Culture Shift


I recently enjoyed Al Mohler's book Culture Shift . It is a surprisingly short and easy read, considering the convoluted and challenging issues that he addresses in each chapter. In fact, the book feels as though it is perhaps a collection of posts from Al Mohler's blog which, if you are familiar with it, has the same knack for condensing and addressing difficult topics.

The blurb on the book's cover is especially poignant and relevent, given this year's election:

Mass media and technology are exploding. Popular entertainment relentlessly pushes the envelope. Biomedicine stretches ethical boundaries. Political issues shift with the polls.

The world in which you live is in the midst of a major cultural transformation--one leading to a widespread lack of faith, an increase in moral relativsim, and a rejection of absolute truth. How are we to remain faithful followers of Christ as we live in this ever-shifting culture? How should we thing about--and respond to--the crucial moral questions of our day? How can we stand up for the truth?. . .

Here is trustworthy help for developing a comprehensive Christian worldview. It's timely information powerfully connected to timeless truth that will equip you to stand strong and speak out.

Toward this worthy end, Mohler addresses: the role of faith in politics, abortion, cultural tolerance, parenting and public schools, racial harmony, terrorism, and the Christian response to global tragedies.

Because each chapter is an autonomous address to a different and specific issue, the book does not yield itself easily to summary. However, I did have some particular favorites among the many thought-provoking essays. In particular I found Mohler's discussion of "Three Secular Myths" helpful in framing the role of Christian morality in public law.

Mohler points out that secularism rests on three myths: 1) the myth of the secular state -- "secularism is not a positive construct. By its very nature, something is secular only when it denies the existence of God"; 2) the myth of a secular argument -- "no argument is truly irreducibly secular, for anyone who wants to make an argument about anything beyond procedure will have to deal with questions of meaning, morality, and value--questions that are larger than any individual human frame of reference"; and 3) the myth of secular motivation -- "no human being will ever know himself so well that he can separate himself from his own motivations, even one who allows himself the conceit of believing he is driven by a purely secular motivation."

Mohler makes this excellent and insightful observation regarding the myth of secular motivation:

There is no neutrality. On questions as ultimate as the existence or nonexistence of God, or the binding or nonbinding character of His dictates and commands, or the objectivity or subjectivity of morality, or the absoluteness or nonabsoluteness of truth, there are no mediating positions. There is no neutrality. . . .To argue over issues like these is to argue at a level far above a secular plane. It is to argue at the level of moral ultimacy--some from one perspective, some from another, but none from a genuinely secular perspective.

Mohler uses the example of the abortion issue, and the question of when human life begins, to show how impossible it is to deal with moral issues on a purely secular basis:

As Christians, we have a principled, axiomatic answer to that question. But how does a putatively secular theorist fashion an answer to that question? His first instinct, of course, will be to let science step in and adjudicate the issue. But science cannot answer that question, because in order to say when human life begins, there must be some definition of what human life is, and that definition is precisely what science cannot offer.

In the end, Mohler observes, the secularist is left in a moral fog that cannot possibly provide the answers needed to form public laws.

I recommend Culture Shift to you as a thoughtful way to engage some of the most important questions in American culture today. While I do not agree with his every assessment, Mohler's cool-headed argumentation will at least provoke you to consider the moral, political, and cultural questions of our day in light of God's infallible Word.