People in Britain are voting today on whether their nation should stay in the European Union (EU). For the rest of us, this seems like an issue with little relevance outside of Europe.
Actually, what British voters decide today will affect all of us tomorrow.
Dubbed the “Brexit,” the question of Britain’s leaving the EU has been debated for months. Economists fear that a vote to leave would undermine London’s position in the world financial order. The chief of the NATO alliance says trans-Atlantic security would be stronger if Britain remained in the European Union.
If it left, however, Britain could establish its own trade agreements. It would no longer contribute to the EU budget, saving a net of 8.5 billion pounds per year. Brexit supporters say leaving would give the nation greater control over immigration as well.
Here’s why their vote affects us all. According to The Washington Post, a Brexit threatens more than a trillion dollars in investment and trade with the U.S. The International Monetary Fund predicts that a Brexit could reduce economic growth by up to 5.6 percent over the next three years. However, Brexit supporters say that leaving would strengthen the EU’s unity around the Euro and make Europe a better trading partner for the world.
Our planet is still 24,874 miles around (at the equator), but it feels smaller than ever. A radical Muslim leader in Iraq inspired terrorism in San Bernardino and Orlando. The Zika virus began in Uganda, but the World Health Organization says it is now a global public health emergency. Authorities warn that Mexican drug cartels currently pose a greater threat to Americans than ISIS.
We are connected morally to the world as well. A worldview shift called “postmodernism” began in Europe but is now just as powerful in America. Its central thesis: since our minds interpret our senses, “truth” is personal and subjective. As a result, there can be no objective moral standard on issues ranging from abortion to euthanasia. It seems that everything is now in play: support for polygamy is rising quickly, genetic engineering is on the horizon, and virtual reality pornography is here.
Here’s why I wrote today’s Cultural Commentary. I was reading Ephesians and came to this text: “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:18–19). Does it seem that Paul was writing to our culture?
Here’s how we should respond: “Having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (v. 25). Lost people deserve to know they are lost.
But beware a condescending spirit of superiority or judgment: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (vs. 31–32). Oswald Chambers warned: “You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.”
Living and speaking biblically with courageous humility is God’s call for this hour. The Brexit debate shows that the world has come to us. How will you take God’s word to the world today?