Living as Christians in a Pluralistic Society
How can Christians live faithfully in a society that is becoming increasingly intolerant toward us? In this brief clip, W. Robert Godfrey examines the solution Abraham Kuyper posed to several of the problems we face in the Western world today.
One of the issues we as Christians are constantly being confronted with today is, “How can you claim to know the only truth, how can you claim to serve the only God and still survive in a pluralistic society? Aren’t you necessarily, Christians, theocrats? Don’t you necessarily want to persecute everybody who disagrees with you?” I think the brilliance of Kuyper is to say, “Here is a way forward where we do not compromise our commitments to truth, but we find a way to develop a pluralistic society where we can live with one another without violating one another’s conscience, without violating one another’s abilities to live according to truth.” I think if we were more Kuyperian in America in our thinking, we would be safe from some of our problems. He thought America was wonderful, but in his analysis, he said, “The polar opposite today in Western society,” meaning the late 19th century, “is this tendency to the authoritative, tyrannical state on the one hand or utterly radical individualism on the other hand.” Part of what we see in America today is a radical individualism that is increasingly becoming intolerant. Because it’s an individualism that says you can’t have your own schools, you can’t have your own families, and you can’t have your own religion. You have to function in a society where every individual is equally respected in every institution. I think Kuyper had an antidote for that, too. You know, if you want to raise your children in a certain radically liberal mental state, you could have schools for that. But leave our schools alone; leave our children alone. And so, Kuyper, I think, is the great modern thinker in his ability to encourage us to a genuinely tolerant pluralistic society in which there is freedom and at the same time in which Christians are free to build the schools and the institutions that they need.