Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Worldview - Part 3 - Morality

Today we're dealing with the third issue in the examination of a worldview, and that is morality. The question is, "how do I determine right from wrong?" Again we'll begin with the perspective of a biblical worldview.
The Bible teaches that morality flows from the very character of God Himself. We learn that God is a righteous God, and that He demands the same of us. The Ten Commandments have provided the framework for the legal system of the Western world for centuries. Those commands are not arbitrary, but are reflections of who God is.
For example, God is the life-giver, the Creator; therefore, we are not to commit murder. It is wrong because each person is created in the image of God and, therefore, valuable. God is faithful, He keeps His commitments; therefore, we are not to commit adultery. He ordained marriage and designed it for one man and one woman for one lifetime. We are to be faithful to each other in that relationship because God is faithful. The same is to be said of God's commands regarding not lying; not coveting, etc... There is a reason these things are wrong - they violate God's character.
In our society today we see the result of decades of moral relativism as our secular culture has done away with a fixed moral compass. As non-Christian influence has expanded we've seen a growing disregard for human life with abortion on demand and an increasing tendency towards euthenasia. If we are simply the products of time and chance and a blind evolutionary process then who is to say what is right or what is wrong.
It was the Nazis after World War II that were being tried for war crimes who clearly demonstrated the difficulty when we declare there are no absolutes. They asked who we were to judge them, by what standard were we going to hold them to account? If there are no absolutes, who judges what is right or wrong? This is where modern man runs into difficulty. On the one hand we know that some things are right and some things are wrong; on the other hand, without an absolute standard we don't know why. We're left with standards that float on the whim of public opinion, watching a legal system make decisions which make us scratch our heads. Much of this stems from the secular worldview embraced by much of Western society.
An argument I've heard from some is that you don't have to believe in God to be moral. This is true. There are, I'm certain, a great number of moral atheists. However, logically, they have no reason to be moral. If they believe that there is no higher authority, and that there are no absolutes, therefore morality is simply one choice among many. They have no reason to be moral unless it is of some personal benefit to them.
Ultimately the question boils down to this: Is there such a thing as right and wrong? Most people, regardless of their religious beliefs, come to the conclusion that there are some things that are simply right or wrong. Where does that realization come from? Scripture would tell us that all humans are born with some sense of right and wrong because they are created in God's image.
Tomorrow we'll look at the final question and then look at some cultural examples.
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