When people repeat modern mantras about the “right side of history,” I am not sure they fully appreciate or completely understand what they are actually saying. This popular phrase assumes several very important ideas, which are all true, though not in the sense that progressives proclaiming or parroting it actually intend or would necessarily agree upon.
First, it assumes that there are objective rights and wrongs that can be ascertained and determined (i.e. objective truth). Second, it assumes there is at least one unbiased objective judge who can perfectly discern the difference between good and evil and, therefore, issue accurate and conclusive final verdicts. Third, it assumes there will be a future point when we can look back and reach some kind of consensus regarding whether any particular act was truly either on the wrong or the right side of history. It is critically important that each person individually is on the right side of history. So, how can we know?
Those holding to a materialistic (i.e. pagan) worldview, have taken to moralistically weaponizing this phrase as a cultural battering ram in order to shame and silence the allegedly backwards “stuck in the mud” opposition. They believe, for example, that people who hold worldviews rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition are on the “wrong side of history” for a whole host of reasons including resisting and opposing sexual promiscuity as sport, the hyper-sexualization of children, same-sex marriage, transgender ideology, critical race theory, Marxism and much, much more.
Though history is riddled with abject failures, progressives remain rabidly committed to an evolutionary utopianism. Simply put, they believe that historical progress is achieved by increasingly liberating individuals and institutions from “old” ideas and worldviews. Once liberated, they project we will somehow naturally achieve a societal Nirvana, where everything and everyone will function better. For utopian progressives, evil and sin either don’t really exist in the first instance or they are conditions that will magically dissolve if the right environment and conditions are imposed—usually coercively.
But there are at least four very stinky flies in this pagan ointment. First, they have no objective basis whatsoever for the claim that they are correct and their worldview actually conforms to reality (i.e. objective truth). There is a profoundly hollow echo to their subjective self-serving judgments of rights and wrongs—because these statements are ultimately subjective—grounded only in the very flawed, fallible, narcissistic, unreliable, increasingly insane, ever-changing whims of human thoughts and feelings. There is no foundation or stability. Yesterday’s right, quickly become today’s wrong, and perhaps tomorrow’s right again. Second, they foolishly confuse change with progress. But just because something is new or different doesn’t mean it has objectively resulted in an actual improvement. I submit that history will prove that many current “rights” are actually “wrongs” that popular culture has stupidly embraced. Third, they have no objective judge to look back and candidly assign accurate values to our actions. Fourth, they can neither account for nor can they resolve our very real sin problem: that we were made in God’s image, have fallen from grace, and are separated from our holy Creator.
Perhaps Nietzsche was right. For many, God is dead. They have killed Him. And, if history is our guide, we can’t trust popular opinion polls to ultimately objectively determine what is authentically good, true and beautiful.
So, what’s the alternative?
The Judeo-Christian Worldview offers the most comprehensive answers. It is absolutely true that there is objective truth that conforms to reality (true rights and wrongs that can be ascertained and determined). Furthermore, there is a Judge who can perfectly discern the difference between good and evil and Who will issue accurate and conclusive final verdicts on the same. Finally, there will be a future point when we can look back and decide whether any particular act was objectively either on the wrong or the right side of history.
God created us in His image to live in a perfect paradise with Him. We sinned and fell and have completely messed that up. But the One Who Created the Universe personally provided the solution. He sent His son Jesus who came in the flesh and absorbs our sin on the cross when we repent. He is coming again to judge the living and the dead. And finally, a real utopian paradise will be restored (by God, not by man) in the new heavens and the new earth. I pray for your soul that, on that day, you are actually on the right side of history. Get it right. There will be no second chances or do overs. God’s side is the right one. Period.
Dean Broyles is the President of the National Center for Law and Policy (formerly Western Center for Law & Policy). He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University School of Law, in Virginia Beach, Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.