The Evolution of (Im)Morality in America

The dramatic shift in morality in America has been well-documented and it has been discussed in many venues. One term we continue to encounter is the idea that America and Americans are “evolving” on issues like same-sex marriage. That term is a very loaded term which is meant to communicate a lot about both the supporters of same-sex marriage and their opponents.

This term of “evolution” of course reached the top of the food chain when President Obama publicly said he had been going through an “evolution” on the marriage question as he moved to public support for the idea of gay marriage three years ago (initially Obama was for gay marriage but when he ran for President he announced he was against it). Since the President’s public evolution it is not too much to say that the country has been through a whirlwind of change on this issue. This use of the term “evolution” shows us a lot about the worldview of those who have flocked to this new morality.

First, the use of the word “evolved” suggests that those who have done so have moved from a lesser morality to a new, more sophisticated and more advanced morality. This necessarily implies that anyone who does not embrace this new morality is therefore less advanced and less evolved.  By using such language anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage is already labelled as a backward thinking Neanderthal. 

Second, one cannot use the word evolution without seeing it in light of Charles Darwin. Yes, the use of the term evolution shows us much about how our opponents view everything. Once someone has accepted Darwinian evolution to the neglect of God, there is no basis for any true morality. This is indeed what the history of the west has been through for quite some time. The removal of God in favor of the belief that we are just highly evolved apes shatters any basis for objective morals. In the place of God as the basis for morality we are left only with the shifting sands of ourselves.

If there is no God as an objective standard then morals are necessarily relative. They are to be determined by the society and as society “evolves” its morals change. Yet there is a problem with this. How do our counterparts know that we are progressing and not regressing? Evolving and not devolving? How do they make the value judgment that comes along with suggesting their view is the more advanced one? The problem they seem to ignore is that once God has been removed there is no basis for such an argument. If what is right and what is wrong is purely to be determined by the shifting opinions of cultures, then there is no way to know that we are improving our morals.

In fact, if morality is merely made up by society, then there is absolutely nothing off limits if the society changes its mind. This includes personal freedoms and human rights. Such thinking is a long way from thinking about “certain unalienable rights” given to us by a Creator.

If such thinking about morality is true, then there is no basis for us to tell people that their society’s morals are less evolved like. Take for example Muslim extremists who kill gay individuals or women who do not dress properly. If their society decides it that is morally upright, who are we to tell them their culture is wrong?

The reality is that Christians possess a foundation that is fixed, eternal, and unchanging in their morality. We do not need to evolve to a better moral standard—God is the perfect moral standard. This why there is a massive difference between how Christians view moral issues and how those in secular America view morality. The world operates out of relativism, we are functioning with a view of reality that has absolutes found in God and his Word.

The little known fact our secular friends do not want to acknowledge is that acceptance and celebration of homosexuality is not a new occurrence in world history. The Greeks and Romans celebrated such behavior. So perhaps we are not witnessing an evolution to a new morality, but rather the devolution of our country into immorality. Once we have removed God from the equation there is no objective basis for morals, for human rights, or for personal freedom. What we are witnessing is the bankruptcy of a worldview which rejects the Creator God and it is anything but new, advanced, or highly evolved. The ramifications of such thinking will inevitably go far beyond just the question of same-sex marriage.