The New Morality

Today, our society is at war. The battlefront is not in Iraq—it is right here in North America. Under attack is our ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Under the cloak of freedom and tolerance we have abandoned a morality grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics replacing it with the concept of moral relativism. Moral relativism has many definitions, but each claims there is no objective basis for determining right or wrong. Rather, everyone can decide for themselves what is right or wrong based on their personal feelings, or cultural norms.

In essence, moral relativism gives each of us the right to say, “I’ll decide what’s right for me, and you decide what’s right for you.” Since there is no objective standard of morality, neither of us is wrong—we just have different beliefs: a neutral morality where nothing is universally right or wrong.

Is it Really Neutral?

Moral relativism is not a new concept; however, it has gained increasing popularity in recent years, especially in the post-secondary educational system. Clearly, this ‘new morality’ has major repercussions on the state of society in the West. At its extreme, moral relativism abandons even cultural norms as a basis for right or wrong and declares that morality is entirely a matter of personal choice.

Is it possible there are no universally right or wrong actions? What about rape, murder, or incest—does any society have the right to label these actions morally acceptable? Stop and think for a moment—imagine a society where morality is self-defined—what would it look like; what would be the consequences?
The New Morality
Unfortunately, we need not look far. Moral relativism is evident in every aspect of social culture. Its seductive pull allows any behaviour to be permissible, finding its way into our homes, entertainment, education systems, and even our laws.

Does Normal = Moral?

A recent report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute claims that 95% of Americans admit to engaging in sex prior to marriage. According to Lawrence Finer, the author of the report, the likelihood of Americans having premarital sex has remained stable since the 1950s. Finer concludes that premarital sex is, “normal behaviour for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades” and thus, is morally acceptable.

However, statistics are not the same as ethics—just because the majority of people engage in a particular behaviour, or hold a belief, does not make it morally correct. Beyond exposing the alleged normalization of premarital sexual behaviour, the objective of Finer’s report was to discredit the usefulness of government-sponsored abstinence programs. By citing that most Americans engage in premarital sex, Finer argues money should be spent on teaching teenagers about ‘safer sex,’ not wasted on abstinence programs.

If morality is truly relative, since statistically, most Americans are clearly okay with premarital sex, Finer would be correct and abstinence programs are indeed a waste of time. But what about the Judeo-Christian ethic? What does your Bible say? Is morality to be dictated by societal norms, or is there a higher standard that applies to every society, regardless of social trends? The truth is, there’s only one authority that can determine morality—the One who creates life, Almighty God!

In 1 Corinthians 6:18, we are told to “Flee fornication.” The New International Version Bible says “Flee from sexual immorality.” What are the sexual behaviours the Bible admonishes us to abstain from? The short list includes: incest, premarital and extramarital sex, rape, prostitution, orgies, lust, and homosexuality. The entire chapter of Leviticus 18 outlines many sexual sins we are to avoid. Unfortunately, the carnal nature of man leads to the perpetuation of these sins.

Nothing New Under the Sun

Moral relativism is obviously not the right place to turn for moral guidance; but today, many argue against Biblical morality saying it is ‘out dated’ and therefore not in touch with the realities of today’s world. Is this true, has the Bible lost its usefulness? Our society mistakenly believes that morality changes with time; unquestionably, this is far from the truth. As Solomon declares in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10:

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
‘See, this is new?’
It has already been in ancient times before us.” (NIV)

The immorality that underpinned societies of old continues to plague us today. There are no new sins to diminish the relevance of the Bible—it is as relevant today as it was when it was written. We are living in a time when right is wrong and wrong is right! As Paul beautifully illustrates in Romans 7, we need the Law of God to distinguish right from wrong. Without the Law, there can be no sin and moral relativism reigns.

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” (Romans 7:7, NIV)

Questions about morality never ask: Is there such a thing as right or wrong? Instead, the ‘relative’ question becomes: What is right and what is wrong?

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galations 5:19-21)

Hitler used Moral Relativism to Justify the Holocaust

The New MoralityHistory has taught us the consequences of a flexible morality. When Adolf Hitler commissioned the atrocious genocide of over 6 million Jews, he did so by redefining morality. Hitler drew many of his beliefs about Arian supremacy and the justification for the Holocaust by applying the principles of moral relativism adopted from the writings of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche is credited as one of the foremost philosophers in the field of morality and ethics. His concept of Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, meaning nothing, found in the word annihilate) is recognized in philosophy as a form of moral relativism. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, moral nihilism is the belief that nothing is morally wrong—anything goes, even torturing a baby for one’s own sadistic pleasure is permissible. It is not difficult to see how this form of moral relativism has led and will continue leading us to great evils.

If moral relativism were indeed valid, it would mean the Holocaust was justifiable because Hitler and his army made their crimes against humanity a social norm. It’s a morality that finds a way to justify the Holocaust! Is this really what we want taught in our schools, applied to our laws, or brought into our homes? God forbid! Every human society, no matter how primitive, can survive only by the establishment and enforcement of laws or codes of conduct. But, Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (NIV). For this reason, humanity is incapable of defining right and wrong. We need the Word of God to be our absolute moral guide.

Sin and Destruction

Throughout the Bible, we are repeatedly warned about the consequences of our immoral behaviour. Deciding for ourselves that sin is not sin, but some relative concept, does not free us from the reality that sin is sin. Accordingly, when Paul advised the church in Corinth about their behaviour, he went so far as to cast out the sexually immoral man from the congregation (1 Corinthians 5).

In Noah’s day, God destroyed the Earth by a flood because of widespread violence and immorality resulting from abandoning God’s laws (Genesis 6-7). The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were rampant with sexual immorality and as a result, God destroyed them with fire and brimstone (Genesis 19). How much more does today’s society warrant destruction for abandoning God’s ways in exchange for a self-determined morality? History is repeating itself.

Immorality comes with repercussions. Some of the consequences of sin are self-evident—adultery leads to divorce and broken families; sex outside of marriage often leads to terrible STDs that can cause infertility, cancer and death (see the article, The Consequences of Sin). So what is the solution?

Repent!

Apart from the physical consequences of immoral behaviour, the Bible warns that breaking God’s laws will lead to our ultimate destruction—if we don’t repent. The Book of Revelation gives a detailed account of the looming destruction of mankind. Satan’s wrath will unleash mind-boggling devastation upon the earth, but Jesus Christ is going to intervene for the elect’s sake.

Jesus warns, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

When we fail to repent and turn to God’s way, we are bringing destruction upon ourselves. How can we escape from this impending doom? Our Heavenly Father, in His great mercy, answered this question many times throughout the Scriptures:

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31, emphasis mine)

Jesus is coming soon and you too can escape God’s wrath by repenting.

Very few turn to the Holy Bible as their moral guide. Even many sects of Christianity disregard the moral teachings of the Bible in exchange for ‘feel-good’ Christianity. Preachers believe it’s better to draw the big crowds for Sunday service; to have parishioners feel good about themselves and to just ‘believe’ in Jesus, rather than follow His moral codes. However, the morality taught in the Bible is absolute. As Jesus declared during His Sermon on the Mount, not one bit of the Law of God has been abolished. God’s moral standards remain intact (Matthew 5:17-19).

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13)

The Word of God is the only moral compass that remains valid and true throughout the centuries. So, as you uncover the true morality, revealed only in the Bible, remember Jesus’ warning for the end of this age: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

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