Today on Unapologetic, we're going to discuss the inconsistency of many people who are using terms like, "black lives matter" "all lives matter" or "blue lives matter."
Black Lives Matter Too
You can't go on social media today or watch the news or go to a news site online and not see something about the racial tension in America. Often, this is accompanied by #blacklivesmatter or someone holding a sign saying, "blue lives matter," or someone might reply, "all lives matter."
My goal today isn't really to talk too much about the racial tension in America, though I think one comment might be helpful. The people saying "black lives matter" or "blue lives matter," they're not saying that those are the only lives that matter. There is an implicit "too" at the end. They're saying black lives matter, too. As in, "Of course other lives matter, but we think this type of life is being devalued, so black lives matter too." They're not saying that all life doesn't matter, or that all lives don’t matter as much. In fact, what they are saying from a certain perspective is, "all life matters and we feel like these black lives, which are part of the all lives have not been valued as much."
If you're someone who might reply, "Well yeah, all lives matter." Think about it from the perspective of the person making the black lives or blue lives matter claim. They're probably feeling like they're not valued as much.
They're not looking for a right that no one has. They just want to be respected with the same amount of dignity that they feel that everyone else has. Even if you disagree with that, I would hope that we all could at least agree on the sentiment behind it, and where it's coming from: everyone wants to be viewed and treated equally. All lives, black lives, blue lives, white lives, all lives matter.
You know what's interesting to me is this actual sentiment that life matters, that black lives matter, that any life matters. It often doesn't fit in the worldview of the person making the statement. Here's what I mean by that. I think this impulse people have to react very strongly when someone is killed, especially in an unjust manner (if that is the case in a certain instance), is a good reaction. It is a true reaction. Of course, it can be taken to a negative extreme, where we go and murder other people or riot, and things like that, instead of peacefully protest. However, the reaction we have when we see injustice done to another human being, is a God-given reaction.
But saying that all life matters, or even black lives matter, or anything like that, doesn't fit if you believe that we are simply the products of random mutation and natural selection and a whole lot of time. If evolutionary theory is true, life does not matter. All lives don't matter. No lives matter. Black lives don't matter. Blue lives don't matter, if evolutionary theory is true. They matter no more than the life of a centipede. Me, you, any of us, if evolutionary theory is true, we do not have inherent worth. We are not all worthy of respect. We do not have an innate dignity if evolutionary theory is true, if you are simply the result of random mutation, natural selection, and a whole lot of time.
We have a great opportunity in America today because people are saying viscerally, strongly, with great conviction that life matters, that it's valuable, that it shouldn't be taken in an unjust manner. Many of these people, not all of them, but many of these people do not have a worldview where any of those statements make sense. If you believe in evolution, then what would be wrong with someone who's more fit killing someone who's less fit, regardless of the color of their skin. Nothing would be wrong with it if evolution is true, if survival of the fittest is true, and that's what our morality is grounded in. Or if morality's just grounded in my preference, what would be wrong about someone stealing from someone else or treating someone else what I would consider to be unfairly, but maybe they don't?
If I define morality, then it's basically just my personal preference. Someone else might have a different personal preference. We've talked about this before, and I'll try to link to that couple of podcasts where we have talked about the groundings for morality. The only one that actually makes sense of the evil in the world is Christianity, where God grounds what is good and what is bad. He is the standard for it. Apart from that, people are acting inconsistently with their worldview when they say that right and wrong exist, when they say that life matters and unjust treatment of life is unjust and wrong or evil or egregious or whatever word they want to use.
How can we use this? How can this knowledge actually take us from more than an intellectual exercise to something that's helpful when we're in a conversation? Here's how I think this can work.
We have an opportunity today to be a part of the national conversation that is taking place all around us, on social media, at lunch, in the break room, wherever. People are talking about life and that it matters, and they feel very strongly about it. Let's be a part of that conversation, but let's bring something to the conversation that actually has explanatory power. When they say, "all life matters," I'm going to ask, "Why does life matter?" I'm going to see what answer they come up with. They might ask me once they're done, "Why do you think life matters?"
This gives me a great opportunity, because I've led with a question. I haven't stated my view. I've let them talk first, so they're most likely to ask me my opinion. I'm going to be prepared for that. What I'm going to point out is,
”Well, I've thought about it, and it seems inconsistent to me that in America today, most people believe in evolution. They think we're just the products of random chance and natural mutation. You go back far enough and we were monkeys. What strikes me is that monkeys aren't valuable like humans are. It can't just be that we're more complex. If we're just a random, kind of chance creation, then we don't have value. Maybe we think we do, but we actually don’t.”
“So I think this innate feeling you have that life matters, all life matters, black lives matter, blue lives matter, I think that actually is evidence that you were created by God. You might disagree with me. I understand that, but think about it this way, if God did create us, you are valuable. If God did create, it's wrong to kill other people unjustly. If we're just the products of random chance, it's not wrong to kill other people. It's not wrong to take from them. It's not wrong for one group of people to subjugate another group of people if we're just the products of random chance and natural selection. I believe as a Christian, as someone who has the Bible as an authority, and who believes in the existence of God, that you are a valuable life, that black lives do matter, that all lives do matter just as much as each other. There aren't tiers. The reason I believe that is because all the way back in the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1, God said, 'I'm going to make man and woman in my own image.’”
”And He did. He created us male and female. That is why I have innate worth. That is why you have innate worth. That's why everyone is worthy of respect, because we're not just people. We are images bearers of our Creator. We can see all the way back in Genesis 9, when murder happened, that God took it seriously, because a human life, which was an image bearer of him, was killed. This type of language and treatment of murder is all throughout the Bible.”
This is another example where the Christian worldview has more explanatory power, makes more sense of reality and our innate impulses and feelings than the non-Christian explanation, which leaves people in a very inconsistent state. “Life matters, but we're just here randomly.” That doesn't make sense."
I don't expect my explanation to convert someone, and they say, "What must I do to be saved?", like the Jews said to Peter. I do expect it to give them something to think about. If someone gives you a piece of information - a way to view the world - and it makes more sense of it than before, you're much more likely to take that seriously. If you're told that you have this impulse, and yet you don't really have the foundation for explaining that impulse, that's going to make you think. I'm going to submit this to the person in a humble manner. I feel very grateful that God has revealed himself to me, and obviously since this person is not a Christian, He hasn't done that at this point for them. I am going to contend for the fact that all life has value.
Even the Unborn?
You know what? All valuable human life also includes the unborn. That's unpopular today. This is another area where we could talk to someone. "So you think all lives matter? Black lives matter? Okay, so what about unborn lives? What's different about them? Why does being inside of a woman mean we can kill you and you're not valuable?” There's another inconsistency in the non-Christian position. We want to say that unjust treatment of people outside the womb is horrible, but if we kill you while you're in the womb, then it's not.
Depending on how this potential conversation I'm having is going, and depending on the background of the person, I might even bring up the fact that in at least 2014, in New York, there were more black babies aborted than there were born. Black lives do matter. White people, black people, every person should care about unborn life, too, regardless of skin color.
The fact of the matter is, one of the most unsafe places to be for any color in America today is in the womb. If a life matters outside of the womb, and someone has a strong conviction about this, let's use that strong conviction to also say, "What if we step that back a few days? We take the child in the womb and say they're just as valuable as the day after they come out of the womb?" Doesn't that make sense? Does traveling seven inches really make you a valuable human being? No. The fact that you're alive and human makes you valuable.
This is another point where the Christian worldview is able to explain that the non-Christian worldview is left in utter inconsistency, where someone will riot in the streets for a life that is unjustly killed outside of the womb, but also riot in the streets if anyone opposes the killing of that same life twenty years earlier in the womb. That's a gross inconsistency. We need to be prepared to point that out in a winsome way, to get people thinking about their inconsistencies and the fact that Christianity as the God-grounded-truth, is a better fit for explaining the way the world really is than anything else.
In conclusion, Christianity explains why life is valuable, all life, of any and every color, of any age. There is one thing that I want to clarify: Obviously, there are many people who think that all lives matter and black lives matter and blue lives matter, who are Christians and do have this worldview and feel very strongly about it. This type of conversation is not directed towards those people. What I'm trying to find is the non-Christian who has a very strong conviction about life and it mattering and it having value but their worldview can't explain it.
Hopefully, you're a little more equipped to talk with that type of person during the week when you bump into them or maybe even online where this conversation is happening nonstop. Let's be people who take the image of God in all people serious enough to contend for it with people we are close to. I'll talk to you next week on Unapologetic.