean the promises they make to each other.

Yet the sad reality is that four out of ten of them will end in the divorce courts. Until recently, Britain had the highest divorce rate in Europe. It has only fallen from that position because fewer people are now getting married in the first place.

Image: Billy Hicks/Wikimedia Commons

And whatever we think about the rightness or wrongness of divorce, surely we cannot deny the pain and guilt that it inflicts on any children involved—and indeed on the husband and wife. Divorced people who remarry have a higher chance of going through yet another marriage breakdown. (Perhaps this is one reason why people choose to live together rather than to marry.) Children from broken homes are more likely to have behavioral problems, more likely to have problems at school, and more likely to end up in broken relationships as adults.

We’re in a mess, aren’t we? Where has it come from? How did we get here?

One of the underlying reasons is that for most of us today, right and wrong are no longer something God-given, something we can all agree on. Rather, right and wrong are just a matter of “lifestyle choice”.

Apparently six out of seven 13-15 year olds now believe that there is nothing wrong with sex outside marriage. Three out of four believe there is nothing wrong with under age sex. Half of all lower sixth form pupils are already sexually active.

So Britain now has the highest proportion of unmarried teenage mothers in the world. And surely we can’t deny that these girls are not ready psychologically, emotionally, or financially, for the demands of parenthood.

But where has this idea come from? This belief that right and wrong are just a lifestyle choice.

Underlying it is the belief that truth itself is just a matter of personal opinion. No-one can know what is really true. Something can be “true for you” without necessarily being “true for me too.” So we all make up our own version of the truth as we go along.

A recent CD by the Manic Street Preachers captures this in its title: This is my truth tell me yours.

So today truth is whatever you want it to be—and because of that, right and wrong become just whatever you choose them to be.

Now in this kind of world, Christianity becomes just your private opinion, or my private opinion. If you choose to be a Christian, that’s fine—for you. I’m so glad it helps you—don’t push it down my throat, thank you very much. It isn’t for me.

So here we are in a world where truth is a matter of opinion, right and wrong is a matter of lifestyle choice, and Christian faith is something private and personal, with nothing to say to the wider world of law, or education, or the media, or business. Religious beliefs are private beliefs, and we should keep them that way.

But we find ourselves unable to live in this world that we have created.

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: The editors are Raul Mock, Mike Dies, Joe Joslin, and Jim Dettmann with significant input from other writers including John Lathrop, Amos Yong, Tony Richie, and Kevin Williams.

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