Saturday, October 09, 2010

What is the basis of morality?

The United States is at a point in its history where it will continue to be a great nation or decline into a nation among nations and eventually be taken over by another nation.
But by then, there will not be much left to take.
This could happen in the next 10 years or within the next 50.

While this issue appears to be political, it is not.
The political manifestations we are seeing are only symptoms of its underlying source.
The true foundation of this struggle is moral and, ultimately, spiritual.

Some people will argue that we are, indeed, in a moral struggle, but see Christianity as a cause of the problem, rather than a solution.
To them, a “rational morality” (my term) needs to be the basis for all government policy, societal customs and economic policy.
They have been working to this end in this country for over 100 years.
And one of the prime tenets of this new morality is the suppression or removal of all things Christian.

Standing against this “rational morality” is the Christian community.
It is a community more in name than in organization or structure.
The one thing that nearly all groups and individuals which align themselves with this side of the debate have in common is division.
Very few of them have a working relationship with more than a few of the other members of the community.
The reasons for this rampant division can be summarized in two terms – doctrine or methods.

Some groups may “believe the right things” but put them into practice in ways that some other groups disapprove of.
Other groups do not believe the “right things” in the Bible, and thus, are not truly “Christian” to some degree or another, in the eyes of some other groups.
And those groups that emphasize “correct” doctrine, are accused of being “Bible thumpers”, closed minded, bigoted and divisive, by some of the other more liberal groups.
From this diverse expanse of views, some groups cannot even agree that there is a moral crisis.
Others are so distressed as to be almost to the point of despair of any remedy.

Those who support the “rational morality” have their own issues in that they have no single basis for their standard of “morality”.
They do not have – or need – a Bible.
This leads to a rather messy – and even conflicting - variety of standards on which to base their moral codes.
This is less of an issue for them than it is for the Christians, because the rationalists do not have to claim allegiance or conformity with a pre-established code.
They have the convenience of moral relativism to make some, if not many, of their pronouncements fit various untidy circumstances.
Christians, after all, have to adhere to some degree, to the person and/or teachings of Jesus Christ to claim the title.

But Christians, have a serious problem.
If we cannot comfortably accept the fact that God is the creator of the universe, in spite of constant “scientific” claims to the contrary, we have a problem.
It is a moral and spiritual problem.
If God is not the creator, as his book says he is, then, who is he?
And if God is not our creator, what else is he not?
And if the spiritual principles that were the foundation of the Old Testament law and the New Testament are no longer valid, what, then, is the basis of our moral conduct?
What do we use to guage right and wrong?
Are we individually responsible to God, or not?
(This question is, in fact, the basis for all rebellion, sin, and alternate moral codes.)

If some “Christians” cannot bring themselves to accept the Bible as the basis of their morality, they are destined to ride the same slippery slope of moral relativism as their opponents.
(And if a person cannot subscribe to all of the Bible, what is it that makes them “a Christian”?)

If we cannot depend on the Bible to be essentially the word of God, then we are wasting our time pondering Christianity.
We might as well sell all the church buildings and hit the links, the lakes or the couch in front of the big flat-screen.
By “essentially” I mean, its fundamental basis, logic, facts, principles, and concepts accurately present what God intended for people to know.
I know there are some minor errors in the texts here and there, like the two accounts in Acts, of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and others.
There are some differences between some older texts and newer texts.
But these errors/differences do not materially alter the important facts or principles of the document as a whole.

And if moral relativism is not a valid basis for our morality, then moral absolutism must be.
There is no other choice.
And if moral absolutism is THE basis for our morality, then we need to make peace with the Bible.
We need to put to rest our doubts and concerns about some parts of it, and its inconvenient precepts that cramp our worldly, selfish living practices.

The natural state of people on this earth is chaos suppressed by totalitarian power.
People are naturally rebellious against restraint.
The entire history of the world can be summarized in a cyclical pattern of,
1 general social/economic chaos,
2 gradual local consolidation of political/military power (manifested as social/economic influence and voluntary or forced allegiance/conquest),
3 larger military conquests/subjection,
4 rebellion,
5 go back to number 1.

It is only the enforced rule of law that causes people to build stable societies.
Even then, enforced rule of law only restrains about 80-90 percent of the people.
Of this minority, about 10 percent commit occasional minor robbery, damage to the property of others, or assault on others.
The remaining 10 percent prey regularly, if not constantly, on the other law-abiding citizens, stealing anything they can, damaging property, and assaulting or killing anyone they can/need to.
These in this last group are essentially outcasts of the society at large and have little or no interest in conformity.
This group is either killed or isolated from the rest of society in confined living facilities.

The main group of our society chooses to conform, more or less, to our Christian-based moral code.
The two minority groups conform even less or not at all to the general moral standards of the society at large.

The founders of the United States recognized that a stable society required the willing cooperation of its citizens to survive.
For this to work, each citizen had to subscribe to a common fundamental philosophical perspective.
For the early nation this foundational perspective was Christianity.
There were several variations of belief throughout the colonies and early states.
But nearly all of them accepted the Bible as the basis for their moral code.
Some more strictly than others, but still, it was the basis for their society.
And the local, state, and national economies were based on this same foundation.

Why are the new moralists trying to change the United States?
Why do they not just move to some other country that already operates the way they think we should?
It surely would be easier for them.

I think it is because they are impressed with the massive wealth of the United States.
Some of them may not even realize this.
They think they can harness this gigantic wealth-producing machine and mold it in a way that it will finance the massive expense of their “moral” economy, government and society.
But that is the flaw in their thinking.

The incredible wealth-producing machine of the American economy works precisely because it is unencumbered by the innumerable constraints of other, more “moral” nations.
To impose the same constraints on the American economy that other nations put on their mechanisms of commerce would produce the same lumbering, near-stagnant economy here.
These new moralists do not understand this.

The new moralists also need a “moral” cause to fight for.
This is their substitute spirituality.
They have no moral tradition to defend.
They have no reason to exist.
They have no spiritual foundation.
For them, Vishnu is as valid as Buddah (but not Jesus Christ)

So they see the ills of society as being caused by Christianity, rightly or wrongly applied.
The economic ills of America are caused by the greed of businessmen.
Since the basis of the free enterprise system is the individualism promoted by Christianity, the free enterprise system must be brought under the control of the new morality also.

To put their plan in place will produce the same massive governmental economic/social dependencies that we see in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece.
And when they find that such social/economic/governmental arrangements are unsustainable, we will experience the same financial crisis we are seeing in these other nations.

And yet, while we write of social, economic, and governmental policies, these are only the symptoms of the underlying moral foundation.
We must return to our common moral foundation – the Bible.
The basis for a national moral concensis is individual moral integrety.
Every one of us must behave ourself.
All the time.
The measure for our morality must be the Bible.
This may not work for Mexico.
Or Canada.
Or Greece.
Or Iraq.
But it must be for the United States of America.
If not, we are doomed for collaps.

So, where are you?
Is the Bible your sole basis for your moral standards?
Do you believe God is our creator, just as the book says?
Is your conduct in conformity with what is written in the Bible?
If not, how do you justify your conduct to God?
We are saved by grace, not by works, but that is not an excuse for sloppy, disobedient living.

In God we trust.

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