The more I’ve talked online about Creation vs. Evolution or Atheism vs. Christianity the more it confirms to me that these two worldviews are very difficult to reconcile because of their nature. Both believe that they reflect truth, and that the other reflects nonsense. Both strongly hold their opinions, and the longer that they debate them online (or in other places) the more hardened their opinions become. It gets to the point where one begins to wonder if there’s even a benefit to debate the topic simply because of the way that one side looks at the other side.
Nothing demonstrates this as well as the recent conversation that’s been on this blog regarding the movie Expelled that opened yesterday in theaters. If you read through the comments, you’ll see a common theme: One explanation of the facts is nonsense, the other is truth. The charge that has been leveled against Christians in the past is that they blindly follow a book, but Evolutionists are the same way– blindly following The Origin of the Species regardless of whether there is a better or easier explanation.
So, with all the “meta” out of the way, let’s get to the topic at hand.
At its core, morality (or ethics) tries to answer the question of whether a given activity is right or wrong. Moral codes have been formed around different sets of beliefs, but one thing that is common about moral codes is that they usually hold a high standard (often higher than a person can hold throughout a lifetime). That and the fact they are often bent in order to justify one’s actions.
From a Christian perspective, morality came from God. When God told Adam not to eat of the fruit, God laid out the first moral code: Obey God and do not eat is right, eat and disobey and you’re doing wrong. At its core, Christian morality boils down to obeying God vs. disobeying God.
To take care of the tangent that could arise here, I’m going to say that morality does not exist outside of God. Morality is God’s rules– He created, His rules. Therefore, had he made any current “wrong” thing “right” then He would have been just doing that and that would be right.
So, what is that code?
There are a lot of commands in the Bible. Some are given to individuals, some are covenants given to people, some are laws given to the Israelite people, and some are summed up commands.
When Jesus asked to boil down the law (because the Pharisees had added so many more rules that it was practically a full time job to remember all the rules (reminds me of the United States)) he boiled it down to two principles: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.
What about the Old Testament Law?
About this time, someone will start asking about killing the rebellious child, wearing clothing with two forms of material, and all sorts of unclean questions. This is easily answered, however, in that a moral code does not dictate a punishment. See, according to the Bible all sin deserves death and separation from God– and ultimately we will answer for our sin, or have it covered by the blood of Christ. Therefore, all sin is equal. It all deserves death and separation. There’s no degree of sin before God– it’s all sin, all serious, and all equal.
Simply put, being rebellious as a child is wrong. What should be done about it is up to a government or parent to decide. In the Israelite government, God decided it was worth death. Should we do this today? That’s outside of the scope of this post, but if you’re open minded it’s an interesting question.
Back on topic– the answer is you should look at what is being said about “right and wrong” and not at what the punishment was declared to be.
Can You Be More Concrete?
Consider this a introductory post on the topic. To list all components of what I believe to be the Christian moral code would take many more posts (which I can do if there is interest). The point here was to paint the broad brushstrokes.
We are seeing Christian morality fade in this Post-Christian culture we are finding ourselves in. It is important to know what is and what is not what God has to say about right and wrong, and for Christians it’s even moreso.
A confession: I believe that all too often I paint the light of truth on the culture as if I will make an impact on the culture by what I have to say. God clearly states in the Scripture that this is mostly in vain. For those of you that are Christian, I will attempt to focus more on you and your needs in combating the culture– trying to focus on what is right and what is wrong.
For those of you that are not Christian, please understand that I don’t expect you to follow a Christian moral standard. However, I do believe that you have an innate knowledge of right and wrong, and that you also are well aware that you fail to even keep that internal standard you have. For that, I recommend Jesus Christ as the salvation that you need to right that wrong. He is the only way. You may continue to debate with me, we can keep having discussion, but ultimately my goal is to be a beacon for believers to see the culture and to know what’s sin in God’s eyes and how to live for Him, and to show those that are in sin that there’s a way to get out of the guilt– through Jesus shed blood on the cross.