Saturday, January 07, 2006

So what's the scoop on morality?

Be forewarned: Long post.
On MennoDiscuss, I ran a poll about the [a]morality of music. It got quite the response. Split right down the middle. It's gone for 3 pages so far, with most of the people actually posting seeming to lean toward amorality. But really, what is the proper response to this question.

Just last evening, I was pondering this, and came upon another question. What makes something moral? What validates something as a moral existence? The following thoughts are (probably very opinion-oriented) thoughts along that theme (please note, I'm open to being wrong, this is a very new concept for me):

First of all... morality gets it's origins as being something who's actions have consequence eternally. It is based on the Law of God, and particularly on the fact of his existence. This is key. In my opinion, the fact of Man's morality is brought about by the fact that he has a soul, and an eternal choice. If this is true, then nothing has moral consequence except for man, his actions and intents.

What then, is to be said about the morality of music? Paul said "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything." (I Corinth 6:12, ESV) Where does that leave morality? Somewhere between man's actions and his intents, in my humble opinion.

Let's take a look at the Ten Commandments.

I "You shall have no other gods before me.

What are we dealing with here? Certainly a moral issue. It deals with God, and Man's worship of the One True God. So man's devotion is moral.

II "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God..."

Pretty much dealing with the same issue: Man's Devotion.

III "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."

God is concerned with the way Man perceives God. God is concerned with His name. Probably the only example we can find where our words apparently REALLY matter. Unless I'm not interpreting this correctly.

IV "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God."

Here we deal with something that God ordained from Creation. An important thing to keep in mind. Still, we shouldn't be OVERLY "wise", or strict about it, as Jesus showed us during his life by healing on the Sabbath. Me, I'm like "Hey, what better day to show the power of God then the day we've set aside to give to God?"

V "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you."

Is this moral? It's not a "Though shalt not" verse, so is it really a moral command? I've experience the blessing of following this command, abandoning logical though, but this, in my opinion, is probably not a moral command. Feedback?

VI "You shall not murder."

Life, as the most sacred institution available to man, is just that: sacred. Period. Ultimately, and besides God, Life becomes "King". What else is there? What else is more foundational than life, aside from God Himself? So, we're not to take that away from anyone. Period.

VII "You shall not commit adultery."

Adultery is a direct violation of another God ordained institution: marriage. One man, one woman. Lust, on the other hand, while also a violation of this (if in a less direct way), it is also an issue of Man's devotion.

VIII "You shall not steal."

How is stealing a moral offense? After consulting a few friends, we've decided this relates to covetousness, which is a condition of selfishness. Selfishness=Godlessness.

IX "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

Don't lie. It's fundamental. God is all truth. Only truth. Lying is opposite of truth=Lying is opposite of God. It's fairly straightforward.

X "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."

Why aren't we allowed to want someone else's things? What's wrong with wanting? "Godliness is contentment with great gain." That's why. Contentment. What is more joyful than to be content with your lot in life?

All in all, the Ten Commandments are only a few examples of the ways we can morally offend God. It's only a simple list I was able to grab as an example, and it worked, I think. I'm interested in hearing feedback on these thoughts before I broadcast this further than... the world wide web. Ha! It doesn't get an more broadcast than that, does it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool Post. Just my thoughts maybe on a different track...If we follow the greatest commandment and second commandment Basically Love God and Love your Neighbor The other commandments will all fall in to place...You don't steal from someone you love, You Honor your parents because you love them, You quite obviously don't kill someone you love...So it does come down to Morals, Mans Devotion to God and to his fellow men. God as the creator of morals has given us his word, if we truly seek the truth we will find it. Get your morals from the Word, Not make your “morals” fit in the Word. God can use evil for good and the devil can use good things for evil...actually a lot of evil is twisted good. Can Music be evil? Can it be Good? Or is it the way the music is used? In my opinion it is the heart condition of the hearer and maker of the music. Music in its self...can be used, that’s it.

I need to work on my writing skills anyway....