Appeal to be on 'right side of history' is just another lie

Ben Zornes  ·  Jan 23, 2019

A common motto of the progressive left––whether arguing for dismemberment of a child in utero, state-funded transgender surgeries, state-run health care, or homosexual marriage––is that their opponents are on the “wrong side of history.”

This sentiment plays well with society on the whole. After all, who wants to be seen with a flip phone, wearing crocs, or sporting a bucket hat? Ew, to being backwards. Ew, to dad-ishness. Our age craves being savvy. You have to be to keep up with the leaps and bounds technology has made over the last decades.

With all the technological invasion—er—innovation, we also conclude that our morality needs tinkering with as well. If ever there was a crime to the modern mind, it is the crime of being a backwards bumpkin. The virtue of the age is being up to date with all the current sentiment.

The god of our age

This reveals that our god is not the Living God of the Bible, but the god demos. Mankind is our god. Thus, the whims of this god dictate our morals, our values, our sentiments, and our cultural mores. When “the people” are in charge, sentiments come into and out of fashion like Fourth of July fireworks. Up they go, boom they go, into oblivion they go.

We have no underlying foundation underneath us, and so we are gullible for every new sentiment that demos demands that we go along with. In last year’s Miss Universe pageant, one contestant was a man, claiming to represent all women; he has the testicular fortitude to do this because he’s, well, a man, and he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to look like a woman. If you can afford it, then anyone can be a woman. Then demos demands you applaud him as he feigns his femininity down the catwalk.

In another episode of the madness which demos has brought upon us, “parents” can decide to not assign their child a gender, and we are to shed a tear at the preciousness of their forward thinking. A young boy is dressed in drag, dances for a bunch of men, who throw dollar bills and catcall, and we’re told to be tolerant.

If you raise objections to these unsavory episodes in our cultural evolution to a utopia of brotherhood … er, I mean sisterhood, cause #TheFutureIsFemale … and peace and inclusivity, you are tsk-tsk-ed for not being on the right side of history. But this brings up an interesting question: How do we know whether we are reading history correctly?

Reading history rightly

C.S. Lewis raised this question in his essay “Historicism.” In essence, as Christians we believe that God is the author of all history, and thus all history has meaning. The problem is when we assume we can interpret that history correctly. Lewis states, “I do not dispute that History is a story written by the finger of God. But have we the text?” It is the pinnacle of our arrogance that we think we’ve got the bird’s eye view of the story that we are in. We have one line in this great story, and we think we have the insight to understand the whole novel.

<p>If ever there was a crime to the modern mind, it is the crime of being a backwards bumpkin. The virtue of the age is being up to date with all the current sentiment.</p>

Lewis points out that while we think that history has preserved for us “important” figures, he gives the illustration of Genghis Khan. How are we sure that Khan is actually an important actor in the story God is telling? Perhaps the main character in that scene is one of his many victims and the patience they showed in the midst of their suffering. We don’t know how to read history very well.

Claiming to be on the right side of history is claiming that the gods have spoken. Since demos is the god of our age (thank you, Karl Marx) we should not be surprised at the use which is made of turning “current-ness” into a dividing line between the righteous and unrighteous, the woke and the broke, the open-minded and the bigots. We decided to splurge on our lusts, and any restraint on our desires will anger the god. It demands that we read history according to his authority, and he says selling baby parts is AOK. So get with the times.

Not our story to tell

However, history isn’t the story of mankind. It is the story of God becoming a man, in order to redeem mankind. All mankind was entirely on the wrong side of everything: all of history, art, science, all the way down to academic studies of racial/gender issues of the 17th century. Every religion has sought to make history mean something. But this also means we claim to have the mystical insight of the gods; which is why we have sought to become as God.

A story is precisely the sort of thing that cannot be understood till you have heard the whole of it.

But if God became a man, we would know something about the story God is telling. It is a story of creation, fall, redemption, and ultimately a resurrection, either unto eternal life or eternal damnation. Christ was born, died, rose again, and this is—as Spurgeon once put it—the hinge of history. All other events must be in reference to that great event.

The secularist appeal to being on the “right side of history” is really just a recapitulation of the serpent’s lie in Eden. It is an appeal to think we can tell and interpret our own story. To us this is not given. We can’t even recount every last detail of the last 10minutes (let alone what it means); so who are you, oh man, to think you can interpret the trajectory of all of human history? Never be bullied into thinking you must think like the crowd, simply out of fear of being on the wrong side of history. Rather, fear being on the wrong side of the Son of Man when he comes to separate the sheep and the goats (Cf. Mt. 25). 

Ben Zornes

Samaritan member Ben Zornes (benzornes.com) serves on staff of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. He recently published a collection of essays titled Flotsam & Jetsam, which is available in Kindle & paperback at Amazon.com.