Now, if that isn’t a politically loaded question in modern American culture, there isn’t one!
A number of years ago, when I lived in Binghamton, NY, I had my first encounter with black ice. Having grown up in the mountains of WV, I was used to driving in inclement weather. But I had never had the unfortunate experience of hitting black ice. For those who do not know what black ice is, let me explain it. Black ice is ice that forms on the black top of the road that is virtually invisible and in many cases, completely undetectable until it’s too late. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for it. The safest way to deal with black ice is to avoid it. Well, I realized I was driving on black ice when my truck lost traction and began to fishtail. I counter steered and fishtailed in the other direction, and then again. Usually, if you do this enough you can regain control of the vehicle. However, there is a point of no return in the fishtail. When the rear of the vehicle reaches a certain point, you know you have lost control. And I did, in fact, reach that point. My truck ended up sliding backwards at the speed of 60mph into the median which had about 1-2 feet of snow in it. White stuff went everywhere but both me and my truck were okay. Praise God. My next problem was getting out of the median or getting help without freezing to death. You see, this incident took place on interstate 88 north bound between Binghamton and Albany NY. My final destination for the day was my new assignment, Burlington, Vt. It was January and it was cold, hoovering right around 0 degrees. But that is a different story for another post.
America is experiencing a crisis. Actually, the truth is that America is in a number of crises. Indeed, something very peculiar is taking shape in this once great country. The situation is very much like a building that is about to tumble to the ground. America is teetering on the brink of destruction. She is in a virtual tailspin even as this post is created. And I fear that she has reached the point of no return. It seems that the outcome is inevitable at this point: America will crash. What the aftermath will look like, only God knows. But there is little doubt that an aftermath will obtain and that, not in the too distant future. And that state of affairs is very likely to look radically different from what my generation grew up with.
You see, if you view America as a country, then I want to suggest that you are looking at America wrongly. People have not migrated from all over the world for the sake of being in a particular geographical location. Men and women have not given their last breath for a piece of dirt. Soldiers do not die for a flag. And when a flag is burned, it is only a piece of material and no one is really upset that a piece of cloth with a peculiar pattern has been destroyed. You see, America is an idea. People have migrated to an idea. They have left all for the power of the idea. Men and women have died in American wars because they believed in and were loyal to an idea. The American flag represents an idea. And I am sad to say that the idea that was America, has been admitted to hospice. The contemporary people that call themselves Americans are only American by geography. They are not American in philosophy, in their idea.
There has been no small stir lately in terms of racial tension in America. In fact, with the electing of its first black president, I have experienced more racial tension and relational deterioration in the last 8 years than I have witnessed since my birth in 1965, which took place at just about 9 months after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act. Perhaps my parents were celebrating! Police officers are being murdered just because they are police officer. And somehow, hundreds of thousands of people in both the black and white communities (for lack of a better term) seem to approve or think that such behavior is justified. Even if there was a corrupt police officer on the other side of the country that wrongly took someone’s life, that is not justification for anyone on the other side of the country to kill a police officer simply because they are a police officer. This think is not just outrageous it is dangerous and represents a threat to the very fabric of this nation.
Enter the organization and the idea, “Black Lives Matter.” More than the organization is the idea that black lives matter. The implication is that black lives do not matter in America and they don’t matter to law enforcement in particular. Now, this is a Christian post with a focus on apologetics, not politics. So, to that end, let’s turn this post in that direction. Christians are witnessing these movements and new ideas along with the death of an old idea, or lots of old ideas. How are we to engage unbelievers in the middle of this crisis? I would argue that we should engage them the same way we do during any other period. So, let’s take black lives matter and use that as a platform from which to preach the gospel and defend the truth of Christian beliefs.
If Christianity is true then God exists, and there is such a thing as ethical norms, a transcendent moral code if you will. Moreover, if Christianity is true then black men and women, the same as white men and women are created in the image of God. And if that is true, then black lives have intrinsic value. And if that is true, then of course, black lives matter. This means that if Christianity is true then black lives are as valuable as any other life from any other ethnic group because all mankind finds its identity in Adam. We all share the same parents. Moreover, we all share the same source of life: God. If Christianity is true, then black lives matter.
But if Christianity is true, then it is wrong to kill police officers or anyone else in order to prove that black lives matter. You cannot have the idea that “black lives matter” while also killing police officers to prove that black lives matter. If it is okay to kill police officers because you don’t like their policies or because there was a bad shoot somewhere, then you lose your moral ground to argue that black lives matter. In other words, if it is okay to kill police officers, then black lives don’t matter. Why? Because if it is morally acceptable to kill police officers, then Christianity is not true. And if Christianity is not true, God does not exist. And if God does not exist, then neither does morality. And if morality does not exist, then it is not wrong to kill a black man, a white man, or a police officer. If God does not exist, then humans were not especially created in his image. And if that is true, then no human being possesses intrinsic value. Black lives matter if God exists. And if God exists, then it is his morality to which we must bind ourselves. See how that works? If you want the morality that makes sense of human value and that rationally justifies our belief that black lives matter, then you have to take Christianity with it. If you toss Christianity, then you lose any rational defense for black lives, or any lives as far as that goes, matter.
I say this to say that these issues are all opportunities to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Equip yourself to think better about the issues. Spend some time reading a little theology, a little philosophy, and some logic. Know Scripture and know a little about how to think and use these opportunities to witness to the goodness of God. Avoid the politics. Avoid the idolatrous patriotism. Avoid arguing about rights and freedoms. Go right for the heart of the matter: the heart, because the heart is really what matters. I hope you enjoyed this post, bad puns and all.