No Higher Authority? The Epicentral Question of the Culture War.

Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary for President Bill Clinton, said, 

The true battle (of the 21st Century) will be between the modern society and the anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is a mere preparation for existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma; Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But, it is not the greatest danger that we face.”[3]

From where I stand, those appear quite clearly to be fighting words, right? It would seem that Mr. Reich has drawn a line in the sand, defining an “us versus them” reality. He even maligns those who disagree with him, calling them “anti-modernists,” whatever that means. By the way, I realize that he believes wholeheartedly in what he is saying.  But any time you label your ideological components as “anti” your view, that’s not a debate or a dialogue; “them’s fighting words!”

So, as Christians, why fight? Or should I ask, “Why fight back?” Why battle? Isn’t this a “turn the other cheek moment” which may be necessary for sharing the Gospel? Isn’t our humility our greatest asset in these debates? Yes, and no. It is true that our proclamation of the truth is from the position of humility, not arrogance. It is true that our sharing of the faith is willing to endure all kinds of false caricatures and abuse. But, when it comes to the moral and ethical fundamentals of the society in which one lives, one should never abandon the battle for what that actually truth is. When Reich speaks of those who owe their identity and allegiance to some higher authority, he is not just demeaning Christianity, but all who see the very moral structure of the world as a gift of God. While Christians proclaim a unique message of


[1] Two-Kingdom cultural engagement emphasizes that God is at work in the world these two different ways: First,  through the vocations of all people, believers and non, to preserve this sinful world; second, through the person and work of His Son, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ to save the world and to proclaim that forgiveness, life, and salvation as a unique gift of faith to all who believe. God at work in two distinct ways, to preserve and to save! Believers are to seek to follow His lead then in both arenas of God’s rule.

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[3] Ramesh Ponnuru, “Robert Reich’s Religion Problem,”  National Review Online, July 6, 2004