The Denial Game

  A few years ago, abortion advocate Naomi Wolf (famous of late as an advisor to Vice President Gore) let the cat out of the bag. She admitted that although feminists pretend not to know that fetuses are babies, in reality they do know. She confessed that abortion is real sin, and feminists have known it all along. The problem is, she wants women to keep aborting. They can hold candlelight vigils at abortion facilities afterward, if they like, to show their sorrow. But you may ask: How could anyone hold such a cynical, callused view? The problem is that Naomi Wolf is in denial, too. She just pretends not to know that God will not be mocked. In his book, The Revenge of Conscience, Jay Budziszewski reminds us that human beings have been playing the denial game ever since the Fall, in the Garden of Eden. To understand times like ours, we need to understand this fact. People sometimes feign ignorance of the moral facts, but they know more than they admit. The Bible mentions five ways (apart from direct scriptural revelation) in which God has made His moral requirements known.
One is the witness of conscience. In Romans, Paul says that even pagans know God's moral law because it is "written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness." Sin comes not from ignorance but stubbornness, for they "suppress the truth." Another is the witness of God-ward longing, In Acts we read that the Athenians built an altar to "the unknown god." At some level, they knew their idols could never save them—but they had an intuition of a mysterious Holy One who could. This is a universal intuition, which tells us that we were made for God and not for ourselves. Third is the witness of God's handiwork. Creation cries out about the Creator. Not only the heavens, but our bodies proclaim His eternal glory. Even hardened abortionists find it impossible to shut out completely the knowledge that they are destroying the image of God. Abortionist Warren Hern writes: "The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.... Some part of our cultural and perhaps even biological heritage recoils." Next is the witness of the harvest. As the Bible warns, every sin is linked with consequences: Whatever we sow, we reap. We may pretend ignorance, as people pretend ignorance of the harvest of the sexual revolution. Yet there is a difference between playing dumb and really being dumb. Last is the witness of our design. God makes some of his intentions plain just through the way he made us—it's in the "blueprint." Our physical design informs us that man was made for woman, not for man, and our emotional design reminds us that children are not curses but gifts. Ultimately, no one is ignorant of the moral law, no matter how much he may deny it. We know it from the forms of witness built into us by the Creator; and a good resource for learning more about this is Jay Budziszewski's new book, The Revenge of Conscience. And whenever people try to play the denial game with you, tell them that denial is really just a kind of self-deception. Because God's law is written on our hearts.


Chuck Colson


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