Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 10, 2014

But What About Right and Wrong?, by David Bower

Is There Such a Thing as Right and Wrong Anymore?

Can you remember a time when there seemed to be a much more general consensus on what was right and what was wrong? A time when asked, the majority of adults could agree that such and such was either something that was or was not acceptable behavior. There were, of course, certain areas that were more a matter of opinion but there seemed to be fewer of those areas than we find in today’s society and of less consequence in their impact on society as a whole.

There seemed to be a greater unity, a greater harmony of opinion on what was right and wrong than we are finding today; is there any explanation for that change? I believe there is a simple explanation for that change and that is the gradual removal of a reference point for behavior; an elimination of the benchmark for right and wrong.

If there is no standard, no law, then there is no way that standard or law can be violated; if there is no speed limit then it is equally lawful to drive at 35, 85, or even 125 miles or more per hour without breaking the law.

The Apostle Paul addressed this fact in Romans 5:13 where it is written, “13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.” One might even ask if there is any such thing as sin if there is no reference point for personal behavior. If “no one is hurt and it feels good” should it not be considered right? What’s more, if there is no standard for behavior, would it not be right to simply dispose of another person if you felt they stood in the way of your achieving personal satisfaction and you were stronger and able to dispose of them?

It’s easy to imagine how chaotic society would become if all moral standards were removed; there would be no individual rights and we would be thrown into a “survival of the strongest and meanest” mode for sure; reminiscent of the world just before the Genesis flood. Very few, if any, would really want to see this as the norm for society; this implies the need for some standard of behavior, perhaps some moral absolutes to govern behavior if a society is to prosper and grow.

Are There Any?

We have all seen many changes; some are clearly beneficial, while others would be open to debate as to their true value. Since changes are coming at such a fast pace, I’m confident that all of us can quickly enumerate developments that may be viewed as positive or negative in their impact on life and living.

While the technological advances have provided amazing benefits to many, that is really not the subject of this essay; what I would like to discuss here is the question of relative versus absolute morality. Society seems to be in the process of aggressively following a path that leads to a relative, rather than an absolute moral standard; we are moving from a law abiding to a more lawless mentality.

Laws have become more arbitrary, more subject to interpretation to fit the whims of the moment; they can be bent or broken with impunity and sadly, we are seeing this from the top of our nation’s leadership on down.

While there are absolute standards in science and technology, the concept of absolute standards in moral behavior is being increasingly viewed as archaic and unsuitable for contemporary society. If one is to have an absolute moral standard then there must be a reference point against which all moral behavior would be measured, a benchmark for morality as it were. Following that line of thought, it is interesting to note that science and technology, with its absolute standards, are progressing rapidly while society, without absolute standards, appears to be in a downward spiral of moral decay.

For centuries, the Bible had served as that benchmark; it provided the specific information needed to serve as the standard for moral behavior. Now, the Bible is being cast aside and rejected as irrelevant and out of date. Acceptable moral behavior is now seen as negotiable, subject to interpretation based on the circumstances; anyone who would try and impose an absolute standard is also viewed as irrelevant and out of date.

What Constitutes Moral Decay?

When I referenced above, “a downward spiral of moral decay” was I not being judgmental, was I not imposing some objective standard, some benchmark of moral excellence? I confess, I was, I was being irrelevant and out of date by referring to the Biblical standard.

Would it not be possible that those who reject the Bible would see society as moving toward moral perfection? Is morality, then, a matter of personal interpretation and subject to the whims of the moment? I believe it is not, even if we should eliminate the Bible from consideration, I believe there is an objective standard in nature that will demonstrate whether moral relativism or moral absolutism is correct. Now the question; how could we determine which is correct?

I suggest to you that sustainable workability is the natural standard by which the validity of any philosophy of morality must be measured. Does the moral system promote the successful continuity of the society in which it is practiced; does the society grow and prosper, offering opportunities to pursue health and happiness to the members of that society? If it offers those opportunities over an extended period then it is valid; if it does not then it is not valid.

God’s Plan for Long Term Sustainability

If you should check out population or demographic decline you will find over 18,700,000 results in a matter of seconds. It appears that Western Civilization as we know it is on the way out. As the Western nations have increasingly discarded the Bible and Biblical standards they have begun to decline; we can easily see these forces at work in the United States.

The Bible offers a moral standard that works but that is no surprise to those of us who believe it was given to us for our instruction and guidance to successful living by the Creator God who gave us life. The Biblical standard was given to enrich our lives and help us find the very best path to a rich, full life that brings the greatest joy and provides for the healthy continuation of any society.

The perfect expression of moral excellence is found in the New Testament by both illustration and example; we have in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ a living expression of absolute morality perfectly displayed; it is in this life we find the example established.

Our Creator God, in His omniscience, knew we would need a lot of help and provided the Living Word, the Son of God, as well as the written word, the Bible to help us find the best way to enjoy life and living. To ignore God’s help is to invite disaster and sadly, we seem to have chosen the path of ignorance as God had predicted we would.

There is really good news for those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior; a time is coming when we shall be able to enjoy life as God had planned it; a time when God’s perfect moral absolutes will be perfectly fulfilled in society. What is exciting to me is the possibility that time may come soon.


Responses

  1. Very well written, David. And I totally agree.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  2. David, what an excellent article! I agree with you 100%! May God give us the grace to seek His face, repent, and turn our hearts back to Him!

    Like

  3. David,

    Thank you for your researched, concise, and prayerful comments, as usual.

    I am reminded of the building trades. They use plumb bobs and levels to set the standard and establish a foundation. Without a square, solid foundation, everything built on top falls apart.

    God intended for His Worsxans His Law to be that standard for individual lives and for societies and cultures. Without a standard we fail and fall.

    Let’s all pray for humility, repentance and a wholesale dependence upon God and His ways.

    Like

    • Thank you Forrest, as a retired homebuilder I can relate to your comments. It will be interesting to watch this play out.

      Like


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