By P. Andrew Sandlin
Published October 2, 1992
By Andrew Sandlin
Almost everybody has heard about political correctness. It is the policy on numerous American campuses to stifle discussion deemed to threaten the sensitivity of “under-represented” groups: homosexuals, blacks, women, the handicapped, etc. The supposed liberal tenet of free speech must now yield if under its protection comments are made that might offend the easily offended “minorities.”
If, as Dinesh D’Souza asserts, the university in a democracy is a microcosm of the society surrounding it (a fairly tenable, common-sense assumption), we may be fairly certain that the current controversy raging over “political correct-ness” in the university is one of the early signs and harbingers of a monumental ideological and religious conflict potentially disrupting the present social order. Initially considered, this claim may seem exaggerated, but further thought should demonstrate its factuality.
The “PC” fracas has demonstrated that the rationalism which stands behind Western liberalism in the tradition of Enlightenment cannot survive indefinitely. The great irony is that while Western liberalism has always been the avowed enemy of conservatism, the former is discovering that its basic tenets of “free inquiry” and “objective appraisal” are not hardy enough to withstand the onslaught of vigorous leftist and radical views impatient with the inability of Western liberalism to make good on the cherished goals of liberal ideology: absolute autonomy and equality.
The forces of rationalism and the advocates of “PC” only appear to be arrayed against each other. They are both actually arrayed against biblical Christianity. Western liberalism embraces the primacy of reason; advocates of “political correctness” embrace the primacy of “equality.” Neither embraces the primacy of the God who revealed himself in Holy Scripture.
The disciples of “political correctness” argue against Western liberals that the professed neutrality of modern university liberalism is just a covert scheme to obscure presuppositions designed to maintain the status quo. Where they are wrong is in pinpointing that status quo. They say it is chauvinism, sexism, racism and Westernism. On that, I believe they are egregiously wrong.
The hidden presupposition the classical liberals are endeavoring to protect is the same that the salesmen of “political correctness” are trying to protect: the autonomy of man.
The Myth of Neutrality
Under the guise of free inquiry and objectivity, classical liberals idolatrously enthrone the human mind, just as “PCers” do under the guise of egalitarianism. The controversy demonstrates the futility of the pipe dream of Enlightenment liberalism: that where reason is employed, truth prevails. It does not account for the fact that (a) reason is never objective and that (b) reason can never answer the ultimate questions of life since it has no absolute standard by which to judge. Reason, for example, is no bulwark against tyranny, for according to some presuppositions, tyranny can be perfectly reasonable. Rationalism serves the purpose of depraved mankind in its rebellion against the Creator God.
The disciples of “political correctness” know that the supposed neutrality and objectivity of Western intellectuals is a farce, but they do not recognize that their own politically correct views are equally farcical. “PC” is breaking the back of the old utopian liberal intellectual faith in reason. Devotees of “political correctness” will not concede for one minute that neutral, objective reason should reign in the university because they recognize that the position of “objective” liberalism springs from subjective presuppositions. Of course, disciples of “political correctness” are mistaken in their insistence that radical feminism, Afro-centrism, and homosexuality should be exempted from criticism. All who embrace the truth as revealed by God in His Word will fervently oppose each of these deviations – as well as the others supported by the “politically correct.”
The point is that the controversy surrounding “political correctness” should force “neutral” liberal educators to concede that some ideology will govern the university (and every other sphere of society, for that matter). If men do not worship God, they will worship themselves and other created things (Rom. 1) and eventually Satan (Rev. 13). The “PC” controversy is a perfect example. The children of the intellectual liberals rebelling against their “reasonable” heritage (worship of the mind of man) now defy God by demanding that professors avoid any criticism, implied or expressed, of homosexuality (an abomination in God’s eyes according to Romans 1).
Because the course of idolatry is degradation (Rom. 1), if universities permit “political correctness” to dominate, they will become not only increasingly depraved but also increasingly mediocre and incompetent. When “PC” educators employ race rather than merit as a chief standard of enrollment policy, the result will be less knowledgeable and less equipped individuals to perform important functions as citizens of our society. When administrators block intelligent Asians in favor of incompetent blacks and whites, they are sealing the mediocrity of a country.
When they refuse to require courses in Western literature because it is dominated by white males, and require instead courses in Asian and African literature (most of which is abysmally inferior to that of Western culture) they slit their own throat – or, I should say, the throat of their students who must one day assist in sustaining a society whose glorious benefits derive directly from the ideas of white males, the validity of whose ideas has nothing to do with race.
If the old liberalism were to win this debate and reassert itself in American universities, the results would be only slightly more favorable; however, the classic liberal utopia of a “neutral creed” is doomed because its “neutrality” cannot forever withstand the onslaught of commitments like those of the “politically correct.” In the long run, pretended neutrality is no match for fervent ideology. The Weimer Republic’s pitiful collapse before the militant, though misguided and tyrannical force of National Socialism, is a striking example.
A Strategy for the Culture War
Epistemologically conscious Christians on campus should seize the initiative by demonstrating the bankruptcy of the old Enlightenment classical liberalism and the perversion of the “politically correct” corp. They must, further, press the claims of the authority of Christ in all spheres of life, including the life of the university. Nor will the commitment to historic Christianity jeopardize the free flow of ideas as the classical liberals charge and as the ideal of “political correctness” obviously does.
Rather, if the university is not to become a “multiversity,” it must embrace the epistemology of the Christian faith which, if properly practiced and understood, guarantees the free flow of ideas, precisely because as the only viable foundation of intellectual life, it can afford to confront the challenges posed by secularism, Marxism, materialism and all other ideological perversions. As long as the validity of the Christian faith is presupposed, all alternatives will be found wanting.
The battle on campus is merely the most visible dimension of the larger conflict in Western culture. The (rapidly diminishing) classical liberals wrongfully claiming neutrality, as well as the overt covenant-breakers of “political correctness” rightfully denying neutrality, are arrayed against the (rapidly diminishing) Christian pietists wrongfully claiming neutrality, as well as the overt covenant-keepers rightfully denying neutrality. The classical liberals, one will note, are analogous to the Christian pietists – both erroneously believe they can remain neutral in this conflict. The classical liberals are really on the side of the overt covenant-breakers, for Scripture claims all the unconverted suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18).
The Christian pietists are really on the side of the overt covenant-keepers, but they just have not become consistent with their presuppositions yet. The overt covenant-keepers and the overt covenant-breakers are actively locked into a life-and death struggle to the finish (literally so, at the doors of abortions clinics). These are two fundamentally irreconcilable, mutually exclusive presuppositions. They cannot simultaneously succeed, nor can they long simultaneously co-exist.
God created this conflict (Gen. 3:15): the seed of the serpent (Satan and his disciples) war against the seed of the woman (Christ and His disciples). God instituted this hostility. Christians must not retreat from or smooth over the differences. This conflict (Mt. 16:18), will be escalated not impeded. On campus, at the shop or office, at the polling booth, in every venture this conflict between God and Satan will escalate.
Andrew Sandlin is a staff member of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors. CEE sponsors Intensive Revival School, a two year discipleship training program designed to prepare students for the ministry. If you want more information from CEE, write:
CEE, 35155 Beachpark Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » On Campus
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)