Can A Society Survive without Biblical Ethics?

That is a question worth asking whether you are a professing Christian or not. Just read some of the news feeds with that question in mind. Consider just two examples. The first is from the general society.

The second from the conservative church.

Recent investigations reveal that well-healed parents are cheating the college aid system by transferring guardianship of their children to family or friends of lesser means so the children can claim student aid. The cheating is technically legal but unethical. [See: The Wall Street Journal for August 15, 2019]

On the church side there are those who use the technical argument that they are within the bounds of their ordination vows while also proclaiming themselves to be other than heterosexual, but not practicing other than heterosexual behavior. They may be technically right, but certainly not ethical.

Without a universal moral base, a universal ethical system is not possible. Without a universal ethical system society will of necessity fragment. Narcissism will pit people against one another. Lawlessness will more and more prevail.

While the secular world grows increasingly hostile to the God of the Bible, what it offers to itself is increasing self-destruction. A universal ethical system must come from outside humanity. With all its faults, Western Civilization has produced the freedom and prosperity its people have experienced. At the heart of Western Civilization has been the Universal that gave rise to the various constitutions that recognized inalienable rights of every individual (though certainly not always operative practically) and an ethical system that provided (though often faltering) a framework of fairness, justice and opportunity.

Unfortunately, we now find ourselves in a decaying society. The universal ethic of the writer of Proverbs (chapters 1-10, with 1:7 as the center piece) is no longer the refrain of parents to children because parents have abandoned it for their own narcissistic ends. They not only do not teach it; they model the opposite.

As Billy Graham use to say, “The Bible says…” The Bible says that lawlessness will increase. For example, Matthew 24:12 where Jesus informs us, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” The Apostle John calls a spade a spade when he informs us, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4). Paul wrote, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered” (Romans 4:7) and later tells us that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purity a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).

Nothing displays lawlessness more than manipulating the law legally to justify unethical behavior. It is for this very thing that Jesus excoriated the Pharisees. Here is what he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mathew 23:27-28).

As a counselor who has spent more that 45 years helping people sort out their dysfunctional lives, I can tell you that I have observed this truth in the microcosm literally thousands of times. In any relationship, especially in a marriage and the family, people have no harmony because they have not Universal. Spouses go to church, pray at the dinner table and read Bible stories to the children and attend church on Sunday. Then when some difficulty arises rather than being ethical (truthful) they hide, sulk and feed their disappointment. Before they know it, the gal or guy in the next office looks attractive and the affair is underway. Why? Because, in reality, that spouse has not subscribed to the Universal ethics and is off the same page of the mate. This is often followed, at least n the beginning, by justifying the violation by the right to be happy. The same scenario plays out in business relationships and personal relationships. All are dependent upon a Universal ethic and the Universal ethic can only be established by a common commitment to God. The writer of Proverbs put it this, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”.

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