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Woe to those - Is 5-20
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Thirty years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a landmark essay “Defining Deviancy Down.” In case you are not familiar with him, Moynihan was an educator, counselor to the president, ambassador, diplomat, and four-term US senator from New York. He was a well-respected leader in the Democratic party but was also willing to challenge programs and policies he thought were detrimental.

When he wrote his essay, the rise in crime, the breakdown of the family, and even the rise in mental illness had reached significant levels. He argued that the only way the culture learned to deal with these social problems was to deny their existence. In other words, define deviance down.

Whenever I mention his essay during a speech, I immediately turn to Isaiah 5:20 where God says woe to those “who call evil good.” The values in Israel at that time were inverted. That was an apt description thirty years ago and a relevant description today.

But that was only part of the problem. Columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote an essay with the title, “Defining Deviancy Up.” He argued that in addition to making deviant social behavior seem normal, there were others in society making the normal seem deviant. Large areas of behavior we used to respect were now criticized.

Go back to Isaiah 5:20. The first part talks about those “who call evil good” and the second part of the verse condemns those “who call good evil.”

We live in a world with inverted values. Many in our secular culture call “evil good” and “good evil.” That’s why we should follow the command in Colossians 2:8 and “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.”viewpoints new web version

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