“Christian worldview”? Count me in. It’s a biggie, something I consider vitally important to living the Christian life. Everyone has a worldview; it’s simply the “lens” through which we interpret everything (maybe “world”view is too restrictive a term; “life”view or “everything”view might be better, but sound, well, real stupid). A Christian worldview is simply the outworking of Romans 12:2, the “transformation” that Paul tells us takes place as our minds are “renewed” to think according, not to our natural inclinations, but the Bible’s teaching, which often runs very counter to our natural predilections.
But here’s what’s come up in a couple of posts recently: how does that Christian worldview demand that we interact with others, and how does it demand we interact with law? These are big topics, frankly, worthy of a book, and so cramming the answers down into a simple blog post or three will prove challenging. But let’s try!
Let me deal first of all with this question: how should the holding of a Christian worldview impact our response toward civil law? More specifically, how ought holding to a Christian worldview impact the laws we try to see passed…and the laws we do not try to see passed?
As a matter of Christian principle, it is true of the believer that our bodies are “temple(s) of the Holy Spirit”, and that entails a responsibility as believers to God for what we do with those bodies. We are stewards of everything that God gives us; our bodies belong to Him, to be used for His glory. That is the Christian worldview position (in a tiny nutshell) as it relates to our persons.
What does not follow, though, is that we ought to make that belief binding upon others as a matter of law. The bodies of non-believers are not “temples of the Holy Spirit”. As a matter of law, a person’s body should be seen as belonging to himself. Before the law, a person should be seen as the “owner”, if you will, of his own body, with the ability before the law to make decisions related to that body. I’m not sure I’d make that an absolute right, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t, either. By the way, that basic right should not been seen as compelling others, in any way, to act against their own consciences (and seen as part of their bodies, the conscience ought to have freedom, logically). This means that even though a person might desire to commit suicide–and laws against suicide serve no purpose that I can see, other than to suggest societal disapproval of the action–that person cannot compel a doctor, say, to assist against his conscience in the performance of the deed.
Now, this sounds strangely like an argument you’ve heard from the pro-death side, doesn’t it? “I should have the right to an abortion because I have the right to do what I wish with my body!” But the problem is that there is another life to consider, the life of the unborn child. And if that is a human being–what else can it be?–then it must be afforded the protection of law.
Which leads to the general principle I’d advocate for making the distinction between what parts of our Christian worldview we ought to seek to incorporate into civil law, and which parts we ought not. Actually, this is a bit of a trial balloon, and I think I’ll amend this position if it doesn’t hold the water that it seems to hold to me. Submitted: When a given course of action impinges upon the legitimate human rights of another, no individual ought to be free to perform that action. However, when a given course of action does not harm the well-being (defined narrowly, by the way, meaning “real harm”, and not this touchy-feely nonsense promoted by the PC crowd) or infringe upon the rights of another, a person should be, before the law, free to engage in that action, even if it doesn’t morally pass muster for the Christian.
Yes, I recognize that that position opens the door to some things that we find distasteful, morally repugnant, even despicable–and yet if those things affect only the “doer(s) of the deed”, adults who willingly choose to engage in that action–then before the law, those things ought to be legal. Then, as Christ-followers, we argue, not for “morality” or “family values”, at least not first and foremost, but for the rule and reign of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ, freely and volitionally submitted to by individuals.
What think ye?