Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why is it Wrong?

A song that I like very much, by a Christian group,
has as one of its primary lines, these words:
"...and I have found that the Answer is to Love You
and be Loved by You..."

If you picture the relationship between ourselves
and God as a Father-son relationship (which I think
is the very focal point of the Christian faith),
then consider this analogy, when pondering the idea
of what we commonly call "Moral Absolutes":

Your father is a commander in the Army, and since he
has been away from home since you were born, you've
never really met him; but he has left you a series
of letters in which not only does he declare his
love for you, but which also include a subset of
"guidelines" or "principles" that he wants you to
live by... You've been taught that your father not
only loves you very deeply but that he is also
extremely wise... You're also convinced that one
of these days you're going to finally meet him...

So you decide you're going to be faithful to the
instructions of your father... Some of these are
fairly straight-forward, and their wisdom is apparent:

"Don't hit your sister" (for how would you like it if
she were to hit YOU, for no good reason)... "Don't
stick your finger in the stove flames", and "Don't
play with sharp knives"... Easy enough, right? Nobody
in their right mind questions these "rules", and you
find it easy to obey them...

But what if you develop a friendship with Tom Smith,
down the street, and although reputation and your own
experience show Tom to be a bit of a scoff-law, you
find that you rather like hanging out with Tom, and
you believe those who hold that he is a trouble-maker
to be stuffy, narrow-minded, and biggoted...

And then, right there in the letters, your own father
says, "oh, and stay away from that rebel, Tom Smith!"

And what if you meet other young people who ALSO
think that Tom Smith is pretty cool? And what if
there are enough of them that you begin to believe
that "liking Tom Smith" is not only okay, but what
you were MADE to be like, as part of your "identity",
and you felt a real solidarity with Tom-Smith-likers?

Right then and there, you would have a decision to make:
Do you TRUST that your father loves you deeply, and
has this Rule about Tom Smith because he is wiser than
you and understands the Tom Smiths of the world better
than you, and that his love for you inspired this rule,
or do you decide that your father is out of touch,
old-fashioned, and not "up with the times"?

After all, liking Tom Smith seems to be so pervasive
that how could staying away from him make any sense?

You might go further in saying that your father may not
REALLY be your father after all, OR, that he doesn't really
know you, OR, that when he says "stay away from Tom Smith"
he doesn't REALLY mean "stay away" but only "don't become
like him..." In fact, wouldn't the options for questioning
and even disparaging your father's wisdom be as limitless
as your own imagination and subjective experiences?
Couldn't you ultimately make your father's letters to you
say whatever you WANT them to say?

Well, if you accept that there is a GOD, and that He loves
you -- as His very own child -- deeply and passionately,
doesn't it behoove you to find out if God has communicated
His Will to you, and if so, what that Will is? And can
you not see the very great, and very slippery-slope Danger
that you could make "His Will" really about YOUR wants
and wishes and preferences instead of what He really said?

Christians believe these very same things about what we
call "Moral Absolutes": God LOVES us deeply and passionately,
and He knows what is best for His children far better than
we ourselves... When God calls any particular act a "sin",
we either have to LOVE Him back, and OBEY, or go off in the
profoundly subjective direction of redefining, questioning,
doubting, and finally outright REJECTING His Will...

But at that point, we've lost all sight of Love for HIM
and have really supplanted it with love for OURSELVES...

May God Himself help us to obey His Will, and respond to
His infinite Love for us by acknowledging, in Word and
in Deed, that we love Him in return...
.
.
.

1 comment:

Todd Kern said...

Greg,

I enjoyed reading this post. Your analogy was really good, and I think it describes the daily Christian struggle dating back to the original fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

That's why it is important to gird on the sword of truth & the shield of faith every day, live our lives as our holy God instructs, revel in his love for us, seek his will for our lives, and look forward to his coming again.

Hope you, Sharon, and the kids are doing well.

Todd