I have come to a startling conclusion. Words are losing their meaning. Important words. Words like morality, Christianity, and American. The most frightening thing is that if the meaning of these words have changed, than much of my identity as a person has changed, not to mention our identity as Americans, (not that I’m implying that this dilemma isn’t found in nations around the world.)
In a recent post, I asked the question, “Is there a morality outside of Christianity, and if so, what are its standards based on?” According to the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary, morality is: The relation of conformity or nonconformity to the moral standard or rule; quality of an intention, a character, an action, a principle, or a sentiment, when tried by the standard of right.
Who determines this moral standard or rule, this standard of right? If we determine this rule, which human is good enough and wise enough to make this determination? I just can’t help wondering, if there is a morality apart from Christianity who is it that determines its rules? Isn’t this why we’re in the pickle we’re in? Because we’ve trusted our own moral rectitude, which apparently changes with the breath of the wind, or maybe more honestly penned, changes based upon what we feel like doing? Isn’t this the very philosophy many of our college professors and students are challenging with their “situational ethics”? If we determine our own morality, who are you to impose your morality on me? You can see why young people resent being told by someone else what is right and wrong for them.
In my life time, what is considered moral has changed drastically. It was considered immoral for a man and a woman to live together outside of marriage, for a woman to have a baby outside of marriage, for men to swear in front of a woman and for people to cheat on their taxes. Now these practices are not only common, but even those calling themselves “Christian” regularly participate in these lifestyles. Clearly, what has been considered basic morality has changed. These changes are not providing for a more disciplined, unselfish life, but rather a life that declares, “I will do what is best for me!”
I agree that there are many moral people who are not Christians, and there are many people calling themselves Christians who are not moral. Is it possible that morality was instituted by the Jewish law? Is it possible that there is a moral compass in every man, but that it seems to be degenerating with each generation?
My pastor, Dr. Robb Thompson always says, “Pride is robbing God of his Divine right to determine right and wrong, good and evil, true and false.” Doesn’t it seem like a better plan to let someone wiser and selfless, even Divine, determine morality? Don’t you think that right must be right all of the time, not some of the time? After all, morality according to the Webster’s dictionary is conforming to a moral standard or rule. Which rule? The Golden Rule? Who wrote that? So is there truly morality apart from Christianity?
Next Monday…The ever changing American definition of Christian