I wanted to follow up on my last post with a few additional thoughts. I’m going to put these in bullet points as much as possible, since I am recovering from a minor knee surgery. I hope these condensed thoughts make sense.
- People who operate from a perspective of reducing suffering can often be easily identified. Their main argument to justify their behaviors is “It’s not hurting anyone, so what’s wrong with it?” We see this argument in many arenas today, from justifying telling white lies to more controversial topics, like abortion, homosexuality, and legalizing marijuana.
- Those who use the “It’s not hurting anyone” argument seem to operate from a morality that excuses their behavior as long as they do not negatively impact someone else; however, this conveniently denies the negative impact they are having on themselves.
- Morality, by definition, is acting in accord with a set of principles that distinguish between right and wrong. To state that the highest moral is to “not hurt anyone” creates a false and flimsy morality. It is false because it relies not on an objective standard of what right and wrong is but on the subjective interpretation of your fellow human being regarding whether or not they were hurt, in some way, by your words or actions. It is flimsy because in order for the morality to stand, the statement “I’m not hurting anyone” must be categorically true. In other words, the moral choice can only be supported if everyone is free from harm. But if even one person is harmed, then this system of thought falls in upon itself.
- This implosion is the expected conclusion of a morality that begins and ends with a creature that has both good and bad within it. Self-destruction is the natural result of a system at war with itself.
- This self-destructive nature of man is precisely what the people who are trying to move beyond sin acknowledge. That we are a doomed system and any hope for survival must come from eradicating the darkness within us, rather than redefining the darkness so that majority opinion suggests we are not hurting anyone. Such redefinitions only reinforce the delusion that sin does not exist and allows the self-destructive nature to continue.
- To eradicate the darkness within us, we must receive help outside of ourselves from a source who: 1) is perfect (it does no good to receive help from another self-destructing being) and 2) can provide more than a modified behavior plan. Rather, this perfect being must literally be able to change our nature to be like their perfect nature and provide a system of living that allows us to make clear, objective choices between right and wrong, so that we do not relapse into darkness while it remains around us in our lives. In other words, a morality that is not about removing suffering but about removing sin. A clear delineation between right and wrong that is both true and strong.
- This is what Jesus offers any person. Not the freedom from suffering, but the freedom within it. Because He has substituted Himself to take the penalty for your wrongs, so that you do not have to endure it, you receive a new, sinless nature. To protect you against the darkness around you He provides a new way of living to maintain and strengthen this nature, and allows you to be a beacon to others, so that they can go beyond sin as well. Both of these gifts, the new nature and the new morality, allow you to live within suffering freely, no longer a slave to it or to the trap of trying to escape it.
- Which do you desire? To go beyond suffering or beyond sin?