Monday, January 18, 2010

Worldview Class #2 - Part 2 - Cat Murder and Ethics

While teaching a Sunday morning class at church on the topic of various worldviews, I plan to share some of the more significant findings which our class is learning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.

In the last installment, I mentioned how critical it is that we recognize this fact – there is only one truth. To further emphasize the point, let’s consider a premise given by the New Age community – that truth is different for everyone. In this case, the New Agers will contend that each individual has the ability to “define their own truth”. So for one person, truth might be that cats are inherently ugly. Another person will contend that cats are preferable to any other living being, including humans. The New Age worldview will say that both are right, and that there are two truths in play (I recognize that this may be a tough example for some, considering how opinionated people tend to be about cats!).

Moving up the spectrum a bit, let’s leave the topic of feline physical beauty, and put into play whether it is ethical to kill a cat. This example may elicit a different answer from people, as many in our society are invested in the rights of animals. Others have no qualms about drowning cats. Again, New Age says that both viewpoints can be correct, as truth is different for each individual.

So, it’s time to take the example to the extreme. Consider the topic of premeditated human murder and where people might classify it – as an acceptable practice, or an act that must be punished by law? With very few exceptions, people will say it is the latter. The New Age movement will, in general, say that premeditated murder is inherently wrong and against societal norms. We can draw the following spectrum diagram:
There are two questions that beg to be asked here. Number one – where does an issue go from becoming one of personal preference (cat beauty) to one of ethics? And, number two – along the ethical point of the spectrum, where is the concept of multiple truths supplanted by one single truth for all? That is, can I definitively locate the gray arrows in an absolute place – for all people?

But, to do so requires the admission that somewhere there is an absolute truth. And the next question must be, “Where does that absolute truth come from?” The answer from the Christian worldview is obviously, “It comes from God”. But what is the answer offered by other worldviews?

This clearly causes a dilemma for other worldviews, who must struggle under the weight of a changing or arbitrary definition of right and wrong. It is much easier to believe that God set right and wrong in the hearts of men and that, for matters relating to ethics and not personal preference, there is a defined line of good and evil that pertains to all men. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)

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Back to Worldview Series #1


Anonymous said...

Wow Alan, you're a brave man. Confronting the new age, feel good, self indulgent, so called spiritualists of society must feel a bit like tilting at windmills. Very Quixote-esque (without the crazy part). I don't suppose you remember two teenagers trying to save a cat that they had seen attacked and severely injured by a dog. The two young men hurridly left their job site and rushed the cat to vet's house who lived in the neighborhood. Although in vain, it was the right thing to do. It was in those two boys hearts to act. No debate, no politics, no selfishness, no hesitation. I remember how sad it was to watch that poor cat die. You remember, don't you? There is so much more to truth than words. We can always find truth in the Bible. However, some people avoid truth in their hearts and actions. I know I'm kinda simple when it comes to this stuff but maybe righteousness is effortless truth and ethics are when you have to work at it.
Keep fighting the good fight!

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