The War In Ukraine

The War In Ukraine

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The above title is outlawed in Russia. Putin forbids my very use of the word “war.” Using that word could place a Russian reporter in the Gulag Archipelago for 15 years. They are not allowed to use “war,” “invasion,” or “assault” when describing their invasion of Ukraine.1

The New York Times reported last Friday, “Russia clamped down harder Friday on news and free speech than at any time in President Vladimir V. Putin’s 22 years in power, blocking access to Facebook and major foreign news outlets, and enacting a law to punish anyone spreading ‘false information’ about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison.”((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022))

For Putin, it is all about controlling the narrative within his authority. Those critical of his actions will quickly be labeled criminals and face severe consequences. 

Instead, the Kremlin says their invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation.” The Kremlin has also blocked access from within their country to major western news sources or popular social networks such as Facebook. Consequently, the general population within Russia will only hear the state-managed media.((Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022))

This war will not end quickly, and those who have orchestrated the invasion and war in Ukraine will be suffering economically. But what does that mean exactly? First off, you need to understand that Russia is an oligarchy. What is that exactly? It is a government-run by a few very powerful and very wealthy people. Just a handful of individuals manage and own all the property, businesses, trade, and energy. To give you an idea, Putin is worth about 100 billion. Yes, I wrote billion, not million.((Mohler, Albert. “Thursday, March 3, 2022.” Audio blog post. The Briefing. albertmohler.com, March 3, 2022. Web. March 8, 2022)) Give that some thought. One hundred billion. For example, if Putin lost 99% of his entire wealth, he would still have 1 billion left. Can you picture a billion dollars? For those who are math-challenged, think of it this way, 1 billion dollars is a thousand million dollars. Could you live on that? Could a millionaire be comfortable with that? How about someone with a hundred million? You see my point. 

These sanctions will undoubtedly hurt the oligarchy, but what is a 90% loss of their billions? It is a nuisance, maybe an aggravation, but I would not even go so far as to say a discomfort. These men and women in power will not suffer one iota from our sanctions. Who suffers? The people of Russia. Many of them may disagree with the invasion of Ukraine but, out of fear, will say nothing against it. Why? Because the Kremlin passed a law making criminals out of those who speak out against their military or government. Vyacheslav Volodin, a Kremlin official, said with the new law, “those who lied and made declarations discrediting our armed forces will be forced to suffer very harsh punishment.”2

The sanctions may place such a general stress on the populace they could rise up and overthrow the government, but they are already cowed by laws, restrictions, and threats of harsh punishments. Constraints on free speech are in full swing and will only get worse. Those who don’t toe the line will quickly disappear and be examples to those who might consider speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine. 

World view matters, and I can’t say this strongly enough. Countries like Russia and China don’t care about the people; those in power only care about gaining more power and influence even if it costs their people or innocents, including women and children. Culture is downstream of religion, and politics is downstream of culture, always. So what Russia is doing and what China is planning on doing has everything to do with politics, culture, and undoubtedly a religion, or lack thereof. Those in charge are answerable to no one, and they will do whatever they can to keep it that way. 

Ukraine will fall. Those who fought to keep their country independent will either be killed or whisked away to prisons in Siberia, never to be heard from again. If you think Russia will be satisfied with Ukraine, you are sadly mistaken. It may not happen in my lifetime, but the Russian oligarch will continue to make moves westward. 

And I predict within my lifetime, China will take Taiwan. And like Ukraine, we will not want to go to war for another country’s freedom. So like it or not, it is simply a delay of the inevitable. Ideas have consequences, and the ideas coming from Russia and China have world-impacting consequences. 

Does injustice diminish depending on the distance? For example, what would you do if you were to walk out your front door and see a man abusing a woman or child just a few feet away? I think most men and women would immediately step in and put a halt to it if they could. What if it was across the street? Does your responsibility for the abuse that you have knowledge of lessen because of the increased distance?

David French, a conservative Christian and political commentator wrote, 

“The true battle for our country isn’t political, it’s cultural and spiritual…Our nation can survive lost elections, but over the long term it cannot survive a decayed culture.”3

As Christians, we should recognize secular ideas regarding ethics. Secular moralities such as the ones we find from the Kremlin and China are established on the belief that their own ideas and moral codes (what is right and wrong) are merely based on their views. Nothing more than that. No higher universal standard or judge that we may call God. They recognize this and act on it. “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is not a final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”((Schaeffer, Francis. How Should We Then Live? Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976 p. 154))

You are mistaken if you think theology doesn’t matter. Theological arguments matter because they arrived in the form of jetliners on September 11. You are also mistaken if you believe Godless leaders are a better option. If you have heard and believed the party line that religion has been the cause of more deaths and wars than anything else, you’re deceived. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler, atheist dictators, were responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century. 

The world war for worldviews is just beginning. What side are you on?

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The War In Ukraine by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. AFP, “Russia Bans Media Outlets from Using Words’ War,’ ‘Invasion.’ The Moscow Times, February 26, 2022, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/02/26/russia-bans-media-outlets-from-using-words-war-invasion-a76605. March 8, 2022 []
  2. Troianovski, Anton. “Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage.” New York Times, March 4, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/world/europe/russia-censorship-media-crackdown.html. March 8, 2022 []
  3. Friedersdorf, Conor. “How Breitbart Destroyed Andrew Breitbart’sLegacy.” The Atlantic, 14, Nov. 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/how-breitbart-destroyed-andrew-breitbarts-legacy/545807/. 9 March 2022 []
That’s Not Fair!

That’s Not Fair!

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Above Image by simisi1 from Pixabay

How many of you remember Robin William’s voice as the Genie in Disney’s animation movie ‘Aladdin? That animation movie rocked, and Robin William stole the show! William’s agreed to do the voice at a cut-rate of $75,000 because he wanted to leave something for his kids and grandkids. Usually, he would have been paid millions for his efforts, but his paternal instincts ruled the day, and he signed the contract for a fraction of what he would typically charge.

Then the unexpected happened. It was a blockbuster hit, sales rocketed, and it made over 500 million! Everyone was shocked, including Williams. In the following weeks, Williams and his agent cried foul. During interviews, William’s explained it was not the money he was angry about but the perceived unfairness. Notice Williams did not complain till Aladdin became a blockbuster hit, then it was all unfair((Voss, Chris. “Bend Their Reality.” Never Split The Difference, Penguin Random House, 2016, pgs 122-123))

Chris Voss, a retired high-level negotiator for the FBI, says the most powerful word in Negotiations is ‘fair.’ If you time the ‘fair’ bomb accurately and wisely, it is impressive how it can change the directions of conversations.

Disney pointed out to Robin Williams that he signed the contract and really should not be complaining. It was not only perfectly legal but fair. Nevertheless, in an effort to keep William’s happy, they sent him a Picasso painting worth around $1 million((Voss, Chris. “Bend Their Reality.” Never Split The Difference, Penguin Random House, 2016, pgs 122-123))

In the last few years, I have heard, “That’s not fair!” more times than I can count. More often than not, it comes from one of my 5th-grade boys who have an overgrown competitive gene. We might be playing a game in class or out on the field, and I will adjust to the sides to balance the teams. One boy, in particular (I will call him George, names have been changed to protect the innocent), would always complain if my attempt to balance the teams was not in his favor. After patiently listening to his grievances, I would, without explanation, begin to adjust the teams further. He was a very bright young man, and after just a couple of adjustments, he recognized the pattern, that his complaints made matters worse. In a few short weeks, when I would ask if the teams were ‘fair’ inevitability, I would hear, “They are perfect Mr. Glazier! Don’t change a thing!”

Where do we get the idea of fairness? What about life is supposed to be fair? Is it fair that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes $45 million per season((Haislop, Tadd. “The NFL’s highest-paid players in 2020, from Patrick Mahomes to Jalen Ramsey” Sporting News, sportingnews.com, 9 Sept. 2020, https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-highest-paid-players-2020-patrick-mahomes/s2560yib2yvwzjdlsfy10ox2)) and army captains start out at $53,000 a year?((“United States Army -0-3 Captain.” FederalPay, federalpay.org, N.D., https://www.federalpay.org/military/army/captain)) Is it fair that the average major league baseball player makes over 4 million a year((AP News. “Average MLB salary at $4.17 million, down 4.8% from 2019.” ESPN.com, ESPN, 16 April, 2021, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31270164/average-mlb-salary-417-million-48-2019)) and the average cal fire firefighter makes $74,000 a year?((Sokanu. “Firefighter salary in California.” Career Explorer, careerexplorer.com, N.D. https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/firefighter/salary/california/))

Is life fair? Not even close. Ecclesiastes 9:11

When we have discussions about morality and ethics, we often imply things ‘ought’ to be a certain way. And when they’re not, we are all quick to cry foul and point out the unfairness to anyone who will listen.

As much as some might like to think ‘fairness’ is a courtesy of the evolutionary process, it can’t be true. There is nothing fair in the survival of the fittest with the ultimate aim of human flourishing.

Rules come from those in authority, and one of the objectives of regulations is to place things in a specific order so reality will operate in a particular fashion. The evolutionary processes don’t care about justice, truth, honor, or equity. Evolution can’t and never will put obligations on our behavior towards others. If anything, evolution tells us to put ourselves before others, be first in line for the goods, and never-ever stand in harm’s way for another.

Christian apologist Frank Turek points out, “Morality and biology are in different categories. You can’t explain an immaterial moral law by a material, biological process. Justice is not made of molecules. Furthermore, moral laws are prescriptive and come from authoritative personal agents. Biological processes are descriptive and have no authority to tell you what to do. How could a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ‘ought’ to behave?”((Turek, Frank. “Morality.” Stealing From God, NavPress, 2014, pgs 100-101))

One of the illusions of the modern world and culture is we are in control. Students have become even more susceptible to this belief as technology has been placed at their fingertips. Why bother asking mom or dad when they can just Google it or ask Siri? They have answers to just about anything they can ask. “…kids are tempted to confuse information with knowledge and completely forgo the pursuit of wisdom… having all the answers at their fingertips teaches students that teachers aren’t necessary. Gray hair used to indicate wisdom; now it identifies someone who is out of touch.”((Stonestreet, John. Kunkle, Brett. “Being Alone Together.” A Practical Guide To Culture, David C Cook, 2017, pgs 124-125))

Just Google “where does fairness come from,” and all the top selections will fall under the categories of social justice, evolution, environment, psychology, and economics. Not one will attribute the sense of fairness to God but instead learned evolutionary behavior. Yet, every one of those counterexamples fails. They don’t realize that without a personal agent, an authority that guides us in how things ought to be, fairness is determined by whoever controls the Genie in the bottle. Proverbs 17:15

That’s Not Fair

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How many of you remember Robin William’s voice as the Genie in Disney’s animation movie ‘Aladdin? That animation movie was a winner and Robin William stole the show! William’s agreed to do the voice at a cut-rate of $75,000 because he wanted to leave something for his kids and grandkids. Usually he would have been paid millions for his efforts, but his paternal instincts ruled the day and he signed the contract for a fraction of what he would typically charge. 

Then the unexpected happened. It was a blockbuster hit, sales rocketed and it made over 500 million! Everyone was shocked, including Williams. In the following weeks, Williams and his agent cried foul. During interviews, William’s explained it was not the money he was angry about, but the perceived unfairness. Notice Williams did not complain till Aladdin became a blockbuster hit, then it was all unfair.1 Matthew 20:13-15

Chris Voss, a retired high-level negotiator for the FBI, says the most powerful word in Negotiations is ‘fair.’ If you time the ‘fair’ bomb accurately and wisely, it is impressive how it can change the directions of conversations. 

Disney pointed out to Robin Williams that he signed the contract and really should not be complaining. Not only was it perfectly legal, but fair. Nevertheless, in an effort to keep William’s happy, they sent him a Picasso painting worth around $1 million.1

In the last few years I have heard, “That’s not fair!” more times than I can count. More often than not, it comes from one of my 5th-grade boys who have an overgrown competitive gene. We might be playing a game in class or out on the field, and I will adjust to the sides to balance the teams. One boy, in particular, I will call him George, (names have been changed to protect the innocent), would always complain if my attempt to balance the teams was not in his favor. After patiently listening to his grievances, I would, without explanation, begin to adjust the teams further. He was a very bright young man, and after just a couple of adjustments, he recognized the pattern, that his complaints made matters worse. In a few short weeks when I would ask if the teams were ‘fair’ inevitability, I would hear, “They are perfect Mr. Glazier! Don’t change a thing!”

Where do we get the idea of fairness? What about life is supposed to be fair? Is it fair that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes $45 million per season2 and army captains start out at $53,000 a year?3 Is it fair that the average major league baseball player makes over 4 million a year4 and the average cal fire firefighter makes $74,000 a year?5 

Is life fair? Not even close. Ecclesiastes 9:11

When we have discussions about Morality and ethics, we often imply things ‘ought’ to be a certain way. And when they’re not, we are all quick to cry foul and point out the unfairness to anyone who will listen. 

As much as some might like to think ‘fairness’ is a courtesy of the evolutionary process, it can’t be true. There is nothing fair in the survival of the fittest with the ultimate aim of human flourishing.

Rules come from those in authority, and one of the objectives of rules is to place things in a certain order so reality will operate in a particular fashion. The evolutionary processes don’t care about justice, truth, honor, or equity. Evolution can’t and never will put obligations on our behavior towards others. If anything, evolution tells us to put ourselves before others, be first in line for the goods, and never-ever stand in harm’s way for another. Luke 21:1-4

Christian apologist Frank Turek points out, “Morality and biology are in different categories. You can’t explain an immaterial moral law by a material biological process. Justice is not made of molecules. Furthermore, moral laws are prescriptive and come from authoritative personal agents. Biological processes are descriptive and have no authority to tell you what to do. How could a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ‘ought’ to behave?”6

One of the illusions of the modern world and culture is, we are in control. Students have become even more susceptible to this belief as technology has been placed at their fingertips. Why bother asking mom or dad when they can just Google it or ask Siri? They have answers to just about anything they can ask. “…kids are tempted to confuse information with knowledge and completely forgo the pursuit of wisdom… having all the answers at their fingertips teaches students that teachers aren’t necessary. Gray hair used to indicate wisdom. Now it identifies someone who is out of touch.”7 

Just Google “where does fairness come from,” and all the top selections will fall under the categories of social justice, evolution, environment, psychology, and economics. Not one will attribute the sense of fairness to God, but rather learned evolutionary behavior or some form of biological advantage. Yet, every one of those counterexamples fails. They don’t realize that without a personal agent, (an authority that guides us in how things ought to be) fairness is simply determined by the desires of who controls the Genie in the bottle. Acts 20:35 Proverbs 17:15


That’s Not Fair by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Voss, Chris. “Bend Their Reality.” Never Split The Difference, Penguin Random House, 2016, pgs 122-123 [] []
  2. Haislop, Tadd. “The NFL’s highest-paid players in 2020, from Patrick Mahomes to Jalen Ramsey” Sporting News, sportingnews.com, 9 Sept. 2020, https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-highest-paid-players-2020-patrick-mahomes/s2560yib2yvwzjdlsfy10ox2 []
  3. “United States Army -0-3 Captain.” FederalPay, federalpay.org, N.D., https://www.federalpay.org/military/army/captain []
  4. AP News. “Average MLB salary at $4.17 million, down 4.8% from 2019.” ESPN.com, ESPN, 16 April, 2021, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31270164/average-mlb-salary-417-million-48-2019 []
  5. Sokanu. “Firefighter salary in California.” Career Explorer, careerexplorer.com, N.D. https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/firefighter/salary/california/ []
  6. Turek, Frank. “Morality.” Stealing From God, NavPress, 2014, pgs 100-101 []
  7. Stonestreet, John. Kunkle, Brett. “Being Alone Together.” A Practical Guide To Culture, David C Cook, 2017, pgs 124-125 []

Throwing off the Shackles of Morality

Reading Time: 5 minutes “I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ I even read somewhere that the Chief justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself what apparently the Chief Justice couldn’t figure out for himself: that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any “reason” to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring — the strength of character — to throw off its shackles.”1 Sound familiar?

You may not know who said the above quote, and if you are under the age of 30 you might not have ever heard of him.

If all moral judgments were simply value judgments which are subjective, (subjective meaning the subject determines the value of the judgment), then no one would have to behave in a way that steers clear of social faux pas. Not only would political correctness be a thing of the past you could drive right into a crowd of people as George Weller did in 2003 killing ten people and injuring over 60 without fear of repercussions. Technically ruled as an accident, Weller showed little remorse to the carnage. Yet, if Weller felt it was the right thing to do, then no one could argue otherwise if he was just bold and daring because of his personal value judgments.

If this was true “all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective,” then we could not find any objective truths. Objective truths are truths that hold to everyone, regardless of where in the world you live, what culture you are part of, and what family raised you.

For example, we all know intuitively that torturing babies for fun is wicked and evil. Most everyone everywhere knows this is immoral. If someone is unable to recognize this, then something is disturbingly wrong with that individual. Just as we all know without conscious reasoning, you can’t fit a round peg in a square hole. And someone who could not recognize this unreasoned fact we again would know instinctively, something was wrong with them. Taking pleasure in harming helpless and innocent individuals is evil, and this is inherently obvious to anyone whose moral consciousness is functioning.

We have to have a standard in which to measure all moral truths, just like we do time. For instance, if we were to argue about what time it was because our watches were off by a couple of minutes we might debate who has the more expensive or accurate timepiece. But to settle the matter, we would measure the time with Greenwich England where all time is measured.

It is God’s nature that we measure against what is wrong, what is evil, what is corrupt. If we were to rely on measures within individuals then everyone would have their own tape measure, but the problem is everyone’s tape measure would have different dimensions. Someone’s inch might be an inch and a half, another might be 3 inches, yet another might be 2/3 of an inch. Who would be able to measure an accurate distance between two studs? We could not even hang a picture let alone build a house.

If morality is subjective, we lose our ability to complain about what goes on in the world. What would be wrong with North Korea’s missile tests? How could we agree to issue U.N. sanctions against Kim Jong Un if he is just using his own tape measure just like the rest of us? What would it matter if he launched nuclear weapons against South Korea or Japan? How could the death of one matter any more than the death of millions?

Josh and Sean McDowell talk address what this kind of thinking will bring us and where it comes from. “Historically, the brutality of war has included horrific torture of every kind, wholesale rape, and mass starvation…We say these terrible acts are inhumane and inhuman. But the reality is that they are thoroughly human – the result of peoples’ depraved nature. The human race has an unimaginable capacity for evil. In each of our hearts are the seeds of cruelty and corruption.”2

No matter how we phrase the words that make truth private property we lose the meaning of truth. Truth is authentic to everyone everywhere. It does not discern race, color, sex, or religion and the same can be said for inherent morals that are embedded in our very nature. Peter recognized this in Acts when he refused to be silent about the Good News and the teaching of Christ. Acts 5:29

If moral judgments are individual value judgments, they are nothing more than a fashion statement. We simply pick and choose what is attractive to us, useful to us as it walks down the runway like models displaying the latest gowns created by fashion designers. One social analyst put it this way, “However lofty and vaguely poetic such words may seem, the cold fact is that truth cannot become private property without losing its whole meaning.3 Isaiah 5:20

There are absolute truths and if someone ever says to you that there is no such thing as absolute truth, you can ask them if that statement is an absolute truth. Professor Theophilus recognized this and in his book, Ask Me Anything he wrote, “Frankly, absolutes are easy to find…’Do not commit adultery, Do not fornicate, Honor your parents, Love God, Love your neighbor.’ None of these have exceptions. If they will satisfy your friends is another matter. That depends on whether they are just looking for truth or excuses!”4

The individual who threw off the shackles in the initial quote up above was Ted Bundy. He was a serial killer in the 1970’s who had raped and murdered over 30 women. He justified his actions by claiming morality is subjective and not bound by any rules or laws, be it from God or man. 

God created us, and we are bound to His standards. His standards are based on His unchanging character. He is not swayed by popular opinion, cultural shifts, or the latest fashion designers. 1 Samuel 16:7, Matthew 9:4. He pierces to the heart and looks at our inner character and motives.

 

Sources:
1. Mulnix, Jennifer. “The Happy Life and Moral Life.” Happy Lives, Good Lives: A Philosophical Examination[i], Broadview Press, 2015, pp 52.
2. McDowell, Josh. McDowell, Sean. “What Causes People to Sin Today?” 77 FAQs About God And The Bible[i], Harvest House, pp 54.
3. Groothuis, Douglas. “Race, Gender & Postmodernism.” Truth Decay[i], InterVarsity Press, pp 213
4. Budziszewski, J. “Faith On Campus Letters” Ask Me Anything[i], NavPress, 2004, pp 113

 

 

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Throwing off the Shackles of Morality by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

48 Questions Christian’s can’t answer

Reading Time: 6 minutesThis is a continuation of the 50 supposed questions Christians could not answer. You can find the full list here.

3. If God is so perfect, then why did he create something so imperfect allowing pain, suffering and daily atrocities?

The question that is really being asked is why would a perfect God allow evil if he is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. To many atheists and skeptics, this would not be sensible. So conversely, if we have pain, suffering, and atrocities, there is no God.

Assumptions:
*God is not perfect
*God does not exist

The Greek philosopher Epicurus put it this way.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

The problem of evil is one many Christians have a hard time responding to, but if Christian’s recognize that it is impossible to have ‘evil’ without a base line to measure exactly what evil is, then evil is simply a matter of opinion. Simply put, evil is the absence of good. Let me give you three examples that will help you understand my point.

How do we gauge cold? Cold is the absence of heat, more specifically the absence of the kinetic energy in the molecules of a substance, or the motion of the molecules. In 2010, NASA data recorded a new record for cold here on earth at -135 in Antarctica. Absolute zero is defined to be -273 degrees. At -273, all molecular movement stops. No molecular movement and you have cold, our base line to measure heat.

How do we convey blackness? Blackness is measured by the absence of color. For those who are tech savvy, it is obvious in our everyday 24-bit computer monitors. All the pixels that make up a computer screen have a red, green, blue, (RGB), display and each RGB has a range of 0-255. If all three have a range of 255, 255, 255, you see white pixel your screen. Alternatively, if you have a value of 0,0,0 you have black pixel. So 0,0,0 is our base line to measure color.

How we we judge darkness? Darkness is measured by the absence of light. When you don’t have any electromagnetic waves, (light), you have complete darkness. Darkness is not a color, so complete darkness is without light waves. You can’t measure darkness, because there would be nothing to measure. Absolute darkness is void of light waves. Light and dark are not two separate things, just as hot and cold are not two separate things. Cold and hot are both a measure of temperature. You measure one by the absence of another.

Those three examples should give you an idea on how to deal with the problem of evil. Evil and good are not two separate things, they are both a measure of morality. The character of God, his perfect character, is the baseline to which we measure all evil. Anything which is not inline with His flawless character is evil.

Carl Gallups put it this way, “In the same way that cold, dark, and black only exist in the absence of heat, light, and color, evil only exists in the absence of good.” 1

Problems arise when fallen man starts to set the base line, or the standard to which we measure moral behavior. Michael Welner created the ‘Depravity Scale‘, which measures the degree of cruelty and wickedness that can be applied to a crime. His intention is for jurors to use it to measure the severity of a crime, just as we might use a ruler to measure the length of a 2 x 4 Doug fur.

As the system stands now, “you run the risk of what’s heinous to one person is not heinous to another person,” says Jack Doherty, head of the disciplinary board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and a former defense attorney. He believes the Depravity Scale will bring the courts out of the “dark ages” of subjectivity in weighing particularly horrible crimes. 2

What they fail to realize is that they are only measuring the current culture’s definition of cruelty and wickedness. We live in a time that Francis Schaeffer, (founder of L’Abri), called ‘sociological law’. Our laws and entertainment change as our cultures change.

During the Roman Civilization, it was lawful and entertaining to throw people to wild animals, and to watch gladiators fight to the death. In the 1950′s, it was unlawful for homosexuals to be married, for women to have abortions, and for men to pay for sex. Sixty years later all are lawful, all are acceptable, and in some instances, celebrated, depending on the state or city.

In another sixty years, we might be shocked to the extent of our moral decay. Certainly someone who was transported from the 1950’s to 2014 would be appalled at what popular culture considers acceptable behavior and qualifies as moral or ethical mainstream.

And no, I don’t have naive Norman Rockwell view of the 1950’s, or even the 1850’s. Yes there was murder, rape, prostitution, and abortion in the 1950’s. I get that. But we have indicators which attest to the godless direction our country is heading. One example is the original motto of Harvard University which demonstrates how far we have slipped into moral decay.

“Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3). 3 Harvard is now one of the most anti-god, secular universities in the U.S.

Timothy Keller wrote, “One of the most frequent statements I heard was that, ‘Every person has the right to define right and wrong, for himself or herself.’ I always responded to the speakers by asking, “Is there anyone in the world right now, doing things you believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?” They would invariably say, “Yes, of course.” Then I would ask, “Doesn’t that mean you do believe there is some kind of moral reality that is ‘there’ that is not defined by us, that must be abided by regardless of that a person feels or thinks?” Almost always, the response to that question was a silence, either a thoughtful or a grumpy one.” 4

Now we can come up with examples like the Holocaust, and hundreds of other historical events, that tug on our heart strings. Just about everyone would agree that the Holocaust, or the torture of young children ‘for the fun of it’ is evil, but there are a few who don’t see it that way. Yes, they agree it is wrong, in a natural sort of way. It is wrong because that kind of behavior does not aid in human flourishing. The atheist does not believe it is wrong because some higher being would tell us it is wrong.

What they don’t realize, or choose to ignore, is you can’t call something evil unless you have something to refer back to. Without the moral compass Christ provides, our actions as a culture sway with the wind of popular opinion.

If we just rely on opinion polls, (as politicians often do so they can be re-elected), to decide what kind of behavior is acceptable, then behavior is nothing more than a favorite flavor of ice cream. Those who don’t believe in right or wrong behavior, are firm in their convictions until someone cuts them off on the highway, or steals their wallet. Those who say they don’t believe in evil might think differently if you kidnap and torture their family.

Cold is our baseline to measure heat. Dark is our baseline to measure color. Black is our baseline to measure light. Each exist only in the absence of another. God’s perfect character is the baseline to measure evil.

You see, to measure anything you need to start somewhere. When you measure a 2 x 4, the beginning of the tape goes on one end so you can determine the length. Minus 273 is the point we begin to measure cold. RGB 0,0,0 for each is the point we begin to measure color on a computer screen. The absence of light waves provides us with a beginning to measure light. Finally, God’s perfect character is the starting point we begin to measure evil, the beginning of the tape measure.

Anything outside of God’s perfect goodness is evil, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant the sin. Our fallen nature, our freedom to choose to do things outside the character of Christ, will always leave us short of the perfect base line God’s nature provides us to value morality.

So when atheists or skeptics bring up the problem of evil, and why a perfect and loving God would allow evil and suffering, they have already, unbeknownst, acknowledged that God exists. Because, without the starting point of good, you can’t weigh evil.

 

Sources:
1. Gallups, Karl. The Magic Man in the Sky. WND Books, 2012. Print.
2. Libaw, Oliver. “Creating a Scale to Measure Evil” ABC News abcnewsgo.com, 14 May 2014. Web. 29, June 2014
3. Roberts, Mark. “Harvard Ironies” Patheos. patheos.com, 2010. Web. 30, June 2014.
4. Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.

 

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48 Questions Christian’s can’t answer by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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