I was talking with a young lady in China, trying to get her to understand the concept of how God sees sin, right and wrong, and moral absolutes. As we talked, it became apparent to me that either she did not understand the concept of absolute right and wrong, or she was purposefully choosing a line of thinking that said all actions of right and wrong were conditional.
To clarify her position in my own mind, I asked her if prostitution was against the law in China. She said yes. When I tried to get her to admit, based on the law, that prostitution was wrong, she wavered. “Wrong by the government does not mean it is wrong for the girl. Maybe she must do these things to support herself, and maybe she must support her baby.”
She then brought up a question I recognized immediately as a moral dilemma question. Here is the setup: A group of people is trying to escape from certain death in a building through the only passage way available. One person becomes stuck in the passage way just a few feet from the opening outside, and this person cannot be removed by either pushing them forward or backward. It seems now that everyone will die.
However, one person in the group has a crude and gruesome means of removing the person from the passage way, but it will certainly kill the person blocking the way. Some people argue that for one person to die to save everyone else is worth it. Others argue that it is outright murder and should not be done. The person stuck in the passage way has a family and does not want to die, but agrees there is no way for everyone to live unless they die, and so the decision is left up to you. What do you do?
There are variations on this story I have heard since then, such as the person in the passage way is a relative, maybe a husband or wife, or maybe the person stuck is a pregnant female. In one case the person is begging for their life to be spared, and in another they are consenting to their own death. Whatever spin you put on it though, the original moral dilemma remains the same as in the first story. The other variations just seem to add in distractions intended to complicate or simplify what is essentially the same choice: one person (or two in the case of the pregnant female) dies so that the rest may live, or all die in the name of preserving moral right.
While you may never personally face this moral dilemma, we still face these types of decisions once in a while. Is it OK to change seats at a ball game for better seats you did not pay a premium price for if they are empty? Is it OK to call in sick on a day when you actually overslept? If you do something wrong and someone else is getting the blame, do you step in and fess up – even if the consequences are going to be very harsh?
Problem is, these answers may be difficult for some people to answer, but when there is a clear line of right and wrong, and a choice has been made to do right no matter the cost, then the decisions are actually made before the time of decision even comes. Those clear lines of right and wrong are called moral absolutes, and when solidly based on the Word of God, we can make choices with confidence instead of worrying if we did the right thing or not.
How this really begins to apply is when we are raising our children to choose to do right. Peer pressure among friends and a desire to fit in with the group has a very powerful way of greying out a line of right and wrong. “I’m not hurting anyone else but myself” would be one argument, while another argument has been “What is right and wrong for you is not necessarily what is right and wrong for me.” If moral absolutes do not exist in the first place, there is very little chance these faded lines will hold up when the greying effect of peer pressure comes in to sway you, or your children. What moral absolutes can you find in the Bible?
Reposted from www.MenRising.com August 15, 2011.