Northern Hills Preacher

The Inconvenience of Morality

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Lately if you’ve been keeping up with the news you may have heard about a series of videos taken undercover that show Planned Parenthood workers talk about the details of abortions, & how they can provide organ specimens for various causes. I would have included a link to it but I couldn’t find an objective article- just type in “Planned Parenthood Videos” into Google and you’ll find all you can handle. The videos reportedly show workers talking matter-of-factly about aborted fetuses, one even exclaiming “It was a twin” while examining a specimen.

I say reportedly because I’ll admit, I have not watched any of the five videos. Nor do I intend to. You see,  I have three marvelous, beautiful children. Having watched my wife’s stomach begin to grow and swell with the baby within, eventually seeing kicks and shakes from hiccups, marveling that this bump did indeed have a baby in it, and being floored on the day of their birth, seeing this little person emerge into the world, holding them, kissing their perfectly formed cheeks, counting their 10 fingers and 10 toes, and trying to make the psychological jump that what I had been seeing, feeling, & praying over for 9 months in my wife’s tummy was now in the world…having seen that I personally cannot even imagine abortion because I always picture my newborn children’s faces being destroyed, them crying out in the womb as foreign objects come to take away their existence, and me never getting to hold them. For me personally this is even stronger as my wife & I have experienced two miscarriages in our marriage- the joy & elation of new life & possibility, gone.

Every time I hear or think of the process of abortion I think of my children that I do have, and then I think of my two angel babies bouncing on God’s knees as He tells them stories of beyond eternity, & as they help Him paint the morning sunrises & evening sunsets, & molds the clouds across the earth. I don’t know if this is how heaven works, but its what I imagine, and it brings me comfort. I can only imagine what parents of children who have been born & have passed on, whatever the circumstances, go through, & my heart goes out to them.

But this isn’t a post about death or loss. This isn’t a post about Planned Parenthood. This isn’t even a post about abortion. This is a post about preeminence.

About whaaaaaaaat?

Preeminence is the noun form, meaning the state or character of being preeminent, which is an adjective meaning superior, surpassing, or being eminent (high in rank or prominent) above or before others. At least that’s what dictionary.com says that’s what it means, but that doesn’t really tell you what it means, does it?

Let’s switch gears & ask a very simple question- what is morality? Simple, but not at all simplistic. I’ll warn you, this is a loaded question, though not necessarily loaded by me.

Our world & society tends to ask what is morality to you. Particularly in America there is pride on being able to define your own set of moral grounds & defend them. There are really two kinds of morality within America at least- majority morality & individual morality. Majority morality is what we think of as laws- a group of people given the power to do so by another group of people. They think of an idea, go “Yes, this is a good idea that people should or shouldn’t do this,” and they pass a law saying so. Thus as good law-abiding citizens we are expected to obey such laws as the moral thing to do. Speed limits for example, or city building or zoning codes. This actually matters because majority morality can be different in different places- chewing gum, or naming your kid a name not on a list for example is against the majority morality, or put simply laws, of other places, but perfectly fine in the USA.

Individual morality is just what it sounds like- deciding what is & isn’t right or wrong for you based (or not) on the majority morality. For example, it’s perfectly legal for me to take the lady who bumped my car a few weeks ago to court for not having insurance, but (again personally) it’s against my individual morality to make such a big deal out of it, not to mention it’s just a hassle. Maybe this is seen in small ways, like whether you help people who are begging for money on the side of the street, or if you help the little old lady across the road. Small, but we all have certain aspects of individual morality that decides our every day actions. Often times this is or has been shaped by the majority- it’s ingrained in many people not to speed, so then if you start driving on the German autobahn where there are no speed limits in some sections there’s a good chance a lot of people still wouldn’t go too fast. Probably just as many people who would put the pedal to the metal because their individual morality isn’t quite as strong on that point.

What about killing someone? (Whoa, that shifted fast!) Why do you not go out right now and kill that someone who just drives you crazy? Is it because of the majority or your individual morality that you don’t? Probably yes (I hope for my sake.) But there are people who have no problem with it- we call them serial killers, & often times there is a disorder involved. Most “civilized” societies universally agree that killing someone, murder, is bad, therefore that is reflected in the majority’s morality as well as individuals. Here’s a question- what if the majority decided murder, which by definition is an illegal killing, was OK?

One may think “That’ll never happen,” and hopefully they’re right, but what about other things that were at one time or another “universally” thought of as legal or moral by the majority? How about majority condoned slavery, and I’m not just talking about a certain ethnicity over another, but the concept as a whole. Slavery was practiced as a way of life for thousands of years, with the majority thinking it a good and moral thing. Just in the USA it took until 1861 for there to be a majority issue about it, the Civil War, & the ramifications from that were still not defined as equal by the majority until the 1960s. There are still slaves around the world today, but the majority now thinks it’s immoral. Throughout history though, there were individuals who thought that slavery was always immoral & fought to be heard. The question is- who was right when? When the majority ruled it moral, & the individual immoral, who was correct, especially in light that the majority eventually came to believe as the individual always had? Or was the individual wrong at the time the majority deemed it moral, & was only correct after the majority said they were?

We’re seeing this same issue in things like homosexual relationships & abortion today. The majority morality has approved while individual moralities do not. Who is correct, who is not? Or is it again a question of when?

C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity  (everyone should be forced to read C.S. Lewis along with G.K. Chesterton…if they want to) talks about this moral dilemma in the very first chapter, and he says things much better than I, thus I shall not try to paraphrase him. He says

“You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked. But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining “It’s not fair” before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter, but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong— in other words, if there is no Law of Nature—what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else? It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.”

Now that’s taken out of context, and you really should go and read the whole book, you won’t regret it. What he’s saying is that somewhere deep down in the crevasses of humanity people are aware of a true Right & Wrong, a Morality if you will that somehow guides them. He says people will get it wrong, and he admits there are exceptions across the board, but overall there must be some sense of truly universal Morality or people wouldn’t agree on anything.

This is an interesting thought. Why do we believe that killing someone is bad? Because it’s a hassle, or because we feel we ought not to, or because the law says it’s bad? Why does someone believe in the idea of homosexual marriage is a good thing, but the next someone thinks not? Which is correct? Well majority morality says depending on the time frame is when either have been wrong or right at a given time. 50 years ago the one who says it’s a bad thing was “correct”, but now the one who says it’s a good thing is correct. This raises another interesting question- does morality shift & change?

If the answer is yes, then there is no true morality is there? Only a majority morality that seems to ignore the individual for the sake of what seems right in this section of history. One day indeed we will be able to metaphorically say 2+2= 5 because the majority morality says that is good. If the answer is no, then we are admitting there is one true morality beyond the majority & individual. If you’re confused, keep reading!

Morality, especially how we’ve defined it in the sense of the majority, is really about authority. Specifically, it is the authority that whatever entity that has it has over your life. The government, who regulates the speed limits, has authority over you in that context in the form of police, who have been given authority to enforce the speed limit. We follow this authority because we don’t want the consequences of authority upon us when we’ve broken the law. But when dealing the Morality of universal implications, what is your authority?

Well it must begin with how you view the universe we live in to have come about, which then affects your view of morality. I was going to go through a list of different religions, and feel free to look up the intricacies of different ones yourself (I may in a future post) but the thing is most lines of thought that ascribe to a higher power, & especially ones that believe that we are created by that higher power believe that it is not right to extinguish any life that we are not the authority of. Meaning, if a higher power created us, I have no right to take your life from you, and if I do it’s a bad thing that I’ll be punished for. Eastern religions that believe in being at peace & harmony with all things call this karma, or “what goes around comes around.” There are exceptions in a sense- some religions call for the death of all those who don’t subscribe to that particular religion, but life within the religion itself is still valued.

This is in contrast to someone who doesn’t believe in a higher power. Evolutionists believe that we all came from the first primordial ooze, and evolved through animals to be what we are now, and morality is one what we’ve come up with to govern ourselves. We ought not to kill because if everyone did it would cease the population growth, not to mention we see ourselves as a higher form of life. The thing is with this view is that there is no true value of life. We evolved by happenstance and the only value placed on life is the value that we place there ourselves, or a lack of value. It is all determined by the majority’s authority & morality, or lack there-of. There is no purpose of life but to simply live, which makes life only as valuable as you deem it to be, or as the majority thinks it ought to be. We saw this in slavery, when an ethnicity was deemed inferior by a more powerful majority, and in Nazi Germany, when Hitler, by his own authority, deemed those who were and weren’t the master race and sought to kill all others. Life which has no value beyond what people place on it lives in danger of easily being stripped of itself. Whether we realize it or not, if we were to deem an ethnicity inferior and enslave them, we are then defining their purpose, & by that their value. You see, purpose is what defines value as given by authority. Purpose is what’s truly debated when it comes to when life begins- is it purposed for life or purposed for a test tube? Life is given value by purpose. Purpose is the true root wonder of creation, & a question all people ask themselves at one point or another.

I’d like to bring your attention to a passage from the book of Colossians. Specifically to chapter 1, verse 16. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Him in this case is referring to Jesus Christ, who verse 15 just got done calling the image of the invisible God, & the firstborn of all creation. There’s a lot implied there, but I want to focus on the word I mentioned earlier, preeminence. OK, you got me, its not in this passage, but it is two verses later in verse 18-  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. Look at what these two passages are saying, but go backwards. Jesus is to be the authority, the superior, the higher, in everything, because He is the beginning, the head of those who believe in Him. Check this out- ALL THINGS were created through Him and for Him- stop right there. 

All things. There’s no way around this one- all things. The rock over there- yep. The pesky little mosquito? I don’t know why, but yep. All things. It means what it says. And the beginning of the verse backs it up- authorities, rulers, dominions, thrones- every one of these are SUPPOSED to be serving Jesus Christ. Invisible or visible- everything we can see & everything we can’t see, still made through and for Jesus. In heaven and on earth- well, what else really is there now? Perhaps though the most amazing part of this passage may be the very beginning of it. For by Him ALL THINGS were created.

Put these together and you read all things, EVERYWHERE, EVERYONE, were created by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus, so that in all things He may be the authority, the superior, the highest, simply THE. The Bible expounds this idea, but this passage encompasses the sum of existence as defined by Jehovah God. All things, which include you and me and all other created things, are to live with Jesus as our authority because He created us through Himself for Himself. The more perceptive of you may have noticed I skipped verse 17, but I won’t now. If what I’ve talked about isn’t amazing enough, And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Pay attention to the end of that- in Jesus all things hold together. I don’t know if that means on a molecular level Jesus is there holding our atoms together, but it might, because remember this says He created us to. He created us through Himself for Himself and holds everything together. I think this passage is enough to go on, but the beauty of the Bible is that it tells us what we’re expected to do, it explains what we need to know about God’s morality, & it shows us the way of fulfilling our purpose.

I mentioned purpose is value defined by authority. If Jesus created all things, then His definition creates whatever value He gives it. If our purpose is to make Jesus the preeminence in our life, then our value is built-in. We were valuable enough to create, we are valuable enough to hold together, & He holds us valuable enough to be the head of those who believe, after deeming us valuable enough to make it possible by the cross. Read Philippians 2 sometime and tell me that whoever Jesus did that for He doesn’t hold valuable. SPOILER ALERT- you can’t do it. The Authority deems His creation valuable to have created, therefore our purpose is then to submit to that authority and by doing so reflect that value on all things that Christ has created.

What I’ve just explained is the answer to the question “What is the purpose of life? Why am I here?” and so very many people don’t understand it, or have even heard about it. It is my deepest belief that if we as a people, as a nation, as a world, could understand this and take it to heart, these morality issues would be easily dealt with.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, we wouldn’t murder the unborn.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, the question of what to do with the elderly or disabled would be easily handled.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, we wouldn’t kill just because the majority morality says not to, nor even that we think we ought not to, but because we would understand the value we have to each other and to our God.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, there would be no question of whether the majority or the individual is correct when debating moral issues, but simply a reference back to what Morality is and always has been.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, we would understand relationships, how, what they’re supposed to be & why they can’t be what they ought not to be.

If we truly understood the meaning of life from He who is preeminent, we would know when we’re on the wrong track as a society and know how & when to get back on.

If we truly understood the meaning of life, imagine how much more fulfilled EVERYONE would be, walking around knowing their purpose, knowing they have value, & showing that to the rest of creation!

But we don’t. At all.

In America at least, Morality has at best become an inconvenience to those who don’t truly believe in it anyway. Possibly those who are picking through the parts of what should have been a flourishing life may wonder “Is this Right?” but then are reminded of the majority, which says it is legal, and cares not for a better definition than that. The inconvenience of Morality is that among those who claim their own or the majority’s there is no center, but only that which best suits the purpose at the time. 2+2 = 5 if 5 is the most convenient answer at the time. It’s merely an inconvenience that it really doesn’t equal 5, which we’ll deal with later, or change back when 5 wears out its welcome. It’s an inconvenience to those who do believe in Morality, & who believe in the preeminence, value & purpose of the true meaning of life, that the reflection of value is dimmed so quickly amid a world so caught up in doing what is legally moral defined by the majority that we have forgotten its very definition along with the One who defined it.

So I won’t be watching the videos. I simply don’t think I could handle it first of all, but the reason is I simply have no desire to yet again see the blatant disregard & redefinition of value we have for what was never ours to define in the first place. I’ll rather go home tonight, see my beautiful daughter’s face in a picture & miss her while she’s visiting grandparents, kneel down & brace myself as my 2-year-old son runs full speed into my arms, and kiss the month-old cheeks of my newborn son as he probably searches for more of his mama’s milk. I’d rather do that, and marvel in humble, gracious thanks at what Jesus has done, is doing, & will do for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I’d rather pray for a world which needs redefining not in its own image, but in the image of the Preeminent. And I’d rather imagine all of the hundreds of thousands of aborted lives, never given a chance to be valued, bouncing on the knees of God, Jesus, & all the angels, laughing throughout eternity, secure in the embrace of He who created them, while Heaven looks on wondering just how much longer the majority will continue to try to abort Christ Himself from our world.

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