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The "Dignity Revolution": Practical Ways Christians Can be an Uncompromising Light in Our Divided Culture

Tré Goins-Phillips : Aug 20, 2018

"Human dignity is one of the best gifts that Christianity gives to the world ... we represent another King and another Kingdom." -Daniel Darling

airlift[] Our country is divided over just about every issue under the sun. (Image: book cover/via Faithwire)

We live in a world increasingly hostile toward opposition of any kind while popular culture demands adherence to a fragmented form of tolerance that values total acceptance above mutual respect for differing worldviews.

In his new book, "The Dignity Revolution: Reclaiming God's Rich Vision for Humanity," author Daniel Darling, vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, argues we can tamp down some of that hostility by recognizing one another's innate worth and value.

For Christians, Darling told Faithwire, it's important to relink the Gospel message to the moral truths it promotes, chief among them the intrinsic and unflinching dignity of human beings.

"Too often, we confuse a generic American Christianity with true Gospel Christianity," he said. "It just calls us to return to Biblical Christianity and realize that to be a faithful follower of Jesus means we're at some point going to be at odds with the prevailing culture."

Faithwire spoke with Darling about his new book. It should be noted some of his answers featured below have been edited for both length and clarity.

What inspired the book and why did you decide to write it now?

Every generation sees assaults on human dignity, but I think in our generation, we see it more because we're more aware of the news. It gives us an opportunity to speak out.

My political convictions were formed and shaped by the pro-life movement. I think, more than anything, the pro-life movement has introduced a moral vocabulary into society by saying the most vulnerable among us, who can't defend themselves—there's a person there. It's not a fetus; it's not a clump of cells; it's a person.

What would that ethic look like if we continue to think about that across a wide range of issues?

Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself, so if we're to properly love our neighbor, we should care about the world in which our neighbor lives. We should care about policies that shape our neighbor's flourishing. How can we say we love our neighbor if we're not speaking up for our unborn neighbors, or for our immigrant neighbors, or for our elderly neighbors, or for our minority neighbors who face racism and discrimination?

In our political discourse, there seems to be a great lack of dignity. How can we restore some of that?

I think we do it on a number of levels. I think, one, we need to remember whose we are—that we represent another King and another Kingdom.

We have to make voting decisions, we have to choose what institutions we'll be a part of, what political parties we'll be a part of. That's just the way our republic works. But if we're to be sojourners and strangers, as 1 Peter says we are, then we should never feel completely at home in any earthly movement. There should always be a little bit of dissonance, a little bit of discomfort—whether you're a Republican or Democrat—with the overall party.

Secondly, more importantly, even in the way we talk to each other, the rhetoric we use. Can we have robust disagreements about public life and yet consider the person who disagrees with us as a human created in the image of God [worthy of] dignity and respect?

When we make arguments online, we're not just arguing with an avatar. We're having a discussion with a human being. God doesn't just care that we make the right arguments and that we stand up for truth, but also in the way we do it.

I can't help but think about this in the context of #MeToo and #ChurchToo. What role do Believers have in those movements?

We're seeing across Christianity a kind of revelation that some of our power structures, some of our institutions have not protected the vulnerable among us. You just think about the horrific child sexual assault that, quite often, our institutions have been more interested in protecting the reputation than protecting the innocent and the vulnerable... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here.

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