No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: moral relativism

Do you have to believe in God to be moral?

According to the Pew Research Center, a growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral. That is the headline, and I have to admit it grabbed my attention. So here is the data breakdown. From 2011 to 2017 there was a 7% (49% to 56%) increase in the percentage of people who say that belief in God is not necessary to be moral and have ethical values. During that same timeframe, there was a 6% drop in the percentage of people who say that belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values.

Ahhhh, this has the makings of a great ethics, theological and philosophical debate all wrapped up in one.

So, let me start with the theological aspect, and there are two key parts. First, is the idea that we have all fallen from grace and need saving. A couple of verses just to show you how “good” and “moral” we all are. Isaiah 64:6: We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Romans 3:10-12: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

If we were able to BE ethical and moral, even with an ardent belief in God, we wouldn’t need saving grace. There are two things to take from the scripture I quoted. 1. None of us are moral or have good values according to God’s standards. 2. God’s standard is perfection, and we are not perfect.

Since none of us can be good/moral, let’s tackle the ethic’s aspect of it. Can a person, who doesn’t believe in God do something good? I for one don’t think that Christians have the market cornered on doing good. There are many philanthropists out there who do good works with their money, and a number of them are atheists. In the business world, some atheists are far more ethical than some who claim to be Christians. Many Christians struggle with the concept that an atheist can do good things, demonstrate virtue, or follow some of the ten commandments without any faith. This isn’t to say that they are good people (see above), but they are capable of acting, behaving, and demonstrating behavior that is talked about by Christ. Nevertheless, many atheists struggle with what ethical means, which takes me to the philosophical point.

What is good? What is ethical? To a Christian, right/ethical/moral are values derived from the Bible given by an absolute lawgiver. Strike that. Most Christians know that…well, maybe a few. Anyway, the world has ebbed and flowed over the very definition of good, and the idea that there is an absolute idea of what good is seems to be believed by few comparatively speaking. So when Pew asks a question about morals and good values, are they reference virtue ethics? Are they referencing ethics based on the greater good? Are they referencing a humanistic ethic (relativism)? Because they don’t define morals, we have no idea as to what those that answered the survey believe good to be.

So, what do we know? 1. No one can BE good. It implies a constant state of being, and no one IS good. Scripture and common sense make that clear. 2. All people are capable of doing some good things, but that does not make them good. 3. The definition of good, ethical and moral have been obfuscated by modern philosophy. The further away we get from an absolute moral law giver, the more confused good becomes.

So what does all of this mean? Well, lets start with the questions of the survey. Is it me or does anyone else notice two different questions in the one? Certainly, someone at Pew understands that there is a difference between BEING good and HAVING good values. This tells me that someone who doesn’t understand philosophical ethics, or the fundamental tenants of the Christian faith wrote the question.

What is the point of the survey then? I think what Pew is attempting to do is shape opinion by showing the world that the United States continues to become post-Christian. The data collected here is not indicative of anything other than to show the lack of ignorance on ethics and religion by Pew. There is so much ambiguity wrapped up in the question that there is no discernable way anyone, atheist or Christian, could answer it in any meaningful way.

THE lying liars and the lies they tell

Have you ever heard a lie that had small nuggets of truth associated with it?  It’s like a chocolate covered doughnut that has sprinkles on it.  The lie is the doughnut, and the sprinkles are the truth.  While the truth can be seen, it is barely noticeable when it is eaten.

Now that I have all of you salivating over this imaginary doughnut, I want to talk a little bit about our enemy.  So let me ask you an honest question, do you feel awkward bringing up his name in the midst of a conversation?  Do you find yourself looking for words like enemy, or our adversary?  I do.  It feels off to say the following sentence, Satan is influencing my thoughts today, please pray for me.  Or how about this sentence, You are under Satan’s influence, and you need to start praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you.

We live in a weird world today.  Paganism, and Satanism is on the rise, and getting its own monuments outside of public buildings.  There is a growing trend of Christians who believe that  Satan is not a real entity.  Many preachers teach that hell is not real.  And Bible believing Christians feel embarrassed to talk about the influence of Satan on theirs and others lives.

And it is all about influence, NOT demonic possession.  Everything in the current media is focused on exorcising demons and the increase of exorcisms.  Nothing focuses on the day to day influence that a demon, or Satan can have on you.  What kind of influence?  Anything that could change or alter your behavior towards God, or towards sin.

So when I say THE lying liars and the lies they tell, I am referring to Satan and his demons working overtime to give you the doughnut, with enough sprinkles on it to get past your truth meter, or to trick you.

To use myself as an example.  I have been in the process of writing several books over the last year, and just completed my first one.  All of these books are related to being a Christian.  Throughout the process I have had a nagging feeling that no one will read the book, and at times I have had to force myself to continue work on them.  This became so regular that I wrote on the potential influences that our adversary can have on our lives, through influence alone.

The name of the book is The Interview and it is now available for purchase through Amazon on the Kindle, and through paperback.  If you want to see numerous examples of how THE lying liars and the lies they tell can impact your life, read this book.

Interview Book Cover

Buy it now for the Kindle for $3.99 or in Paperback for $6.99

Two major stories today

Cannot serve two masters

Well despite publishing the post on rethinking missions, I am sure most everyone is going to be focused on two significant stories, Manafort being indicted, and Kevin Spacey. Two quick comments on both of these stories.
First, on Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey has come out as being gay after Anthony Rapp released a statement of being harassed as a child by Spacey. I like many others have enjoyed many of the films that Spacey has acted in. However, this comment by Rapp seems to be following the trend of sexual harassment and worse from Hollywood. This provides further evidence that there is a significant gap between the lives that the rich and famous live on the coasts, and the lives the normal people live everywhere else. I agree with Cory Feldman in believing that these accusations are the tip of the iceberg, and the culture of the business of Hollywood has become morally, and ethically bankrupt. However, this should have been and could have been predicted when the culture continues to shun any idea of an absolute morality or ethics. Virtue is absent, and has been replaced with a humanistic ethic of no right or wrong other than ones “pleasure.”
Likewise, Manafort’s indictment demonstrates the allure of a different kind of ethic or lack thereof. Like many of those in business, Manafort appears to have manipulated the law to gain power, influence and wealth at the expense of any virtue, or ethics. Again, this behavior is commonplace in a world that rewards skirting the law, or sometimes breaking it, to attain wealth and power. While the story of Hollywood has been breaking over the last month, the tale of a business person manipulating, bending the law, and people, to attain wealth is as old as the Bible.
While there are many points in scripture that can address these issues, the one that immediately came to mind for me was Matthew 6:22-24: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
When you read the news on both Manafort and Spacey can you see the masters that they serve? For Manafort, his master was money. And how true of Christ’s words in this case? While I am sure that all of Manafort’s actions did not rise to the level of criminality, I would be willing to bet that his eyes were unhealthy, which opened his heart to be full of darkness. Spacey’s master appears to be different and more subtle. I believe that Spacey’s master was…himself. His actions seem to indicate that he was driven more by emotion, and his pleasure. While the parable Jesus is speaking of in this part of Matthew was focused on money, I believe that the principle is the same. Spacey cannot serve both himself, in the humanistic sense, and God.

There are no absolute truths…except that one

The previous post stirred Kevin and I to begin to look at the issue of moral relativism.  This is an issue that, not only permeates society at large, but also has reared its head more and more in the church.  Many in the church have fallen prey to the idea that some things are okay.  This is due to the acceptance of some things that are glorified or deemed acceptable to society.  To stand up against these immoral values requires courage, and faith.   Many Christians are afraid to take that stance, while others take their stance to an extreme.  We touch on this topic in the very first post of this blog (No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing). 

As Christians, we are called to believe in an absolute moral authority and live by it.  This

Inside the mind of a moral relativist...

 means that there is an ABSOLUTE right, and an ABSOLUTE wrong.  Kevin and I understand the position that this creates.  You might be saying “How can you say (insert moral value) is wrong?”   My response…would be to ask you the exact same question you asked me. Read more of this post

Blogger mom stirs up firestorm for her church

Daphne...the firestarter

Daphne...the firestarter

I stumbled across a fairly interesting read on today. The article was about how a mother dealt with certain individuals at her church when she took her son (dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo) to a Halloween party (YOU CAN READ THE ORIGINAL POST HERE) hosted by their church’s pre-school. Apparently, some parents at the party had some concerns about a boy dressing up as Daphne, and expressed their opinions to this mother.
The story then takes an interesting turn when their church gets involved. The church leadership felt the blog content the mother posted violated the 8th commandment (bearing false witness), subverted Matthew 18 (presumably the conflict resolution passage), and promoted “gayness”. In a follow up post (HERE) she claims her Church had issued an ultimatum: “Repent or you can no longer receive the communion, and you will be kicked from the church.” Of course the mother, fought back. She contacted the denominational leader above her pastor. A few hours later…she received an e-mail saying that he reconsidered not allowing her to have communion and that the communication was not intended as an ultimatum.

Here is a story with all kinds of spiritual questions, and misconceptions. This probably was not the intention of the mother when she vented over her experiences. But the real story is that the original post sparked a national conversation about how a church should act, how Christians should act, specifically in regards to the issue of homosexuality. Here are some of the false assertions that I saw in the comment sections of these posts:

– God does not judge homosexuality or sexuality for that matter.
– We need to do what makes us feel good.
– The Church and “Christians” are hypocrites
– Religion has failed society
– Who is to say the homosexuality is wrong?
– It’s only important to be a good person
– There are no objective moral values
– Fundamentalist Christians are cruel
– God does not Judge…people of “faith” do.

There are so many theological implications here that it is impossible to wrap it up in a single post. Let us just say this… A single action by a (professing) Christian will and could call into question anything related to the Word of God. Here is a story of a few mothers fighting in their church, which has sparked a national conversation on God and His word. Unfortunately, from a quick review of the comments, it is clear most of the conversation has focused on what is perceived as a negative reaction of the church involved (Matthew 18 and other passages tell us a lot about how church discipline should be handled and we cannot know whether the church involved handled this correctly or not, since we only have the very biased record of the disciplined party’s perspective).

The interesting thing is that in the name of dialog people are willing to reveal what they feel are their morally correct and “Christian” beliefs, though many have no basis in Scripture whatsoever. What this reveals, is how morally relativistic our culture is, and it also shows how a dispute between just a few people or a thoughtless blog post can have a significant impact on the body of Christ. Of course, the authors of No Apologizing believe in an absolute moral authority that emanates from God and is revealed in the Bible, and therefore strongly disagree with all of the bullet points above. This is because there is a right and there is a wrong. However, we believe firmly in discussing these issues in a manner consistent with 1 Peter 3:15 – gently and respectfully. We also believe that it is okay to challenge lifestyles and decisions that are inconsistent with that absolute moral authority. Again, gentleness and respect are key.

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