When listening to news sources or celebrities, or when reading people’s Facebook or Twitter feeds, I find that for the most part they think everybody should think like them. I find that they are aghast at anybody who disagrees with their “obvious” conclusions. I am not talking about conclusions like, “2+2=4”. I am talking about conclusions like, “The federal minimum wage should be raised to $15/hr.” The conclusions of these people carry some good logic and investigated facts, but ultimately are decided upon because of opinion or preference.
People who hold these opinions think that other people who do not agree with them are completely illogical, not right in the head, blind, morally inferior, or some derogatory word (e.g., ignorant, racist, bigot …). It does not matter if other people can bring equally cogent conclusions that carry some good logic and investigated facts, these people are preposterous to conclude what they do in the eyes of these social commentators. These social commentators like to shame those who disagree with them and they claim the moral high ground.
My simple reply to these people is: Not everyone’s like you, bruh.
Some Like It Hot
Some people think hard work is the highest priority while others think relaxation is the highest priority. Some people want to rent while others want to own. Some people love steak, some love salad. Some people love rap music, some people country. Some people love Chevys, some love Toyota. Some people do not want any kids, some do. Some like pepperoni on their pizza, some like plain cheese. Some people love trucks, others love cars. Some love hot weather, some love cold weather. Some prefer Apple, some prefer Microsoft. Some people love shooting guns, some love picking flowers. Some like Batman, some Superman. Some like brunettes, some like blondes.
This goes for personality and physical traits as well. Some people are analytical by nature, some are more emotional by nature. Some people are more prone to philosophical thinking while others are more prone to practical thinking. Some people are extroverts, some are introverts. Some love to run and exercise seemingly all the time, some enjoy a more laid-back life. Some bodies are naturally large while others are naturally petite. Some people have a serious nature, some a humorous nature.
The same is true for certain political stances. Some think the minimum wage should be enough to provide for a family while others think the current minimum wage is enough for novice or young workers. Some people think America should focus more on its own well-being, others think it should become more globally focused. Some people think higher taxes should be garnered from the rich to provide for the poor, others think charity should be a private decision not a governmental decision. Some think capital punishment is an appropriate way to sentence certain crimes, others think it should not be used. Some people think a wall would help stop illegal immigration, some think our borders are not open enough.
Dude, people are different. We have different genetic codes and different experiences. Because of our varying genetic codes and experiences it is a guarantee that we will not all agree on everything, and quite possibly most things. So dude, just embrace the differences and stop claiming that your way is so much better.
You Keep Using That Word. I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means
What really amazes me is that our culture mostly believes that truth is relative, and even more so when it comes to moral truth – yet these same people are on social media sites loudly proclaiming that they are on the higher moral ground in their opinions or preferences. Either these people are completely confused as to what the word “relative” means, or they do not really believe what they say they believe.
This is one of the more frustrating things about people’s self-righteous posts. They want to claim freedom from morality and then chastise people for not thinking like themselves on certain issues, and to top it off they imply that people who do not think like themselves are immoral or morally impaired. I am at a loss as to how one can claim moral relativity and still claim the moral high ground.
If you believe that morality is relative, which the vast majority of Gen Xers and Millennials do, then I challenge you to be consistent in your worldview and never claim the moral high ground ever again.
What I Am Not Saying
I am not saying that truth does not matter. Everything that I listed above is based on preference, not truth. I completely believe that absolute truth is not up to debate. Make no mistake: there is a difference between truth and preference.
Sure preference can be deduced from truth, but truth does not change, preference does. For instance, it is true that a Toyota Prius gets better gas mileage than a Ford Super Duty. But preference (and need) dictates what kind of vehicle one will buy.
I am a Christian. I am not a Christian because I prefer to be a Christian. I am a Christian because I am convinced of its truth claims. Preference does not determine if Christ rose from the dead. Either it is true that He rose, or it is false.
So I am not saying that everything is preference. I am saying that those things that are preference should stay categorized as preference, not some higher standard.
One thing I really appreciate about Scripture is that it understands the difference between preference and command. Romans 14:1-15:14 and 1 Corinthians 8-10 are great passages that speak of how to deal with the different preferences of individuals. In Scripture, preferences are to be respected. Where there is a command that gives specific direction, then there is no room for preference. But there are several areas of life where preference is allowed to be the deciding factor.
A couple other great passages in Scripture are 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:7-16. These passages talk about how God has gifted people with different abilities. Because God has gifted people differently, there are a number of ways that people will see and react to life. No one person’s experience in life is more legitimate or valid than the next person’s. We can all learn from each other to understand life more fully. God has placed a little bit of Himself in each one of us, and if we are to understand God and life to a higher degree, then we need to be willing to learn the perspectives of everyone.
The writer of the aforementioned passages was a follower of Christ named Paul. He talks about something called “the body of Christ.” He illustrates how just like the body has many different parts to it that function in different ways, so does the collection of the followers of Christ have many different parts and functions. Because of these differences, each part of the body is going to react to experiences differently. The ear would describe a tennis match completely differently from how the eye would. Yet in their differences, there is beauty and a fuller understanding of the event.
I will completely admit that many who call themselves Christians utterly fail to embrace and/or understand this very important part of Scripture. One reason we see as many denominations we see is because people have failed to put into practice the concepts Paul teaches in the passages I mentioned. People fail to understand that preference is allowed to be the deciding factor and that people are different, which will lead to different – not necessarily wrong – perspectives. One of my goals in leading Christians of all different stripes is to help people realize what Paul taught about 2,000 years ago and is still very relevant for today.
People are different. We always will be. No matter how great you think your perspective on a certain topic is, some people will simply disagree with you. As long as you believe that truth – and especially moral truth – is relative, then you really do not have any right to claim the moral high ground. However, if you think there are certain areas of life that are absolute, then you have a right to claim the best path. But even if there are areas of life that are absolute, you still should recognize that there is variance designed into this world and you need to allow room for preference.