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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Morality and the Family

John Adams wrote in 1778:

“The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families… In vain are Schools, Academies, and Universities instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years… The vices and examples of the parents cannot be concealed from the children. How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the Sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their mothers live in habitual infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant infidelity to their mothers?”

A Trimming of Principles

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

You may go to hell as well dressed in the ‘garnishings of morality’ as in the ‘rags of immorality’. It is still the old nature – wash it, and cleanse it, and bind it, and curb it, and bridle it – it is still the old fallen nature, and cannot understand spiritual things. (“The Heart – A Den of Evil” No. 732)

The Necessity Of Religious Principle

From George Washington’s Farewell Address:

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. (October 19, 1796)

If You Exclude Religious Principle, Morality Will Fail!

In the words of George Washington:

Of all the dispositions and habits which least to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the opposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. (George Washington Farewell Address, September 19, 1796)

John Adams On The Principles Of Liberty

 

John-Adams-1780

John Adams wrote the following letter to Zabdiel Adams on June 1, 1776:

Statesmen by dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

John MacArthur On Evolution And Morality

John MacArthur

Quoting John MacArthur:

Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences. (The Battle for the Beginning, W Publishing Group, 2001, p. 24)

If We Are Just Matter, How Should We Then Live?

Gavin Beers

Rev. Gavin Beers encourages us here to think clearly and logically about the philosophy of materialism which is so prevalent among men today. If you accept this philosophy then men are no more than beasts who instinctively react to only their comfort or discomfort. In this excerpt Beers writes:

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7)

I ask you, is matter all there is in the universe? That’s a question. A lot of blank looks! But as you think about the question, ask yourself, what is that thought that you are thinking? Is it more than the random movement of molecules in the brain? I stand up here and look down from time-to-time at these notes and convey thoughts that are in my mind through words. Yes there is the physical projection of the voice; there are vibrations in the air. Your little eardrum is sensitive to those vibrations. You are translating the sound waves. My thoughts are ultimately provoking your thoughts, even if your thoughts are: What on earth has he been talking about for the last ten minutes? We are thinking. Are our thoughts more than matter? If I wanted to convince you of something and matter is all that exists, then I should get some chemical that does the work that I want it to do. Rather than stand up here and try to convince you by provoking your thoughts, I would do it in a materialistic way. So is matter all that exists, and matter all that matters? Think about your own thoughts and try to come to an answer to that question. . . .

So if matter is all that there is, how should we then live? What are the implications for life in such a world, when there is nothing more than matter?

First of all, if matter is all there is, what does it mean for morality, what does it mean for right and wrong? Sometimes we build our case and we come to a conclusion, other times we state the conclusion at the beginning for impact and that’s what I want to do here: if matter is all there is, what does it mean for morality, what does it mean for right and wrong? Very simply, there can be no right and there can be no wrong. If you meet a materialist he’ll want to try and talk in terms of right and wrong and the best thing that you can do is to immediately nail that. Cause him to see that there can be no right or wrong in his world view.

Does a mushroom know the difference between right and wrong? Nobody knows. No! Why does a mushroom not know the difference between right and wrong? Because, we might say, it’s not conscious. Ok. Does a fish know the difference between right and wrong? Everybody is starting to think now about the morality of fish. No! But the fish is conscious isn’t it? Ok. So it’s not to do with consciousness. Is a hurricane that wrecks a city and kills many people, a good thing or a bad thing? What do you think? You think it’s a bad thing? Why? In a materialistic world all we have in that hurricane is the rapid movement of air blowing a force against other bits of matter, those other bits of matter that we have shaped into houses fall upon other bits of matter, which are you and me, and we die. But it’s just the random, rapid movement of matter. Why in a materialistic world view do we conclude that that is a good thing or a bad thing? It’s just a thing.

Well then, is it morally wrong for a lion to kill and eat a wildebeest? Is it? No! Why? Because that’s what it does. It needs to eat. The wildebeest is tasty, so it eats the wildebeest. But, would it be morally wrong for me to kill you, and eat you? Yes! Why? Did we not evolve from mushrooms, through lions or something? Why is it that we at the top of the tree in this evolutionary world view, why is it that we are the only ones that have morality? There is absolutely no basis for it in a materialistic world. We are just like mushrooms, we are a bit more conscious, a bit more sophisticated – granted; but ultimately, we are reduced down to the same kind of dignity and the same kind of morality. If you desire to be consistent with the materialist view of the world, the first thing you need to do is throw out the idea of right and wrong for this reason: chemicals and a random interaction of atoms do not know anything cause right and wrong. In nature, says Darwin, the strongest or the fittest wins; that’s the law. The hurricane destroys the house, the house is heavier than the man, it squashes the man; the lion eats the wildebeest, but if he gets it wrong and jumps into a crowd of twelve wildebeest and they tear into him, then the lion is killed by the wildebeest. That’s the morality of the materialistic world view. (“Materialism: Is Matter all that Matters?”)

Relativism And Moral Truth

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”

Ideas Have Consequences!

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:36-38)

Ideas have consequences. If you accept relativism as a moral code, then you really can have no system of morality. The philosophy of relativism demands that every man has the right to do what he defines as right for himself. This world view believes everything is permissible and nothing is impermissible. The Old Testament tells us there were times like this in ancient Israel: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21, 25). This text defines moral relativism: right and wrong is what you choose it to be; morality comes from within you.

If there is no absolute standard of right or wrong then there is no concept of guilt. This is why relativism is so popular today. If there is guilt, then there is responsibility. Guilt implies an absolute standard of right and wrong. This is what the culture today is seeking to avoid.

The very people in our culture who hold to this position, however, still try to hold on to morality for self-protection. They even want other people to be accountable for their actions. If nothing is absolutely true or right, if nothing is absolutely wrong, how can anything be condemned? Therefore, if relativism prevails, morality dies. If there is nothing true beyond what you will to be, there is no objective right or wrong to provide a moral compass for your life. Some people look at this belief as something that frees them from the law of the Bible. In reality, however, it locks them in a dark prison of opposing truths which lead to insanity. Without God’s absolute objective truth to hang on to, all is lost.

Relativism kills meaning and with it, motivation. Why? It is because there can be no real meaning in anything you do. This, in turn, leads to the addiction of escapism in order to avoid reality. We find escapism in things like alcoholism and drugs.

People do not have anything to live for. Their lives are filled with emptiness, anguish and despair. There is no point to this life, so why live? The philosophy of relativism is destroying our culture and, as Christians, we need to understand it and oppose it.

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