We live at a time where a neutral position on moral issues is highly esteemed and at face-value, this seems intelligent, reasonable and tolerant. This great article by Stand to Reason’s Greg Koukl provides a fascinating counter-argument to this idea. He reveals the assumptions and surprising “intolerance” that is required to hold this view – a very interesting perspective from a great apologist – The Myth of Moral Neutrality.
The Christian in the UK is constantly bombarded with accusations of intolerance, divisiveness and being judgmental – we see this most on issues such as abortion, sexuality, sin, heaven, hell, etc. The reality is that EVERYONE holds moral positions that they believe others should adhere to – it is NOT just the Christian who holds a moral view of life. Whenever anyone expresses a moral position, this is by definition a position that is intolerant of anyone who has a different view.
Koukl uses the example of cheating – if a student feels it is morally OK to cheat in exams but the teacher believes that this is immoral and dishonest, who is going to impose their concept of morality on the other? The teacher or the student?…hopefully the teacher! The point is that neither one or the other is morally neutral and in fact, the student (although in the “wrong” for wanting to cheat) will be forced to follow the moral standard of the teacher. Interestingly, it is usually the party with the most power who imposes their standards of morality on the weaker party (in this case, the teacher). Whilst this is obviously the right thing to do, it is also VERY intolerant! The student here has no opportunity to follow his/her own convictions of morality in this situation and is forced to submit to a moral judgment of someone else.
We cannot escape the fact that we ALL express moral positions that are intolerant of many others around us – it is NOT just the Christian faith that is not morally neutral – there is NO SUCH THING as moral neutrality and no society could function in such a way even if there was! In a sense, moral relativism is a misnomer – there are always rules and where there are rules, there is intolerance directed to those who would like to break those rules as they are being compelled to adhere to a moral standard they disagree with!
We believe that one day every person will meet the perfect teacher of morality face to face in the person of the risen Jesus Christ. When this happens it is HIS concept of morality we will have to submit to and be judged by – not ours! The only way to prepare for this moment is to discover the standard we will be judged against – given that we have ALL failed to reach this standard the ONLY solution is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the New Testament teaches this is our only hope on that great and terrible day!
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10)