morals

Human Beings: Moral Agents or Victims of Genetic Heritage?

If lawmakers become diehard macroevolutionists, then they would surely believe that there is really not much essential difference between the nature of human beings and that of animals, and that human behavior is actually determined by genetics. How does this perspective affect justice? In 1994, Richard Mobley was tried for the crime of the murder of Domino’s 24 year-old Pizza store manager. The jury sentenced Mobley to death. But Mr. Mobley’s lawyers appealed the sentence to the state supreme court, arguing that Mr. Mobley’s genes predisposed him to violent criminal behavior: “His actions may not have been a product of total free will,” argued Daniel Summer, one of Mobley’s lawyers.1 Crimes in the Mobley family have “been going on for years – aunts, uncles, cousins, murder, rape, robbery, suicide, you name it.” The argument here is that Mobley had no control over his actions because of his genetic heritage!! As a result, he could not be held responsible for his actions since he was a victim of his genes. This kind of reasoning originates from belief in macroevolution. Against this backdrop, what chance does the intrinsic value of human life stand? Remember that macroevolution was first introduced in academia, the field that trains future lawmakers and other key societal leaders and professionals. Consequently, most of them interpret law from a macroevolution perspective in tandem with the positive law model, which rejects the laws of the Creator in preference of laws imposed by human governments.
As macroevolution gained ground, the Creator and what He stands for began to be jettisoned out of the public arena because the two are incompatible. Since then a series of events have been focused on rejecting God’s law. For example, the Supreme Court ruled that devotional prayer had no place in public school classes in 1962.2 Then the following year, the same court ruled against having devotional reading in classes. In 1973, the court scraped off the unborn child’s right to life. Seven years after this, the Ten Commandments were taken out of schools.3 Another seven years later, the court ruled that creation could not be taught side by side with evolution as it was being taught in schools. Macroevolution and evolution in general fast obtained a place on the pedestal as the referent point for societal values and laws.
At the heels of these changes, some scholars postulating evolution began to think they had sovereignty over the fate of human life, and became so bold as to attempt to redefine what constitutes personhood. Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University wrote in 1979 that “Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons,” as such, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.”4 Early in 1972, Michael Tooley made the startling statement that a human being “possesses a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it is itself such a continuity.”5 Of course, infants do not possess these attributes yet. Another staggering proclamation was made by Jeffery Reiman when he declared that infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.”6 These are individuals touted as intellectuals who occupy positions of leadership of some sort in our societies. But they would think nothing of snuffing the lives of the most vulnerable among us!!

Against all these attacks on human life, the Word of God resolutely states that, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Sources

1 Edward Felsenthal writing for the Wall Street Journal (November 15, 1994). Man’s Genes Made Him Kill, His Lawyers Claim. Accessed from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mobley/RM95.TXT

2 Americans United for Separation of Church and State (2005). Prayer and the Public Schools: Religion, Education and Your Rights. Accessed from https://www.au.org/files/Prayer%20and%20the%20Public%20Schools%2006-11_2.pdf

3 The Supreme Court vs. Faith and the Bible. Article accessed from http://www.blowthetrumpet.org/CourtverseBible.htm

4 Scott Klusendorf (2015). Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide. Accessed from http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/#christian-books-1
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid

Read more about how God loves you: http://www.wmturls.com/pp

The Ramifications of “Killing God”

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher, a son of a Lutheran minister. His father died when he was five years old. Probably the loss of a father at such a tender age is what led him to detest religion with an unbridled fervor.
Among his literary works is the controversial parable known as the Parable of Zarathustra. In this parable, Nietzsche wrote about a momentous, cosmic catastrophe, the “death of God.”1 A mad man (probably symbolic of Nietzsche himself) announces the “death of God” to a jeering crowd of skeptics gathered in a market place for no apparent reason. The mad man proclaims hysterically, “God is dead…we have killed him.” Of course, that is impossible in the literal sense, for God is self-existent and uncaused. He is the only One whose reason for his existence lies within himself. What Nietzsche was doing here was heralding nihilism, which rejects religion and moral principles. By rejecting them, Nietzsche understood that he was rejecting their Source.
But the ramifications of having “killed God” are not lost on Nietzsche: “How can we the murderers of all murderers comfort ourselves? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now?” The magnitude of his pronouncement had the potential to unhinge the very order of life on earth, rendering everything meaningless. With the “death of God” comes the erosion of all values and morals, and the introduction of anarchy and lawlessness and unprecedented violence. Using metaphors and similes, Nietzsche admitted that nihilism could be calamitous as mankind would attempt to become his own god: “Do we not ourselves have to become gods…?” The repercussions of assuming such a morally autonomous position would result in a ghastly a debacle. Although the parable is presented in a pendulous and ambivalent manner by being both liberating and disastrous, the bottom line is that this kind of worldview would inevitably usher in an era in which the relevance of the Moral Law would be questioned if not rejected. Everything would become permissible, to echo Dostoevsky. A few decades after Nietzsche came individuals such as Sigmund Freud and others who claimed that religion was nothing more than a basic infantile intellectual level, probably classified as being at the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder.
At the heels of the birth of such a worldview, came the 20th century; so far regarded as the bloodiest and most violent century.2 Slowly, as mankind distanced himself from the dictates of the moral values, life began to lose its sacredness. This trend continues as we hear of people getting shot or maimed or stabbed or bludgeoned to death for the most trivial reasons. Mankind is, indeed, straying through “infinite nothing.” As belief in the moral values began to wane, a wave of darkness began to encroach upon humanity, true to Nietzsche’s prophetic pronouncements: “Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?”
Nietzsche himself spent the rest of his life in an insane asylum and in the care of his family. He was silent most of the time. In his book, The Last Journey of Jack Lewis: A Conversation of C.S. Lewis with Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, Chang-Wuk Kang claims that “When he was in an insane asylum toward the end of his life [Nietzsche] recited Bible verses from time to time.” He was only 46 years old when he died in 1900.

Sources

1 Fordham University (n.d.). Modern History Sourcebook: Nietzsche: Parable of the Madman. Accessed from http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/nietzsche-madman.asp

2 Francis P. Sempa (2012). The Bloodiest Century. Accessed from http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2007/0103/book/book_sempa.html

Right and Wrong, Good and Evil

Recently I had the privilege of listening to Dr. William Lane Craig respond to a so-called dilemmatic question along these lines: Does God will something because it is good or is it good because God wills it?

According to Dr. Craig, this type of question arises from a lack of proper understanding of who God is. God wills something because of His own inherent goodness. He is goodness itself. The good is God Himself. He is the locus of goodness; the paradigm of goodness. As such, He wills something because He is good. The good is not independent of God.

Dr. Craig asserts further that the existence of God affirms the existence of moral duties. A distinction exists between right and wrong, and good and evil. This distinction is based on the fact that unlike good and evil, right and wrong are associated with duty; a moral oughtness, which tells us what should be the case, not necessarily what is the case. It is about moral obligation. In terms of good and evil, no one has an obligation to do something just because it would be good for them. For example, an individual might pursue a career in neuroscience because it might be good for them, but there is nothing that binds them morally to become a neuroscientist. They are not morally obligated to become a neuroscientist. But, like every other human being, they are morally bound or obligated to treat all human life as sacred. That is a moral obligation.

Moral duties have their source in God; in His Ten Commandments. Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22: 37-39). These commandments form the foundation for objective rightness made manifest in love, hospitality, compassion, equality, generosity, etc… From these commandments we also learn that bigotry, hatred, oppression, theft, violence, selfishness etc..are all vile.

Although it may currently seem as if wickedness has an upper hand, ultimately good will triumph over evil. This why our moral choices are significant. They have eternal consequences. God holds each person accountable for their choices and actions. Without an eschatological belief of universal justice, life as we know it on earth would be meaningless.

The Futility of Living without God

The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason was a time in history when thinkers in Britain, France and the rest of Europe decided to shake the “shackles” of religion. It soon evolved into a time of anti-Christian innovation as people strove to prove that the universe was able to control and regulate itself without God. As such, existential questions that regularly haunt mankind including questions like Who am I? Where did I come from? Is there meaning to my life and what is its purpose? Where am I going? As Dr. Craig asserts, these are questions that are peculiar only to human beings. No other creation has the capacity to ask them or to wrestle with them. It was also during this time that people began to tackle these questions with no reference to God. Some of the resulting postulations were that mankind is a mere by-product of nature; that mankind is the animated product of interaction of matter plus time plus chance, and that human beings have no particular reason or purpose for their existence. Each person is merely waiting for death to sink into oblivion. That is, when they die it is all over-there is no afterlife of any kind. By repudiating God mankind was attempting to free himself from what he perceived to be repressive and oppressive moral obligations. Some philosophers such as Nietzsche began to promulgate the concept that God was dead and they had killed him, not knowing that in essence, by having evicted God from their lives they had only succeeded in making themselves cosmic orphans because a Godless life is a life that has lost its inherent value and purpose and meaning. If you have read about this before, you are not reading it again by accident. How valuable is your life and my life without God? First of all, if life as we know it, ends at the grave it should not matter how it is lived; whether one lives as Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin or as St. Francis of Assisi or as Mother Teresa should be inconsequential. After all, in this scenario, there is apparently no expectation of eschatological judgment, accountability for how one lived one’s life on earth, no standard of right or wrong, and no reward for having lived an upright life. Moral values become reduced to sheer “socio-cultural by-products of the evolutionary process” (Craig, 2007). A Godless life has no ontic referent point for any form of values. The concept of objective morality makes no sense at all. Child abuse, incest, rape, domestic violence and wars or any form of violence against vulnerable population groups becomes acceptable behavior. Life loses it sacredness and there is no good or evil. The concept of loving your neighbor as yourself becomes an illusory ideal. If life ends at death there is no purpose for living, no reason for existence at all. There is no difference between human life and a bird’s life or a goat’s life. As Friedrich Nietzsche implied in his Parable of the Madman, people have no concept of the deleteriousness of nihilism. www.wmturls.com/bp