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Who's right?

Morals are changing. Indeed we could go so far as to say there is no agreement on the fundamental morals of our society anymore. This is a huge problem with huge implications for the raising of children in society. Political parties of all types used to have a general consensus for the aims of government, though the methods of achieving those aims varied greatly. Now that consensus has been eroded.

We are living in a time that is described in the book of Judges where each person does what they think is right in their own eyes.

As believers our moral code is set by our creator. The Ten Commandments stand out as the starting point of living life in society. If everyone abided by them in their hearts, not just externally, society would be stronger, people would be happier and life would be freer.

Of course, the reality is no one is able to keep the Ten Commandments. Sin is embedded in each one of us and we all require the grace of our creator. However, the Ten Commandments still remain the direction in which we should travel, the target which we should all aspire to and the standard by which we judge morality.

Or at least that used to be the case.

With the rise of atheism, the question is inevitable – ‘How can we trust a God who we don’t even believe in to set our moral code?’ Some could argue that historically this code has proved to be good for society and it must have come from somewhere, while others could state their case that this moral code was immoral by their standard.

So, humanism steps into the gap to declare that we all have human rights. This is a great statement, but it is incomplete because we still have to decide what these rights are. Who gets to decide what is right and what is wrong?

Some would argue that on an individual level each individual gets to decide this. This is verifiably incompatible with morality. As my son pointed out to a humanist who came to the school, if each individual gets to decide what is right then a paedophile could decide that paedophilia is good. They could even justify their actions to state that it is of benefit to the child who is being abused (such is the discussion among some who would wish to reframe paedophilia as minor attracted persons). Any sane person would disagree with this, surely!

But why should they? If each individual gets to decide what is right and wrong then who are we to say that anything is wrong. Is it simply the last vestiges of Christianity that cause us to reject any specific activity.

A deviation of this points to the law makers – they are the ones who get to decide morality. So, if the law were to change to require all people to wear brown trousers, it would not be just illegal, but it would also be immoral to not do so. When we understand the corruptibility of individuals, and the dangers of such power, holding the moral code in the hands a few is a dangerous proposition. Communism is great on paper, but in practice it fails due to the fallibility of leadership.

Others point to the collective as the source of morality. Whatever the people think is morally right, it is so. With this logic, it would be true to say that slave ownership used to be moral, but is no longer. Child labour used to be moral, but it is no longer. Yet morality itself requires an absolutist approach. If something is morally wrong on principle in our society then that principle must hold through the ages.

Subjective morality may work on a desert island, but in a community there has to be an ultimate authority to demonstrate morality. While the narcistic tendencies of our modern society drive us to desire to be our own unique moral authority, to accept this we would have to accept that everyone else has the same right as us. If they choose to break into our home and believe it is morally right to occupy it with us (because their morals dictate that they deserve shelter no matter the impact on others) then what redress do we have. You could answer the law is the redress, but the law changes. In California squatters have many rights and in 2020 the district attorney of Los Angeles stated crimes like trespassing would not be prosecuted. Would you trust this morality if it was your home being trespassed?

As the humanist in my son’s school explained, his moral code has ended up not that different from the Judeo-Christian model. But is this because this is the code that he was raised with? If you reject the code and look to yourself for morality, why shouldn’t we kill the weak and boost the strong. I know these examples will seem laughable to some, but over time this is exactly what results when moral restraints are removed and personal morality triumphs over any other moral code.

It is in the climate of a rejection of Biblical morality that our children are being raised. Izzy Montague has been fighting for the right as a parent to exert her Christian morality on her children, without conflict from the states revised morality. The Church of England is divided over whether morality should be defined by the Bible or the surrounding culture when it comes to marraige.

All these issues have a very real impact on how we raise our children. Our children are at risk of becoming both the prey and the product of this moral jungle. As such I want to suggest a few things we can do to encourage our children to make God’s moral code their own and to stand against immorality.

1. Let our children know that the Bible is true. God has given us his word and we can trust what he says. His moral standard works for all time. His standard is the absolute standard by which all other standards have been measured. Communities and nations that adopt these standards and fight to preserve them are more peaceful and prosperous than those who seek individualistic paths or other systems of morality.

2. All people are made in God’s image. Much of our morality towards humans is based on this fact. If we held to an evolutionary morality of survival of the fittest then there would be no need to prosecute murders or protest in justice against the weak. Euthanasia would be the right way forward to remove the weak and make space for the strong. It is this kind of argument that has been used to justify eugenics programmes in the past. But when we understand that every human life is made in God’s image then the weakest and vulnerable must be sheltered, each person must be treated with dignity and a workman becomes worthy of his wages.

3. There is a concept of absolute right and wrong. It is this concept that we will have to answer to. Even those who run their own moral code will break it in their lives (Romans 2:14-16). If there is no absolute concept, external to ourselves, we could not hold each other to account but because there is absolute right and wrong, and deep down we all have a moral code that is in the very least a distortion of God’s code, God will be able to just us fairly.

In this world that we live in let’s have the confidence to stand up for what is right, even if it seems like the world is against us. For we stand not for our own standard, but for God’s standard.


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