The Moral Outrage of the Unbeliever

By Robin Schumacher
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Without a doubt, there's been a large amount of furious indignation aimed at various Kentucky clerks who have refused to issue same sex marriage licenses. A lot of anger has been directed at the idea of the law being broken, yet as Michael Brown rightly points out, those same voices didn't seem to mind when other government officials broke laws that favored their position on the matter.

Lawbreaking, it seems, is OK as long as you disagree with the particular law in question.

But beyond this double standard is something else worth investigating: the moral outrage in general expressed by non-Christians over this and similar ethical matters (e.g. abortion). Those lining up on any anti-Christian side feel absolutely justified in their position, firmly believe they are on the side of fairness, and are convinced that they are fighting injustice.

Are they correct? They definitely think so and have no issue decrying hate yet hating supposed "haters," fighting intolerance by acting intolerant towards those they think are intolerant, and discriminating against those they think discriminate.

For a recent example you needn't look any further than the Denver city council who feel justified in stopping a Chick-fil-A from opening at the city's airport because of Dan Cathy's long-ago and simple statement of believing in traditional marriage. Never mind that no proof of any discrimination at Chick-fil-A has ever been shown to exist.

The anatomy of this and other such moral muddiness is actually easily explained Biblically with parallels clearly being evident between what Jesus encountered in His day and what we see in ours.

A Moral Handicap

It's humbling to understand that we all start out life in a morally crippled state.

The Bible says we all enter existence dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1), are "by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3), "hostile in mind" towards God (Colossians 1:21), possess a "depraved" (1 Timothy 6:3-5), "futile" (Ephesians 4:17) and "defiled" mind (Titus 1:15), one that is blinded by the enemy (2 Corinthians 4:4) and does not seek God (Romans 3:10-12), is unable to submit itself to God's ways (Romans 8:6-7), sees the plan of salvation as stupid (1 Corinthians 1:18), and cannot understand God's truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Martin Luther describes our original moral compass as having "an inclination to evil, a disgust at the good, a disinclination toward light and wisdom, it is love of error and darkness, a fleeing from good works and a loathing of them, a running to what is evil". [1]

Jesus referred to this moral inability when He said simply to his opponents: "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word" (John 8:43, my emphasis).

Being created in God's image and having God's Law imprinted on our lives while at the same time possessing a morally handicapped mind and heart results in a defective ethical engine. The concepts of justice and right/wrong exist, yet they are aimed away from God and instead are directed towards satisfying the self and the sinful desires within it.

The moral will, apart from God's renewal, is exactly as John Wesley describes: "Such is the freedom of the will; free only to evil; free to drink iniquity like water; to wander farther and farther from the living God, and do more despite the Spirit of grace!" [2]

Thus, the moral complaints that erupt from within that framework are naturally askew.

A Bad Family Tree

We all begin life with not only a morally deficient mind and heart, but also a bad family lineage and taskmaster.

When Jesus confronted His enemies who were riding the wrong moral high horse, He said to them: "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).

Of course, few of us ever felt that we were in a position where we needed to "escape from the snare of the devil" and were "held captive by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26), but Jesus and His Word clearly state that's the original position of all of us who at one time or another opposed God's moral Law.

As Christians, we now have a new Father (Galatians 4:6) with Him having "rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13) so that we see moral issues as God does. By contrast, those who opposed Jesus' teaching do so for this reason: "You do not believe because you are not of My sheep" (John 10:26).

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Published 9-9-15