Someone told me that I as a Pastor should probably stay out of the political arena. So I will simply say this is not about politics, but about theology and how it can affect politics and vice versa.
Somewhere or other we had a discussion about “natural Law” or the natural knowledge of God. For me it boils down to a simple statement – there are some things that are impossible not to know are wrong”. But the New York Times published an article this week by David Brooks on a study done at Notra Dame University that sought to determine the values and morals of 230 young adults from across America. Evidently I was wrong. Supposedly if I am reading this right, there are some things that we don’t know are wrong unless someone tells us or we get really bad results from doing them. Here is a quote from the article concerning these young adults –
“Not many of them have previously given much or any thought to many of the kinds of questions about morality that we asked,” Smith and his co-authors write. When asked about wrong or evil, they could generally agree that rape and murder are wrong. But, aside from these extreme cases, moral thinking didn’t enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner. “I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” is how one interviewee put it.
The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste. “It’s personal,” the respondents typically said. “It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say?”
Rejecting blind deference to authority, many of the young people have gone off to the other extreme: “I would do what I thought made me happy or how I felt. I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.”
Many were quick to talk about their moral feelings but hesitant to link these feelings to any broader thinking about a shared moral framework or obligation. As one put it, “I mean, I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it. But different people feel different ways, so I couldn’t speak on behalf of anyone else as to what’s right and wrong.”
Smith and company found an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism — of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Again, this doesn’t mean that America’s young people are immoral. Far from it. But, Smith and company emphasize, they have not been given the resources — by schools, institutions and families — to cultivate their moral intuitions, to think more broadly about moral obligations, to check behaviors that may be degrading. In this way, the study says more about adult America than youthful America.
So we raise children in a public school environment where there is no such thing as right or wrong EXCEPT making moral judgments on certain types of behaviors. We raise children in a polictical environment where there is no morally reprobate behavior EXCEPT Christian pronouncements upon morality. We raise children in an atmosphere were a prominent politician will not say that abortion is wrong because he doesn’t want to “push his morality upon society” (he didn’t mind foisting his morality on the rest of us when it came to gun control, taxes, global warming, or health care!), and this type of logic propells him to second highest office in the land. We raise children in the church where we are afraid of giving pronouncements in which we direct behavior because we are afraid of confusing the Law and the Gospel. So – we get articles like this.
I think that children have a moral compass. The problem is that it points inside. As one student said “I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.” Adam and Eve when they saw the fruit, David when he saw Bathseba, Judas when he saw whatever he saw, and guess what – all of us – have that moral compass and it is called original sin. I set my direction on what “feels right to me”. If that means murdering my unborn child I will do that. If it means forsaking my family I will do that. When the moral pronouncements come as they will from someone or something, the natural Law we feel in our hearts, and the moral Law written on two tables of stone will drive us to repent or submerge or guilt and “recruit” more people to “our side”. In a world where political parties are not only ready to jump on “our side” for votes and whole industries rise up to cater to our perversions, which way do you think most people will jump.
Paul laid it out in Romans 1. Before I am accused of picking on some particularly sensitive group, when you read this understand this is all of us and everyone a part from God and His only Son our Lord.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Oh well have a good day. If your not too depresed and want to read the article go to – “If It Feels Right”, by David Brooks