Not too long ago I was spending some time with my nephews, who are six and three years old. These guys are high energy fellows that bring me such joy. As we played with building blocks, they started to create all sorts of wonderful things that come from a boy’s imagination. By looking at the collections of blocks they had assembled, I had no idea what they had created. They had to tell me what each item was and then describe the exciting features on the spaceships, guns or alien creatures they had built.
Americans love a buffet. It may be the traditional Thanksgiving feast laid out at grandma’s house. Or perhaps one prefers the dozens of options available at the Chinese restaurant. In either case, we love the choices before us.
When we have choices of what we are going to eat, we normally select those items that we like the best. I’d much rather have barbeque brisket and fried okra than I would a grilled piece of chicken. And my dessert preference would be pie and ice cream instead of a single, humble apple.
Too many times I see Christians treating Jesus as though he is a buffet. And I include myself in that group.
Have you ever read something, whether it be in the Bible or some other piece of literature, and some word or phrase stood out that you had not noticed before?
I fear that sometimes verses we hear and read regularly can become so familiar that they become dull. One time, while reading through 1 Peter 3, I recognized something in verse 15 I had not really seen before. That verse reads:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
A few years ago I was running as a regular part of an exercise routine, despite having injured both knees playing intramural sports in college. After many instances in which I had severe, sharp knee pain, I went to the doctor to find the cause. His examination showed that I had very little cartilage in my knees. His solution to reduce my knee pains – stop running.
In the last several posts, I have tried to paint a picture showing that without God, morality is entirely subjective. Thus, without God, differences in moral standards are no more that differences in personal preferences.
- If societies get to define morality, then war is not right or wrong. It’s merely a struggle for power.
- If morals are defined by how a family raises their children, then there is nothing wrong when a family raises their kids to be cop killers.
- If individuals each get to decide their own morality, then there is no instance in which any person is justified in condemning the attitudes or actions of another.
After doing a very quick internet search for how people decide right and wrong, I found that there are many, many such discussions. The majority of responses I saw could be divided into three themes:
- We know what is right and wrong based on the way we were raised.
- Everyone gets to determine right and wrong for themselves.
- Right and wrong just exist and we don’t need religion or anyone else to tell us what is right and wrong.
In my last post, I asked the following question:
Are our current [cultural] debates over same sex marriage and abortion and religion in schools just a part of the evolution of our species, or are there real, moral absolute issues at hand?
There will be very few people, even the atheistic humanist, that will say that these issues are just about evolution of the human race. Our experiences as people tell us that there are some things that are just right and others that are just wrong. And those moral laws apply to all people at all times in all cultures throughout history. The social issues I listed in the question above are debated because everyone engaged believes their position to be the right one.
Several years ago I attended a debate about between an atheist and a Christian about Intelligent Design. The two participants were Michael Ruse and William Dembski. Part of the debate included whether or not there were moral absolutes.
During college I was introduced to the game shown in the picture above. Some of the guys that lived on my dorm floor would have regular Axis and Allies game nights. Each game would take about thirty minutes to set up and playing the game took a minimum of four or five hours. I now play this game from time to time with my sons, and when we do we have a great time because we all understand how the game works and we each follow the rules.
Not long ago, I attended a mandatory employees’ conference. This conference emphasized the investigative arm of the law enforcement agency for which I work. Much of the material dealt with violent crimes people commit against one another. At the end of the two-day event, I was emotionally spent. Continue reading