Thursday, March 13, 2008

Moral Responsibility?

The Christian Post has an article about a study where people shared their opinions regarding Behaviors Americans Consider 'Sinful'.


Americans overwhelmingly believe in the concept of sin whether they are religiously involved or not, according to a new Ellison Research study released Tuesday.

“Sin,” as defined by the research organization, is “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective.” The study questioned more than 1,000 American adult respondents whether they believe in such a thing as “sin” and then asked them whether 30 different behaviors were sinful.

Out the list of 30 behaviors, adultery was most often described as a sinful behavior by American respondents (81 percent).

Following adultery was racism (74 percent); using “hard” drugs such as cocaine, heroine, meth, LSD, etc. (65 percent); not saying anything if a cashier gives you too much change (63 percent); abortion (56 percent); and homosexual activity or sex (52 percent) rounded out the top five behaviors most often considered sinful by Americans.

Other behaviors with significant moral objections included reading or watching pornography (50 percent); swearing (46 percent); sex before marriage (45 percent); harming the environment as a consumer (41 percent); smoking marijuana (41 percent); getting drunk (41 percent); and not taking proper care of your body (35 percent).

Not surprisingly, religious people are much more likely to believe in sin, with 94 percent of Americans who regularly attend religious worship services saying they believe in the concept of sin. The number drops to 80 percent among those who do not attend service, although the percentage is still a large majority.

But perhaps more surprising is the differences in the belief of sin between political divides. Political conservatives (94 percent) believe there is such a thing as sin. The number remains high among moderates (89 percent) but then drops to 77 percent among political liberals.

The latest scandal involving N.Y. Governor (soon to be former Governor) Eliot Spitzer is a prime example of the "77 percent among political liberals" category. Despite being the lowest percentage number in the stats, even that amount sounds too high based on what we see as the lack of moral responsibility among the liberal crowd!

I listened to Spitzer's resignation speech yesterday. Although he mentioned his need to "atone" with his wife, children, and the rest of his family, I didn't hear him mention anything about God. Of course, I don't know the man, so I can only go by what I have read about him. But when he stated that "I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me," there was something sorely missing. There was no mention of being repentant for the pain and suffering he has inflicted upon not only the people he loves the most, but also the people whom he was supposed to be serving as governor. There wasn't any sense of asking for forgiveness. Did anyone else notice that?

AnkleBitingPundits noticed it. They thought that the speech was arrogant and "all about him." [Warning: some comments at the site are offensive.]

That may sound a bit harsh, but when you couple his lack of remorse, and lack of asking for forgiveness with the following statement, what does this reveal about the man?

I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings, our great glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Our "great glory" as human beings?? As a Christian, I am of the belief that all glory and honor belongs to God alone!

It appears to me that the man is just sorry that he got caught!

The fact that Spitzer was highly involved in prosecuting others for being involved with prostitution rings, and then actively (and shamefully!) participating in one himself is the height of hypocrisy! He spent $80,000.00 on prostitutes for his own lust-filled sexual gratification!

I feel so bad for his wife and children.

This morning, I was visiting a blog that I discovered via the Digg fan/friend system. A young man by the name of Craig Chamberlin has been writing several blog posts at My Wise Generation about how different philosophers, in the past, had warned that ethics would become obsolete and moral relativism would, unfortunately, lead the way.


“Ours is an age where ethics has become obsolete. It is superseded by science, deleted by philosophy and dismissed as emotive by psychology. It is drowned in compassion, evaporates into aesthetics and retreats before relativism. The usual moral distinctions between good and bad are simply drowned in a maudlin emotion in which we feel more sympathy for the murderer than for the murdered, for the adulterer than for the betrayed, and in which we have actually begun to believe that the real guilty party, the one who somehow caused it all, is the victim, and not the perpetrator of the crime.”

- Robert Fitch, Christianity and Crisis: A Journal of Opinion, 1959

Doesn't that describe today's culture?

I don't want to get too far off topic, but I will mention two things.

1. Abortion on demand and embryonic stem cell research are two glaringly obvious examples of where ethics are superseded by science, deleted by philosophy, and dismissed as emotive by psychology.

No one does anything wrong anymore! In fact, it is those who oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research (which destroys a living embryo that had the opportunity to be a human being)that are demonized by the pro-aborts and liberals who want us to believe "it's just a blob of cells."

2. Our nation was the victim of the horrible terrorist attack on 9/11/01. Yet, today, we have insane conspiracy theorists who want to place the blame on America for being so brutally attacked! Can you imagine if such a mentality was alive back in history when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese?

Craig discussed the fact that way back in 1909, philosopher G.K. Chesterton warned that relative morality is counter-productive.


The following is a vivid picture painted by the famous writer, poet and philosopher G.K. Chesterton. In it, he paints a portrait of the modern skeptic of his time who refuses to believe in an objective morality. There is much truth to be said even today about his words as our societies continue to embrace a relative philosophy of right and wrong.

"But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.

Craig insightfully adds:

It is amazing that even a decade later these ideas ring true. As individuals continue to argue that all of right and wrong are relative to perception, one sees the walls of right and wrong crumbling in America as every culture steers and fights for their own personal perceptions of right and wrong. We have forgotten that truth is objective, not relative, and that we need to use the wisdom of God while loving our neighbors as we love ourselves to drive our decisions.

Chapter Six in Lee Strobel's book, "The Case for the Real Jesus" has a section subtitled, "Whatever became of sin?"

Strobel and Paul Copan discuss that today, we live in a "blame-shifting culture." The psychology being promoted consists of the "it's not your fault" mentality which leads to human beings not taking responsibility for their behaviors and actions.

Strobel then asks Copan, "If there is no such thing as sin anymore, then people wouldn't need a savior like the Jesus of the Bible, would they?"


"One of the problems of relativism is that it denies there's any moral standard to shoot for," he replied. "Consequently, there's no failure in meeting that standard --so why, as you've asked, would you need a savior? Why do you need to be rescued? Why do you need redemption?

"But despite a lot of our therapeutic attempts to deal with human nature, the problem of evil in the human heart is something that keeps making realists of us. G.K. Chesterton talked about sin as being a fact as practical as potatoes. He said the doctrine of original sin is the only Christian doctrine that can be empirically verified --just look at the evening news on any given day. The Christian faith talks about human sinfulness and rebellion against God, which we readily see demonstrated throughout the world.

"If you take the therapeutic approach, then you're going to treat the killings at Columbine or the 9/11 terror attacks as being perpetrated by those who are aberrations. The killers failed to reach their full potential, which is why they were prompted to commit these atrocities. Some Eastern philosophies might say the problem is ignorance."

Copan shook his head. "Well, those are such hollow explanations for the depths of evil that exists around us," he said. "To simply gloss over these evil acts by using psychological categories is utterly inadequate to account for them. A better explanation is sin, which is being preoccupied with ourselves and doing things the way we want rather than as God wants, which produces destructive results.

I recall Pastor Miles stating that sin always has negative consequences. Someone will be hurt, or even die, as a result of it. The adage, "what you don't know can't hurt you" isn't true. Why? Because God knows. And, the Bible states that "your sin will be found out."

Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Copan goes on in the chapter and discusses that "until we bring sin back into our vocabulary, we're not going to take the depths of evil or our moral responsibilities - or God - seriously." He states, "we need to acknowledge our own guilt and humble ourselves in asking for forgiveness."

We need outside assistance to bridge the gap between Holy and Righteous God and our sinful selves. As Copan states, "we cannot paper over it."

We don't need therapy, we need the Great Physician - Jesus Christ - for only He can bring forgiveness to us when we repent of our sins. Only Jesus can bring healing. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us to live in holiness and righteousness - something that we cannot possibly do on our own.

Strobel asks:

"What's the biblical definition of sin?"

"The Westminster Confession talks about sin being the lack of conformity to, or any kind of transgression of, the law of God. Basically, it's a violation of the character of God. It's something that falls short of what God desires for us. I guess if you want to put it in contemporary jargon, sin is doing what you want. Sin is having attitudes that are self-absorbed and self-centered, rather than being God-centered."

The doctrine of original sin has a lot of explanatory power, but the fact that we are born with a self-centered tendency is not the whole story. There's also the story of redemption - that Christ has come to bring relief and resolution to a problem that, when left to ourselves, we simply aren't' able to address."

Next post: Christ's Cross - "Cosmic Child Abuse?"

HT: My Wise Generation

The Christian Post

Ankle Biting Pundits

1 comment:

Matt W. said...

About Spitzer's resignation speech, and watching his poor wife standing there with him, I couldn't help but think how differantly I would have had to have put it.

It would have gone something like this: "I am deeply sorry for what I have done, and I know that I need to resign... however, I cannot, because you see, at the moment that I am no longer Governor, I will lose the protection of the State Police, and at that time, my wife will kill me..." as well she should.