Tuesday, August 08, 2006

CULTURAL DECAY: The birthing of the legal doctrine of "offendedness"!

Al Mohler speaks out on the trend to politicize, legislate, punish, and eradicate all form of offense.
A new and unprecedented right is now the central focus of legal, procedural, and cultural concern in many corridors - a supposed right not to be offended. The cultural momentum behind this purported "right" is growing fast, and the logic of this movement has taken hold in many universities, legal circles, and interest groups.
The movement is not restricted to the USA, its tentacles have reached to the farthest reaches of the West (Notice: if you will the Asian, African, South American, and third world nations seem to be immune).
The distinguished Christian philosopher Paul Helm addresses this issue in an article published in the Summer 2006 edition of The Salisbury Review, published in Great Britain. As Professor Helm argues, "Historically, being offended has been a very serious matter. To be offended is to be caused to stumble so as to fall, to fail, to apostasize, to be brought down, to be crushed."

As evidence for this claim, Professor Helm points to the language of the King James Bible in which Jesus says to his disciples: "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast in to hell" [Matthew 5:29].

... As Professor Helm summarizes, "So to 'offend' in this robust sense is to be an agent of destruction. And to be offended is to be placed in desperate straits."
But the world has, as is often the case, redefined terms in order to by-pass the responsibility of the old definitions.
The very idea of civil society assumes the very real possibility that individuals may at any time be offended by another member of the community. Civilization thrives when individuals and groups seek to minimize unnecessary offendedness, while recognizing that some degree of real or perceived offendedness is the cost the society must pay for the right to enjoy the free exchange of ideas and the freedom to speak one's mind.
Where I come from this aids in the process of maturation ... people grow interrelationally by being offended and by offending others ... our cultures depend on it if we are to minimize cultural dysfunction and irrelevance.

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