Sunday, May 15, 2005

Justifiable Judgement

I last discussed the question of if Right and Wrong exists. Christians know these to exist. In fact I would say that most people that have ever walked the Earth know that they exist. The difficulty comes in defining what Right truly equals and there for deducing by elimination what Wrong must consist of.

In the course of relativistic thought many that otherwise know that Right and Wrong exist have travel down roads that lead to the conclusion that it is possible to have a third option. That being an action that is a little right and a little wrong this line of thought blurs the lines between absolute good and evil. It makes it possible to consider the equation as EITHER/OR/AND.

This is of course false. Good and Evil are best viewed using Boolean logic, that is to say nothng that is Good can also be Evil and therefore nothing that is Evil can be Good. The Equation is EITHER/OR. You cannot have a little of each. An action, decision or thought is either right or wrong.

This seems a dangerous and difficult position to take. In a world filled with relativism and subjectivity, who is to say what version of Right is the correct flavor. Just because a man believes, or state that he believes, that good and evil or right and wrong exit as absolutes do not mean he understand what right is for certain.

Historically this leads to dangerous occurrences. Peoples and nations have claimed to be on the side of right when clearly they were not. We see this even today as the world is engulfed in flames as an empire battles small groups in a fight each has termed as one of good versus evil. Most of us realize, without any hesitation, neither side is good or right. Each has numerous flaws, each commits their own acts of evil and each has come to their conclusion that they are right based upon a history or wrong decisions. Yet, many good intentioned people on each side fervently believe in the righteousness of their particular cause.

Faith is a requisite attribute in anyone that seeks to understand what right truly is. All humans have a basic understanding of right and wrong but this understanding is immature. It covers items like a person ought not to murder and ought not to steal. Everyone knows this; even people depraved enough to commit these acts. To truly come to terms with right as it applies to everyday and small decisions that ultimately affect the aggregate of a life; the personal forest I mentioned before; a person must have faith combined with understanding. Understanding comes from wisdom, which comes from God. They must be receptive to the Spirit and they must look to and listen to the law written in their heart. Only a person that walks with God can achieve this and truly know the difference in Good and Evil.

It is important for us to understand that Right and Wrong exist, to attempt to mold our lives so that we might truly understand right. If we hope to sway anyone to our way of thinking we must be right; not in terms of mere rhetorical arguments (rhetoric is simply a tool we might use). Rather we must be right because if we cannot see the truth how might we ever hope to bring about change that will truly achieve our goals.

Peter Leithart (HT to Dabney for digging it up) has some enlightening things to say about what makes up the glue that binds together all Right thought. This is of course the Law that is written into our hearts and ought to serve as a compass to lead us to Right decisions. We can judge Right and Wrong if we simply refer to the Law.
To elaborate a bit: Without the Spirit who writes the law on tablets of the
human heart, the law cannot change persons. The aim of the law is not to produce
a particular set of actions, abstracted from the desires, will, goals,
intentions, etc., of the person doing the actions. The law calls for a
particular kind of person, whose desires, will, goals, intentions, etc. express
themselves in external actions that conform to the law. The law calls for a
people with a particular orientation of "heart," but cannot provide that
orientation itself. That is the work of the Spirit. Of course, the Spirit uses
the words of Scripture and preaching, the fellowship of other believers, the
rites of the church, etc., to shape the heart, but the Spirit is the effective
agent. Through the Spirit, Word and Sacrament and other means become effectual
for salvation - that is, for producing persons who perform the obedience of
faith, for forming a people living truly human lives with one another before

How can we possibly hope to rebuild Southern culture if we do not know the ingredients that ought to go into the foundation? How can we be champions for Good change if we are unwilling or incapable of calling Evil what it is? If we cannot use the Law to judge our actions and the actions of our collective (communities and government) then we are weak of faith and undeserving of change.

Consider our continual cries against the evils of a growing federal tyranny. How did these things come to pass? They did not occur over night. Each successive piece of legislation was passed by well intentioned people that thought they were doing good. Social Security seemed a wonderful way to show charity to the elderly. Welfare seemed a good way to extend charity to the impoverished. The list might go on, but each would represent decisions, made by people that thought they were doing good that were in no way based upon general principals of good. For how can anyone really say that these programs that lead to a more powerful Federal government produced any good.

Consider that the same power, now resting in the Federal government, has been used by people that have no inclination to do good, but are rather more interested in securing human freedom at the expense of good, to do outright evil. Abortion certainly liberates one human with the freedom to kill another human that might present complications. Is this sort of freedom really supportive of Good?

In such a consideration we must realize that each and every personal decision we make and each collective decision must be sifted through the crucible of a simple question. That being does this support good or evil.

History has shown that bigger government ultimately turns to an increase in evil. Therefore the paleo-conservative view of very limited government truly supports Good in that regard. If we are to rebuild anything we must cling to this notion and understand what is required at the foundation of our thinking.

In this respect it is not only righteous that we judge ourselves and our opinions but also the opinions of others. There is Right and Wrong, there is no middle ground and this applies to all we do and think.

I read one Biblical chapter before I wrote this. The Bible is filled with references to judging but I thought this appropriate.

Psalms 82 ( Psalm of Asaph)
God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

What does this say to us? Verse 82.6 tells us that we are leaders (gods in the Greek) under the most high ruler. Verse 82:7 reminds us that we will fall, just so we do not become to high and mighty in our thinking.

If we are truly Mighty Men then this chapter applies to us. Who are Mighty Men? Men of righteousness, leaders and those that are strong. Strong in what? We must be strong in faith, righteousness and action. We must know what right is, understand the will of God and we MUST be willing to act.

Change is always created by mighty men. The throng of the populace has never successfully changed anything for long. Men may be mighty without being righteous, and this is often the case. However the words of the chapter above refer to men of change for righteousness.
We can succumb to men of might propped up by the majority that neither understands nor heeds the law or we can be leaders of change; Mighty Men unafraid to speak and live the truth. Mighty Men that are willing to judge that which is wrong as such. Such judgment is justifiable and required if we have any say in the decision being made. In system we do have a say. We are required to act for not to do so makes us as guilty as those that commit evil.

I say that we must not be afraid to seek and find the Right answer for every question before us. This is what Mighty Men do. We must be unashamed to denounce wrong whenever we see it. This is in small and large things. This is especially true in politics since our aim is to change the nature of government to a more just form. We cannot accept compromise with those that are merely confused but mean well. Mighty men are leaders, not followers.

We might debate with those that have wrong answers in an attempt to show them the way. This is leadership. Compromise; however is not a word we ought to have in our vocabulary; at least not in terms of accepting a little evil to accomplish a great good.

Stand up you Mighty Men and seek the truth, defend the truth, declare the truth. Do not be afraid to judge that which is wrong and say it is wrong. We will never succeed in what we claim as our goals unless we are willing to do these things.

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