Jeremiah 9:6

"'You live in the midst of deception; in thier deceit they refuse to acknowledge me', Declares the Lord."

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The Reality of the Law
When was the last time you argued with someone? Most likely it was not too long ago. People argue over all sorts of things, all the time. But regardless of the subject of the argument, one aspect is always the same. Because in order to argue, we must make reference to some sort of moral, or ethical code. We know that an ethical code exists, but how do we explain it? I recently read called “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, and in it he made the point that we cannot logically explain this phenomenon by natural means. His book inspired me to write this post.

Moral Similarity
One point C.S. Lewis made, was that every culture on earth has had some sort of ethical code. And these ethical codes are all basically the same. C.S. Lewis says, “…but for the present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people are admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud for double crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five.” The point is, although moral codes are created by the people of a given culture, totally isolated cultures always reference the same concepts of unselfishness, justice, keeping your word, generosity, ect. This similarity must somehow be explained, and the only reasonable explanation is that there is some sort of universal standard, and each culture reflects the ideas of this ethical standard, (although with differing degrees of accuracy).

Personal Decision?
There are instances, in which a given culture’s ethical standards do seem to be different, and even seem to go against what we would consider to be good. C.S. Lewis pointed out that if a certain culture allows some sort of “immoral” behavior that we consider wrong, we instantly seem to conclude that their morality is inferior, and wrong. But how can anything be wrong, if there is no right. For instance, a football player cannot make a foul unless the teams agree on what should be considered fair, and unfair. There will be some of you who will no doubt say that there are no universal morals. But I cannot believe that you actually believe this. You see, as much as you may say that Hitler’s moral standards were just as noble as ours, you don’t mean it, your conscience knows that it is impossible to excuse the killing of innocent people. Is it possible that Hitler knew it was wrong too? Of course! When was the last time you did something even though you knew it was wrong? We do it all the time. Obviously, there is more to morality than a personal decision.

Universal Contract?
Now that we know that all of mankind is effected by the same belief of an ethical standard, the next question is, “what could possibly cause this strange phenomenon”. Some say that morality is universal because “Good” is anything that benefits mankind, whereas “Bad” is anything that harms, or causes pain or suffering. At first this makes sense; killing someone, or taking their money is obviously bad, but rescuing someone, or giving them food and shelter is considered good. Both of these are judged based on how they affect humanity. This is all well and good, but believe it or not, this does not explain morality. You see, benefiting society is a good way to describe moral law, but it is not the reason for the law. If benefiting society is why we have moral laws, then why do we feel obligated to benefit society? Think for an instant, if you could re-create moral law for yourself. If no-one, (not even God, for those of you who are Christians) would condemn you for anything, would you honestly choose to do everything that didn’t come naturally to you? Now there would be some sense in making everyone else do these things that didn’t come naturally, for your own welfare, but if it were all for your welfare, (most people think it is) then why would you feel bad when you cheated someone? Is it just because you broke a universal “niceness” contract? But if this contract is only for your wellness, the only reason to feel bad would be fear that someone else would break the contract and harm you back. This selfish reasoning would be totally acceptable if the universal contract theory was correct, but even this selfishness is looked down on. And I don’t know about you, but when I do something wrong, I feel more than fear, I feel guilt. If morality really is a contract between all of mankind, it seems that our minds refuse to believe this, and instead our conscience is constantly bombarding us with feelings of remorse, and guilt, over offenses that we cannot seem to make ourselves stop doing.

A Better Explanation
Following the reasoning that morality is more than a personal decision, and more than a contract between all of mankind, what is a better explanation? I propose that mankind was not the author of ethical standards. Instead, the morality of our diverse cultures reflect a greater standard set by God himself. When you think about it, who else would have the authority to do this, than the one who created us? We were made in the image of God, and he made many of our aspects reflect himself. This is why we have a conscience. However our sinful nature tells us that we have been distorted from out original image. Our two sides; the sinful nature, and our conscience, are fighting against each other, causing the guilt and remorse over issues we cannot change. We are a badly distorted reflection of God, but we still know what we ought to be like. God wants us to be unselfish, not only to benefit each other, but to glorify him. He also wants us to refrain from behavior that harms ourselves, (such as drunkenness, sexual immorality, and addiction) because these things harm our relationship with God. This is my explanation for morality, I personally think it fits the evidence, and reasoning, the best. If you have one that you think better, please comment on this post.

Jesus Christ
Our situation seems hopeless. The Bible says that God punishes sin with eternal suffering in Hell. And unless we are perfectly sinless, we will never enter heaven. But God has provided a way out. Jesus Christ paid the death penalty for our sin. All we need to do is confess our sin, ask God to forgive us, and believe in Jesus as our personal savior. If you are not sure if you are going to heaven when you die, please consider what I have told you. Your life on earth could be over in an instant, and this could be your last chance to let Christ save you from the punishment your sins deserve.


Hannah Maria said...

Great post Lij! Mere Christianity is a fantastic book... The fact that it's written by a "converted skeptic" makes it all the more amazing, right? I agree with your thoughts... You're becoming an amazing thinker! When I get home we'll have to have a deep philosophical discussion or two. ;-)

Anonymous said...

agree completly


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