Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
The Truth and Morals
The word Truth means nothing if there is no single standard by which anything can be evaluated as being true. If something is "true" based on the whim of each individual, then it is not a truth, it is an opinion. Defining Morality has the same problem. Let's look at this issue from a reasonable point of view - the one the Bible gives us.
Truth and Morals exist. People just differ in their definitions of these topics.
What do you think?
As long as definitions are unique and established by a single authority, Absolute Truth exists.
The key words here are "unique" and "single authority". Truth is similar to, but different from a fact. Two and two are always four. Making a claim that it is really "cuatro" is playing with language or definitions, and saying you want it to be five today instead of four is idiotic. These are facts. The question now is - why is two and two equal to four?
The words we use - dos y dos, two plus two, or deux plus deux, or zwei plus zwei, etc. - may be different, but the underlying facts are the same. The concept of taking two items and adding them to two other items is understood the world over (hence "common") to be a total of four items. This standard is a fact that we can always depend on, unquestioned by sane people.
Truths, like facts, are not flexible, as in changing with the times
Absolute Truth exists as well. For example, stealing is always wrong. This is a truth. Not wrong because your neighbor says so, but because God said that it is wrong. Society can change the way they view that, but the truth is that it is still wrong. Oh, you can be obtuse and say that we may understand a theft and forgive someone who steals for a "good" reason, but that does not make it right, just forgiven. Who among us feels that it is OK to have someone steal from them? So, instead of just feeling this way, we make laws to enforce the proper morals as defined by God. Here again, you can say that these are constructs of society and not from God, but how do you justify that statement? Remember "Survival of the Fittest"? When did that "fact" change to "Love thy neighbor"?
We Christians and Jews have a book written over a period of 1500 years by different people based on the same moral code that we can point to and stand behind. If your opinion suits you better, that is your prerogative, but that is only a personal opinion, and is likely a view based on current cultural viewpoints (also opinions) which are necessarily not "common", as in held by most people.
Preferences are not "truths"
Of course, there are some things that depend on the tastes or likes of the individual person - whether he likes chocolate or whether she enjoys exercise. However, we call these preferences, not truths. Even here, among Christians and non-believers alike, we find "preferences" that contradict the guidance of God.
Truth is something that is limited to a particular state that is a verifiable principle that applies the same to everyone under all conditions, and is not subject to preferences. For example, unless you redefine the word "wet", it is a truth that the oceans are wet. Now, the oceans are other things as well, like deep, wide, and at times violent or peaceful, but these are descriptions based on relative terms. Some oceans are wider, some deeper, some more violent, some more peaceful. But, none are more or less wet. That oceans are wet is a fact and a Truth.
Defining moral standards
Now, many consider the subject of defining moral standards a different matter. While many agree that there can be a standard Truth for some issues, many feel that there is no standard for moral behavior that applies to all people equally. They say that no individual or group should be able to tell anyone else how to act because what is "right" for one person may be considered "wrong" by another. The only way that can be true is if there is no Enforcer of the consequences of actions considered immoral. If there is One, then what He says goes if you care to get the benefits of what He offers. If you don't care about that, or don't believe that He exists, then follow your opinion. Just don't complain when you get to the "reward" and find out you are wrong.
"Understanding" the bad behavior
Morals are commonly defined as "socially acceptable behavior". Are there behaviors that are considered unacceptable by everyone (even criminals or social outcasts)? If you ask someone if there is a standard as to whether it is morally acceptable to steal, some will say "kind of, but it depends on the reason why they are doing it". However, if the person just doesn't like working and has no money, but is really hungry, does that make it OK? This usually means that it is acceptable if they are stealing out of need or hunger, unless of course, the perpetrator is stealing from them. If you then pick up a stereo that belongs to one who holds this view and begin to walk out, they immediately object. To justify your actions, you tell them that you really need a stereo. How well do you think that will work?
Here is another viewpoint (often expressed by the "free spirits"): "Don't push your morals on me!" In the situation described above, when you ask them if they are imposing their morals on you by preventing you from taking what you need, they reply that they are just stopping you from taking their stereo, not enforcing morals. So now, you continue the discussion by defining morals as "socially acceptable behavior". How do you think they would answer if you asked if they know of anyone in the world that would allow anyone to take their stereo without asking or paying for it? Anyone?
"O.K. Usually it's not O.K..."
If the answer is that no one would likely allow someone to steal their stereo, then there is at least one situation where there is a "standard" moral behavior. Now think of the other situations - murder, rape, adultery, and several others that you may have heard before. Is it likely that there are any persons who would want these activities perpetrated on them?
It seems to me that this means that there is a universal standard for Morals, at least from the perspective that applies to the actions of others against the "opinionee". If these moral standards apply for that instance, the only instances in which they would not apply is if someone else is perpetrating upon another person. Or, stated another way, "As long as it doesn't affect me, I have no say about the morality of the act". Now, let's recap.
How do we define morals for everyone?
Is there a set of Moral standards that apply to everyone? Yep. If you were going to guess Who I think set that standard, Who would it be? Yep. In fact, He set ten of them to start with and added others to cover areas not mentioned in the ten. Not one of them will hurt anyone, yet there is a movement in the country to trash them all because no one wants these morals to be "forced" on them because they are so "mean-spirited". ???
What is going on in a world calling for "fairness for everyone" when people think we should not enforce the same rules that everyone already uses. Oh, that's right. The first four commandments mention the One who created them in the first place. That's what people don't want "forced" on them. Yeah, that would be horrible if we advocated for the One who has everyone's best interests as heart.
Many seem to think that God is not in charge, we are
There are other standards He set that are not part of these ten. Gen 18 and 19 speak of Sodom and Gomorrah, Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Cor 6:9-11 speak of the condemnation of homosexuality. Now there are those who say these are not condemning those who practice, just the act itself. I agree, sort of. These rules are only stating how God feels about it and what will happen to anyone who practices these things. So, based on the word of God, can we say that if you are a practicing homosexual, God is not condemning you, but you will be going into the Lake of Fire if you continue? What's the difference?
Is the One who makes the rules really there?
If you think about it, this is a kind of Universal Truth that applies to everyone. So, there is a Truth, and a set of Morals, that are standard for everyone, regardless of what the "free thinkers" profess. These free thinkers just want to be able to apply their lack of standards to everyone in society so they will not feel the guilt of being the only ones who practice things that may hurt others. They are right in a way. God merely lets us know what He is going to do about certain things (this is still called punishment), and it is really up to us whether we avoid the punishment.
The big decision at this point is whether or not we believe in God. If someone doesn't believe in Him, they are confident that He won't punish them at the end of time like He said He would. But, doesn't that kind of depend on whether or not God is real, not just whether you believe that He is real? Some of the human race are in for a surprise. I guess we will have to wait and see who is right - Christians or evolutionists.
Forcing others - should we?
Now, the question that gets everyone going is "Should we enforce our morals on others?" Well, that depends on your viewpoint (opinion). It is easy to say we should not do so, but then what does today's society do with those who murder others? Or those who steal, rape, or lie in court? If we are not allowed to enforce our morals, we have no say about what anyone does. In our society, we call these moral codes laws, but you can call them whatever you want, they are still coming from God. So what are we doing when we send criminals to prison? And, what laws are we using to do so? These are the same laws set up by God in the Bible! Just because we turn them into words of our "man-made" laws doesn't mean God didn't give them to us.
Oh, I have heard the arguments that these are just social constructs based on the needs of society for order, developed over the millennia when men realized that they need some sort of order in society. Baloney. That would mean that one day the "survival of the fittest" turned into "the best for everyone". When did that happen? We use these because they are the absolutes that all societies use to keep order, and because they work. They are the same all over the world. Up until recently, you do not find any societies that allow the activities of the last six commandments. However, you do find places where the first four are not followed with any uniformity. These are the four that describe the character and will of the Designer of the six that we, as a society, claim to keep.
Pick your own - but beware
Is it really so strange that society uses only the rules, the Truths, that they want, but toss the rest? Especially in today's culture, even Christians balk if someone shows them a Truth that they do not like (think fourth commandment, Easter, Christmas...). Notice I did not say someone shows them an opinion they don't like, but shows them a Truth stated clearly by God. If they don't like it, they won't follow it. It's not as if I am making anything up, or trying to get people fo follow my personal idea of faith. The facts are there in the Word of God, people just pick and choose to follow the ones they want. Worse yet, they pick verses and twist their meaning in an attempt to justify their right to act against the word of God.
We are all on a high-speed highway where some refuse to drive in the specified lane or even follow the signs to go in the right direction. Some of us are headed for a crash, and I prefer to use a seat belt with as many straps as possible, in case I am in their path, but at least I am trying to go in the direction in which all the Biblical signs are pointing.
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