Saturday, September 24, 2011

Standing for What is Right

"A man without ethics is like a wild beast loosed upon the earth."        - Albert Carnus

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference on ethics entitled "Doing the Right Thing." It is the product of a video series done by Chuck Colson, Robert George, and others discussing the complete breakdown of morality in our culture. Although the live event was in Virginia, there were webcast showings all over the country.

There were a total of five sessions, answering questions such as "Is there a moral authority?" "What does it mean to be human?" and "How can we affect a transformation in our culture?" I could spend hours writing this blog post, but I figured I would just give you a few highlights to whet your appetite, and leave the heavy lifting up to you. :)

One of the most interesting points I found was the panelist's assertion that we can reason with others without using religious terms. Yes, we are to share the Gospel with others. However, we can begin by appealing to their reasonableness. For example, consider presenting this scenario to a group of people: There is a old woman with her grocery bags trying to cross the street. Traffic is whizzing by, and she is unable to cross. You have three options: (1) Help her across the street; (2) Ignore her; or (3) Push her into traffic. Which one is the right answer? We all agree that it is #1!!! Why do we all agree? Because it appeals to the sense of decency and reasonableness within us.

The panelists stressed multiple times that we are always to present our arguments in a "winsome" manner. I love this word! It means refraining from "imposing" views on others. Rather, we are to "propose" - and invite others to join us at the wedding feast. Speak the truth in love.

The session I found the most interesting was led by Dr. Robert George. The session was titled "A Matter of Life and Death," and discussed the dignity of human life. Did you know that the Nazi genocide began not with the killing of the Jews, but with the killing of handicapped people? Furthermore, this began under a democratic rule, NOT after Hitler had gained absolute power. Contrast that with our current abortion laws...kind of scary, isn't it?

I think the statement that hit home with me was this: "Culture shapes conduct. Law shapes the culture. This is why the law on marriage is so important - because it shapes the culture, which in turn shapes the conduct of those around us."

WOW! This was a lightbulb moment for me. This is why the law on abortion is so important. I have heard many people say, "What's the big deal in allowing people who don't believe in the Bible to have control over their body?" The answer is: because once we open that door, there's no telling where it will lead. The legalization of abortion has led to the view that we can discriminate based on age, size, or stature. Where does this stop? Once we decided that all human life does not have the same dignity, we opened the door to a host of other issues - such as whether assisted suicide is okay, or whether we should abort children with handicaps. Rather than saying we are "bettering the gene pool," we bill it as "a choice," "control over my body," or "compassion" on the sick. No matter how you try to make it look beautiful, it's all the same - murder. That's why the laws relating to abortion, same-sex marriage, etc., are so important - because they shape the culture of the next generation.

I hope that this blog post makes sense. I am still in the midst of processing it myself, but I can guarantee you that you will see more references to this topic in the future as I deal with this in my own life. The legal field presents its own minefield of ethical decisions, as well as great opportunities to influence the law and our culture. After today, I am even more steadfast in my desire to stand for what is right, no matter what the "cost" may be to me on this earth.

Well, in closing, I encourage you to check out the "Doing the Right Thing" website. The 6-part video series is actually on sale through the end of September, and the DVD of today's webcast is only $7.95. I encourage you to invest in them and share them with others - it is a very worthy investment!

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