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By What Standard?

In a world of gray, we are suddenly asked to make definitive judgement in black and white. But by what standard?

A few weeks ago, as I sat in church, the question was raised regarding the current sex scandals rocking Hollywood and politics-“By what standard are we judging them?”

In a culture and world that preaches situational ethics, relativism and “live by your own standard,” we are suddenly asked to make moral judgement on those who have done just that. But by what standard of right and wrong are we being asked to do so? That’s the rub, right? I hope it’s not too broad a brushstroke to say that the non-Christian will simply say, “It’s wrong because you cannot treat your fellow human beings, especially women, like that.”

I agree 100% with that and this is not a Golden Rule argument. However, if for the past few generations, we have been told that there is no standard, there is no judgement, there are no rules except those which we create, where does this moral high ground come from? It is inconsistent at best. Reduced to its most basic form it’s little better than a parent replying to the child who asks, “Why not?” with a “Because I said so.” A “Because I said so” argument is one that can shift from situation to situation.

I would argue that it is wrong for a very simple reason. It is an assault on the inherent worth of man (universal term applied here) as man, a being created in the image of God. It really does go back to our origin story-where did we come from, why are we here, what are we called to do? If we are created by an Intelligent Designer, then there must be a manual as well. The unbeliever will toss this argument aside as soon as I get to this point in the argument because it opens the door to the fact that if there is a manual for living, then there are laws and at the end of that thread, there is a Lawgiver. And if there are laws given by a Lawgiver, there are also right and a wrong and a day of judgement.

Without going going any further down that thread, let me re-ask the question: by what standard are we judging the Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinsteins of the world? I would suggest that it is something hardwired in our sinful humanity from the moment we are born, this inherent concept of right and wrong. It doesn’t mean we live by it, it simply means it is there. As A.W. Tozer wrote years ago (italics added):

In the breathing, living cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, “God.” The man of earth also kneels, but not to worship. . .Just now we happen to be living in a secular age. . .We are more likely to explain than to adore. “It thundered,” we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend on that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.

THIS is the infinite point of reference Sarte loved to refer to. It gives the finite, mankind, meaning, but most importantly, an answer to the question, “By what standard?” can we judge what is right and wrong in our modern world today.

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