Right, Wrong, Sez Who?
What's right, what's wrong, what's good, what's evil, and then Sez Who?
Saw God Today - George Strait
Right, Wrong: Sez Who?
Last week we searched for a reasonable answer to the question: Is God Real? We offered up the first cause argument as evidence that God exists. Everything has a cause, in the case of human life, we concluded that the first cause is God. It is not the most convincing of arguments but it does offer us what we can call a God clue. A single God clue may not be conclusive in convincing a person that God exists, but the multiplicity of God clues creates a preponderance of the evidence that becomes increasingly difficult to ignore.
Today I want to explore another God clue with you. It wouldn’t surprise me that most of the folks attending to this teaching already believe that God exists, and are convinced that Jesus Christ is the fullest revelation of God that humanity has been given. Yet in this world of unbelief maybe thinking through questions concerning the existence of God will help to confirm your faith and in the process allow you to help someone on their own spiritual journey discover the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus.
I’ve read it and heard it said, “That may be truth for you, and I am glad it works for you, but it’s not my truth.” This is nonsense. For something to be Truth, it must be true in all applications or it’s not a Truth, it’s an opinion. Such a statement only makes sense if you adhere to moral and cultural relativity. A simple definition for relativity is the absence of absolute and universal standards. We are going to explore right and wrong, relativity, human rights, and human dignity and make the case for a supernatural standard of morality.
I want you to think of something that you are absolutely sure is wrong. Under no circumstances can this action be tolerated. It is wrong. You may go so far as to say it is evil.
Here’s my short list: Human Trafficking—any form of involuntary slavery for that matter, rape, pedophilia, murder for personal gain or convenience, knowingly and purposely betraying a trust.
What’s on your list? Got one thing you know beyond any doubt that is always 100% inappropriate, wrong and or evil, no matter the time, no matter the circumstances.
Now, how do you know it’s wrong? What has convinced you that some behavior is always inappropriate? Why do you think this particular action is evil? What gives you the right to make such a judgment? Ultimately upon whose authority gives you the moral imperative to impose your belief on someone else? Sez who?
There are far too many people who have bought into what I believe is an intellectual lie. That lie is moral and cultural relativism. “No one has the right to impose or implement their moral view on others because everyone is free to discover truth inside him or herself. In another colloquial expression “One person’s freedom fighter, is another person’s terrorist.”
Cultural relativism is the position that all moral beliefs, what is right, what is wrong, are culturally created and that there is no basis for objectively judging one culture’s practices to be better or worse than another.
Experience itself tells us that this position is untenable. It is indefensible, definitely on intellectual shaky ground because every individual feels deep within themselves that some things ought not to be done regardless of how the community feels about them.
You definitely do, recall your list of what under no conditions can be tolerated, it is always and universally wrong. Sez who?
If one’s culture determines what is right and wrong, this is morality by majority rule. Morality then has no firm foundation, it becomes free-floating, the majority can over time change its mind concerning what is right and wrong. “If rights are nothing but a majority creation then there is nothing to appeal to when they are legislated out of existence” (Keller p. 153). The Holocaust, the extermination of 10 million human beings that occurred during the Second World War, was possible because a significant critical mass of people did not find it to be an evil from which they should abstain. If you hold to moral and cultural relativism, you cannot pronounce this to be an atrocity. If you know nothing of this watch the movie Schneider’s List and Life Is Beautiful. In 1994 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi people were killed by Rwandan Hutu people, many slaughtered with machete’s, those not killed, horribly maimed. If you hold to moral and cultural relativism, you cannot pronounce this to be wrong. If you know nothing of this watch the movie Hotel Rwanda and Beyond the Gates.
The dehumanization and oppression of the Native American Indian, Slave based economy in the United States. Oppression and marginalization based upon racial heritage and religious belief: Blacks, Chinese, Latinos, Irish, Polish, Italians, Jews, Catholics, Arabs, Japanese, LGBTQ folks, Women, and privileged white guys, all subject to discrimination in the history of this country.
This is right, this is wrong, this is just, this is unjust, this is good, this is evil. Sez Who? The ACLU, The DNC, The RNC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, your favorite celebrity or athlete, your teacher, professor, mentor, the Supreme Court, Congress, Sez Who?
Why do we have this innate sense of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable?
Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology can offer no consensus. These disciplines recognize the existence of our behavior of judging others by our own moral code but have not been able to say why human beings have a moral code. The lack of a concrete answer is a God Clue.
Following this God Clue, John Wesley, the great 18th-century theologian, and pastor
was led to an understanding that the human conscience, that ability to discern right from wrong, is the work of God through what Wesley termed prevenient grace. J.W.: Sermon 43 & 105)
Wesley wrote: Conscience “is a kind of silent reasoning of the mind, whereby those things which are judged to be right are approved of with pleasure; but those which are judged evil are disapproved of with uneasiness.”
The standard to which all actions are held up to is Love. In defining our love for others we have determined that love is showing respect to all people, seeking to meet their need often at the cost of personal sacrifice. [Through prevenient grace, God “re-inscribed…a knowledge of this moral law upon their hearts.”]
Luke 6:31 (NIV)
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Every human being knows within them that right actions are in accordance with this Law of Love. But people do not always retain this innate knowledge. The scripture speaks of those “whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).” A seared conscience is capable of perpetrating and propagating evil upon humanity. This road to perdition, this path that leads to a seared conscience, answers the question “Sez Who?” with “Sez Me.” Ignoring the Law of Love we can elevate ourselves into thinking we are the sole arbitrator for what is morally acceptable and morally reprehensible. Me, Myself, and I get to decide what is condoned and what is censured. I do what’s best for me, when I want, where I want, how I want, regardless of how it may affect others. Moral relativism at its finest.
Romans 1:20-26 (MSG)
By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them…Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either…
The little God we tend to make today is our self. No one tells me what to do. There is no authority over me. There is no one who holds me accountable but myself.
Romans 1:28-32 (MSG)
Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it's not as if they don't know better. They know perfectly well they're spitting in God's face. And they don't care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
This is the world people create when the continually and purposely break the law of love. We know the behaviors listed are wrong. Why?
Searching for the source of our concept of human dignity and certain unalienable rights will result in a God Clue.
If you believe that such thing as human dignity and human rights are a reality, “Then it makes much more sense that God exists than that He does not. If you insist on a secular view of the world and yet you continue to pronounce some things right and some things wrong, then I hope you see the deep disharmony between that world your intellect has devised and the real world that your heart knows exists” (Keller p. 157)
There Is A God - Lee Ann Womack
A God clue is not a proof of the existence of God, it’s a clue, a sign, a hint that requires investigation. “We all live as if it is better to seek peace instead of war, to tell the truth instead of lying, to care and nurture rather than to destroy. We believe that these choices are not pointless, that it matters which way we choose to live.” (Keller, p. 158) Sez Who? Intellectual honesty will lead you to Who.