Give Me an Answer – #2915 – What IS Morality?
- By : Oliver Santos
- Category : Articles
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on the topic of moral relativity or relativism as you were talking about yesterday let me pose you a question are things moral in your perspective is something moral because God says it's moral or rather it's something or does God say that something is moral because that thing is objectively moral for reasons outside of God nothing is moral in an objective sense outside of God so you believe that something is moral based purely on the fact that God says that it's moral no you've got to understand the thinking the thinking is because God created him with dignity it is immoral for me to demean him for me to hate him therefore because God created him with dignity and because God created me with a rational mind and a conscience I am morally responsible to respect the man and to love it but you're saying you're saying essentially that morality comes from God correct and morality comes from God so the thing is if morality comes from God then therefore that morality is arbitrary because it is based on on God or how God created morality right no that's what I was answering that when I was because God created him with value therefore God says it is wrong for me to devalue him God is saying that it's immoral for me to evaluate him therefore God is specifically saying what is moral and what is immoral that's correct God is saying what is more than what is immoral for a reason though not arbitrarily it's not irrelevant reasons are not irrelevant that's why we think for the purposes of this question the reason is irrelevant the point is that God has decreed something as moral or immoral correct based on dignity creation whatever you yes based on dignity and creating yes so God has created morality in the way that he wants it to be correct so by that logic logic morality is arbitrarily based on what God perceives as moral or immoral because he created you with dignity etcetera etcetera etcetera it is not arbitrary first of all well it is very because it's literally him saying is it's morale misses with a moral that's when it comes down to that's the definition of arbitrary it is not arbitrary because God's character is just which means God's definition of right and wrong justice and injustice flows from his character it is not arbitrary justice is based on the just character of God but even if I decide something for a particular reason I'm still deciding it and so regardless of what that reason is my decision of that whatever it is is arbitrary I am deciding something as the way it is therefore that decision is arbitrarily based on what I think I love your use of the word decision you're absolutely correct in order for there to be good or evil in order for there to be justice and injustice there has to be a mind that decides a mind that thinks this rock this rock has absolutely no ability to distinguish between good and evil right and wrong justice an injustice that tree has no ability to distinguish between good and evil right and wrong justice and injustice you have to have a thinking rational line in order to distinguish between good and evil right and wrong the second that you have being saying what is moral and what is immoral then by virtue of that being citing things are moral or immoral it means that that being is the capacity to decide things are rural or immoral that may not necessarily line up with what everybody else thinks is morally wrong so for example for example God could say that it's moral to stone homosexuals in fact that you're required just don't homosexuals okay so if that's if that's what God decrees is moral then morality is arbitrary and so if you go and look at what we view as moral as a society we don't think that it's moral to stone people because they're gay or at least most of us don't the rational ones however God could easily say this thing is moral and we can't really challenge that regardless of how we perceive morality you challenge it all the time so do I we're thinking human beings with a free will we challenge God on a regular basis I challenge it because you don't think God exists what are you challenging I'm challenging the fact that you claim that my morality is no no all I'm saying to you is man you don't believe God exists I respect that but now if you're gonna be consistent with your atheism you're gonna have to acknowledge that morality is relative there is no God and if there is no God according to you then morality is a crapshoot it's just you make it up in your head the KKK mix it up in its head Gandhi mix it up in his head and it's all relative I'm just asking you to be consistent with your worldview the same way you asked me to be consistent with my worldview which is I'm a follower of Christ which means if you watch me go out and womanize after I finished speaking here you're gonna call me a what a hypocrite you are right because I say I believe in Christ and then I go out and womanize that's hypocrisy similarly I'm saying if you say there is no God which means morality is relative then please don't live your life as if there are objective morals good soul morality is relative so just live that out morality is relative however if you look at the things that we view as moral as a society it goes back to things that help keep society together for example not murdering people that is something that helps society to stay together because if we all when we were you know leaving in the plains of Africa and living a nomadic lifestyle before we were fully evolved if we all went around killing each other evolutionarily that wouldn't make very much sense and we all wouldn't be able to survive as a species so therefore we consider this murder immoral because it helps our survival as a species okay so the basis of your morality is survival of the species is that right if I heard you're right okay well then why do you care about what happens to handicapped people handicapped people are a drain on your limited resources so why do you care about handicapped people that was in the context of previous like before we were as involved as we are now so now we're evolved to the point that we can see that people on an individual basis still have value life as a whole may be meaningless at least from your perspective or from your perspective so white life doesn't have to have a meaning that's this what are the questions it doesn't really need an answer you know some some questions don't deserve answers like what is the meaning of life the answer doesn't matter because there is no answer and so life as a whole doesn't matter but the relationships between people do matter so handicapped people matter and they people matter and people of different races matter not because God created them that way but because on an individual basis we connect as humans and we recognize our humanity in each other well I love your emphasis on connecting with people that's exactly what Jesus said jesus said the purpose of life is to connect with God and to connect with people to love God with your heart soul mind and strength and to love your neighbors yourself so you're spot on according to Christ God created us to connect with him and to connect with each other not in racism in sexism not in hating gay people but in loving and respecting all people well the religion has been used to justify such things isn't it exactly and that's why you need to read the Gospels because when you read the Gospels well then what's the sin that Jesus attacked you've read the gospel so you tell me what is the sin that Jesus attacked the most harshly you tell me you're the one no you said you read the gospel so you know what is this sin that Christ attacked most harshly the sin of a religious hypocrisy he reserved his most scathing words for the religious hypocrites of his day they were called Pharisees they pretended to know God but then they contradicted God with their self-righteousness their racist attitudes and Christ nailed him verbally he said you guys are hypocrites so you have nothing to worry about Jesus agrees with you if anyone says I'm a follower of Christ and I hate that gay person or I hate that person of a different race they're contradicting the Jesus they say they believe in now guess what I bet although I don't know but I'm gonna conjecture that you've been hurt by some Christians well guess what the african-americans in United States have been hurt far worse than you have by Christians they were enslaved their great grandparents were enslaved in this country by white Christians but those black Christians today had the open mindedness not to allow a white Christian racist to turn them off to the true Jesus who didn't have a racist bone in his body that's real open-mindedness you think black Christians the United States and that's why they believe in Jesus do you know how elitist how intolerant how narrow-minded and bigoted that is black Christians have their own brains they use their own minds and for you to insist that black people are Christians because they've been indoctrinated I didn't say specifically black people I said all religious people we were talking about black folks alright let's talk about the context and you know exactly what you were saying then poor dumb black people are Christians because they didn't dr. Dave that's exactly what you inferred it's still clearly ma'am is it every religious person yeah well I find that to be incredibly intolerant intolerant up the wazoo and judgmental there are many there are many devout Muslims who honestly follow Muhammad because they've read the Quran not because they've been indoctrinated and they blindly believe and there are many devout Hindus who have studied the bhagavad-gita the Upanishads and they follow Hinduism not because they've been indoctrinated but because they've made their own decision and there many atheists who are atheist because they thought through the issue and they think there is no God and for me to say oh you all you atheists are just been indoctrinated it's incredibly bigoted narrow minded and intolerant we don't think that all right thank you for raising those issues so one question that I have is why would a seemingly like all-powerful omniscient God create a book for his people that could ever possibly be misinterpreted and create such differences between certain groups of people and that leads to violence and you know God allows us to interpret as we freely choose to do if God were to take away our freewill we would no longer be human we would be machines every book you interpret every book I interpret that we read the fact that we are can interpret means that were free okay I'll move on to my next one so also why does God feel the need to have more Gospels to be just not get right the first time or not get one guy just find that a little weird I do not know why God saw fit to have four Gospels instead of five or six or seven I personally am very grateful that there are four Gospels because whenever I'm studying an historical person I want different perspectives I don't just want one I want different perspectives so I'm very grateful that there are four Gospels are you ungrateful then that all the other votes don't only have one well whenever I study history I want different perspectives I want different accounts also I noticed you mentioned you know about Christ's resurrection and all that stuff and one one question that I have is I mean I personally have never seen what I would call a miracle or anyone being resurrected or anything however I see and hear about people lying every single day and my question is whether or not you think it's more likely that's something that has never been documented at least in modern times is happening is more likely than just a couple of dudes just lied which we all know happens all the time all around us for a variety of different purposes miracles are impossible if there is no god but if there is a God then all a miracle is is is the God who created the laws of nature changing a law and performing with you and I call a miracle so just because I haven't seen the Red Sea split or the eyes of a blind man open by a healer doesn't mean that that can't happen okay also people so like people who are born like let's say like the Amazon basin and like chocolate people who have never heard of Jesus Christ and never do hear Jesus Christ in their entire lifetime like how does their salvation work because obviously they're not given the same chance as someone like you know URI grows up in a largely Christian society where you hear about Christ the good news you know almost every day so how does their salvation work their salvation I understand works just the same way the salvation of Abraham Isaac Jacob Moses Rahab a Gentile prostitute works god holds us responsible not for that which we do not hear about do not know God holds us responsible for really do know an Abraham Isaac Jacob Moses and Rahab the Gentile prostitute are going to be in heaven the Bible promises not because they put their faith in Christ they never heard the words Jesus Christ okay but they were Old Testament figures who also have their own means for I mean I'm not completely familiar with didn't you have to sacrifice animals in order to become clean in the eyes of God and things like that and those were instructions that God gave specifically those people do in order to you know meet his I mean what about people who have never heard of like the Abrahamic God and in the Bible right I mean God comes down and speaks directly with those people Abraham Moses you know all of those figures and I've never heard of God coming down and actually speaking to anyone like at least not in my own mind anthropology it's real clear every culture around the world has some basic understanding of a supernatural God God is hardwired us in such a way that all of us longed to know God another one I have is that I would ask whether or not you agree with the fact that so I was born in Atlanta and I grew up in a largely Christian household and I was Christian for a long time and I believe that one of the reasons why I was such Christian for a long time is because I was exposed to it virtually from birth and then had those beliefs you know compacted over the years and my question is if God is you know proposed to be a just God how is it fair that someone born and say Saudi Arabia into a Muslim family who's taught all these Muslim views their entire life you know if you tell them about Christianity I feel like they're gonna be a lot less likely to convert to Christianity if they're already at about Muslim then they would be have they've been born in a Christian family so how is that don't you think that that's sort of naturally unfair that certain people are given these I guess it manages in order to come to believe in Jesus and you know the Christian faith overall versus any other faith or atheism well the great news is that God loves all of us and by his spirit he reaches out to all of us secondly God is obviously giving us a free will and you've exercised that free will you tell me that you used to be a Christian now you're not so you grew up in a Christian home and now you're not a follower of Christ which means you've exercised your free will and chosen to walk away from Christ but don't you think that it would be easier for a person to become a Christian who has no preconceived notions about God or the afterlife or anything versus someone who has been taught their entire life that this is the way it is and you know this is what you need to believe it because this is where your parents believe this what your society believes etc sure there are certain advantages to growing up in a certain part of the world but I think Jesus answers the question you're raising in a very direct way when he points out in Luke chapter 12 that we're not gonna be judged according to what we do not know we're gonna be judged according to what we do know it's in Luke chapter 12 Jesus says in verse 47 that servant who knows his masters will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows but the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with flute few blows for from everyone who has been given much much will be demanded and from the one who has been entrusted with much much more will be required which means we're all going to be judged by God uniquely fairly and justly based on what we have not based on what we do not have okay I'll just move on because my understanding was slightly different about that whole thing because I mean isn't at the end of the day whether or not you said I mean in today's society like New Testament Post New Testament isn't the whole thing whether or not you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you go to heaven and if you don't you go to hell regardless of any life experience you've had or any you know extenuating circumstances okay I understand what you're saying I understand what you've been taught but I would like you to read in Genesis where Abraham meets a man named Melchizedek all right and Abraham talks with he'll kiss attack and become so convinced that Melchizedek really knows God that he adopts Melchizedek name for God I think that underlines the point that God loves all of us and reaches out to all of us by His Holy Spirit and then we have to choose what we're going to do in response to that well how can you know that if something like that let's say you make that decision how do you know if that truly is God speaking to you through this other person or to speak sort of from your around the thought that's the work of the devil or malevolent force that's trying to deceive you or how could you possibly differentiate where that is coming from it's called self reflection it's called self perception it's called analyzing your motives and asking yourself the hard questions what is really driving me do I really want to know God or just do I just want to use God often people say to me cliff I'll tell you why I can't believe God exists because I prayed and I didn't get what I prayed for really fascinating view of Prayer you hear about a plane crash and you hear about three survivors and some believer says wow thank you God for protecting those three people well obviously the unanswered question is yeah what about the other 150 who died was not asleep on the switch why didn't he protect them so you see to automatically conclude that Wow God exists because three people survived a plane crash yeah John was one of Jesus closest friends he wrote the Gospel of John and at the end of chapter 20 he writes Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name what is faith biblical faith is evidence of reliability plus commitment in the Gospel of John John gives us a record of many of Christ's miracles not all of them but many the reason that he records these miracles is that he's convinced they're signs signs pointing as evidence to the trustworthiness of Jesus Christ in John chapter 2 John records how Jesus takes water and turns it into wine he performs that miracle John says he turns a despondent family of the bride into an ecstatic family of the bride they'd run out of wine but Jesus turns water into wine he's the life of the party in John chapter 4 jesus heals a royal officials son and that father is so grateful he cannot thank Jesus enough in John chapter 5 jesus heals a paralytic and that paralytic is deeply appreciative in John chapter 6 Jesus walks on water and Jesus takes five loaves and two fish breaks them and multiplies them to feed a crowd of thousands in John chapter nine Jesus the opens the eyes of a man born blind in John chapter 11 Jesus raises Lazarus to life now John is saying I am writing a record of these signs so that you may know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and by believing on him that you might have eternal life life real life in his name do you understand faith in Christ he's not blind naivete faith in Jesus Christ is based on the evidence of his reliability the veracity of faith is never determined by its sincerity the veracity of faith is determined by the veracity of the object of that faith if you have a lot of faith in thin ice if you walk out on that thin ice you will go through I don't care how passionate how sincere your faith in that thin ice is but if you put your faith in thick ice and even if you just have a little bit of faith when you walk out on that ice you will not go through because the thick ice is reliable it could hold you up Jesus Christ calls you and me to put our faith in Him John calls us to put our faith in Christ why because the evidence of his lifestyle his teachings his death and his resurrection point to his credibility and John in his gospel says the evidence of the signs the miracles that he performed points to his credibility of course the greatest miracle that Christ performed was his resurrection from the dead and John records that very clearly and specifically in John chapter 20 when you read the account of Jesus resurrection in the Gospels you will notice there is no flowery language there is no erudite sophisticated explanation of the significance of his resurrection the language the sentences are short and compact there is no flowery language there are no extraneous details it's the basics that's one of the reasons you can tell this is not mythology this is eyewitness reportage we saw Jesus died the Gospel writers write or for Luke's case although he didn't see Christ die and rise he knew the people who did and he puts their testimony together but Matthew Mark and John knew Christ they understood he died they saw him risen from the dead and they recorded what they saw faith in Christ is based not on a blind leap into the dark and having the guts to take that blind leap into the dark faith in Christ is a step into the light based on evidence of the credibility of Christ have you put your faith in Christ the evidence is he is reliable like nobody else right now I invite you to put your trust your faith in Jesus Christ commit your life to Him and he promises to give eternal life to all who trust in him god bless you as you make that most important decision to trust in Jesus Christ I'm the pastor one of the pastor's of Grace Community Church we meet at Grace farms located at 365 Luke's Wood Road in New Canaan Connecticut I'd love to invite you to our 9:30 or 5:00 o'clock Sunday service thanks for joining us for these few minutes have a great day you