Values and Moral Decision Making

   This promises to be a fascinating discussion. I put up a post this morning in which I mentioned values and the death knell of a culture when the Moral Deciders are balkanized. Two of my most thoughtful readers, K and BDW, immediately replied, meaning the values issues resonate with the thoughtful.

   Please let me move a bit of distance now from the illustration I used this morning, concerning the makeup of the US Supreme Court; Roman Catholics and Jews. This is social order as microcosm, or in camera.

   Take a step back and look at the main point of the morning blog, at least in that portion where I discussed the ghetto making among the Nine. What happens to a culture when values/moral/ethics become the domain of a sanctified few?

   We should not find it remarkable that any vital social undertaking attracts competitive persons. People enjoy achievement and the recognition that comes with it. The casual causist looks for superficial applause and so may speak for victory, as Samuel Johnson frequently reminded himself not to do. The facile thinker may use his mind to encompass a greater breadth of thought, in a hunt for applause and meaning across a wider spectrum. It is the theological thinker (the one who has room for God, ultimate authority, absolutes and originalism) who thinks purposively.

   When that one (or those ones) are forced into what amounts to an Cult of the Ethical, moral idealism(s) may just as easily become the Baptismal Font. The danger is the Ethical Priest may, of necessity, subordinate his own intelligence to culturally predetermined practical purposes.

   Or, he may just not have anyone to talk to in his world. At least, no one withe capacity to hear, assimilate and reply.

   I quail inwardly when I read a line from a youngster about some ecclesiastical matter or other, a pervasively dismissive kind of comment that begins with, "I do not have a dog in this hunt." The writer may mean he does not make a living from the group most related to the item under discussion. I grant you we are none of us so vital to the effort that we should dabble our toes in every stream.

   However, right and wrong are the dogs you have in the hunt. In the very great (current) argument over the activity or inactivity of God in human suffering, we ought to be able to say our theology insists on this one thing; evil must be actively resisted, consistently shunned, finally overcome. We should be able to make this (true) statement in our apologetic and we can. We may just have a hard time saying it with a straight face, given our moral passivity.

   I fear for America because there is a global wave washing over us that will not allow our passivity. That is, the Global Intolerant will not allow us to be passive and also survive. Borders are not just boundaries. They are shapers. We are losing our distinctive shape.

Opinions expressed here are mine alone. They do not reflect the opinions of the church I serve or any other person or organization.

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