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August 5, 2022 12:01 am
If you aren't accountable for your life, then ultimately your life doesn't count. Today, R.C. Sproul reveals that a meaningful worldview must include the discipline of ethics, and our ethics cannot be divorced from the holy character of God.
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The basic foundation of our culture today is moral relativism and I call that a myth. In other words, we are basing our civilization and our culture on a moral concept.
Ladies and gentlemen that can't possibly be true to have forgotten God without God's truth also forgotten how to think this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul has provided us with a blueprint for thinking today. His focus is on what determines right and more chewing RC no. So far in our examination of the chief elements that are necessary to construct the Christian life and worldview. We've considered briefly epistemology the science of knowing how we come to knowledge at all.
How do we discern what things are true and what are not. We look briefly also with the task of metaphysics which is man's attempt to probe those questions beyond what we can see and say can sense with the rest of our empirical hours and then we looked at the character of God as being essential for understanding how we view the world and our lives and then last week examined how our understanding of mankind influences how we treat people how we respond to God in the light that in this fifth session, as we consider the elements of life and worldview were going to look now at ethics and during these moments together. We had the special guest. Be with us on education. Mr. Rodin's thinker and I've amused us. We got along over what it is this possibly has them so absorbed continuously in such deep and provocative cogitation and idea.
I think I know the answer. During the interim between the last lecture and this lecture I had a private conversation with the statue and he revealed to me the subject matter of his heavy concentration. He said he's been thinking about the Beatles not the musical Beatles Rodin at that time that rather the bugs that we call Beatles and the thinker was pondering this question do Beatles Japanese beetle whatever kind of beetle is your favorite color beetle. He said do Beatles have consciences to Beatles commit crimes against other Beatles are there beetle courts and beetle prisons. This is the kind of speculation that the artist is caught now and immortalized in stone though of course I'm teasing, but the question is not a joke.
Do other creatures in this world struggle with questions of guilt and of justice through other creatures in this world struggle with matters of righteousness do Beatles care whether other Beatles behave in a morally appropriate way or is the subject of ethics and morality uniquely a human concern. There are those who are convinced in our day and age that ethics should be as important to us as it would be to Beatles and no more because we are nothing but more sophisticated garden-variety Beatles again. Our anthropology determines ultimately our ethics, how we view the importance of humanity will have tremendous influence on how we behave. It's that simple. Now, as I've use the blackboard and various occasions.
I keep walking Cassie's bookcases and I promise you that none of these books were placed here as stage props, running that likes my keep falling on this little book here which is a leather bound edition of CS Lewis is a mortal work now called mere Christianity as many years as Lewis is been dead.
This book still sells over hundred thousand copies every year just in the English-speaking world.
Mere Christianity is a box that's in simple terms set forth in the central claims of the Christian faith is been useful, particularly among college students and intellectually oriented people to give them an initial presentation of the Cardinal tenants of Christianity as I was just leaving through this for old time sake.
I noticed the title of the very first chapter it reads right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe. It was Dostoyevsky who said pondering the pessimism of his age. Of those who had declared the death of God as he pondered the implications of that Dostoyevsky said if there is no God, then all things are permissible.
Immanuel Kant, who in many regards, Doug the grave of the classical defense of Christian theology, in spite of his agnosticism with respect to proving the existence of God can't declared in his final writings.
Practically speaking, as I mentioned before, we must live as if there is a God. And though God banished God from theoretical thought. He went around to the back door the house and worry banished God out the front door. He went around the back door and ushered God back in on practical grounds.
His argument for the existence of God was not theoretical, not rational, not empirical but moral. Kant argued in this fashion for ethics to be meaningful.
This is a simplified shorthand version of it for ethics to be meaningful. There must be justice. That is, before anybody has a right to say you must. You ought. You should everyone in this room has said that the somebody else you want to do this and you've all heard people give you rules and regulations constantly for any of that can possibly be meaningful. There must be justice. Why is it there's no justice.
Why should we be concerned about doing what is right or doing what is one who cares thereon argue that we can look around the world and we can see manifest injustice. We can see people who rewarded who don't deserve to be rewarded and people who were punished and afflicted, though they are innocent. Some even cry out in despair. There is no justice in this world will that's not altogether true.
There is some justice but I don't have anyone in here.
We think there's enough justice in this world and if justice is thwarted at any point concept why should we be concerned about ethics sources. There has to be justices of order have to be for there to be justice would have to be a judge and the judge would have to be just and the judge would have to be omnipotent and all the rest of the righteous himself, and we would have to survive the grave in order to go to a place where there is justice. And by the time cards finished on his practical argument he's constructed almost the whole of the Christian faith is a God who is just who promises the last judgment holds every human being accountable for every action that we perform.
But remember what he said. He said that doesn't prove God exists only he is saying that it proves the necessity of the existence of God for ethics to be meaningful and of ethics are not meaningful, somehow, Kant said society ultimately becomes impossible.
The 19th century saw people who were not inclined towards religious commitment, and so on. Throwing their hats in the year rejoicing over their newfound freedom when God was banished from the universe. They said no more teachers, you know, no more books, no more sassy look schools out. I don't have to listen anymore to this God who is dead. Who's always running right shadings verify site thou shall not do this enough.
Shall I do that and if you do this you really got Ellen someone down with Moses done with Yahweh ballot Jesus ministry now to carve out his own destiny. The good news of 19th century philosophy was that man is no longer accountable to God. The message of 20th century philosophy is man no longer counts and that's a simple step in logic is if you're not accountable for your life.
Ultimately, that means ultimately your life doesn't count. That's what Dostoyevsky was getting at. That's what Lewis is saying here when he says right and wrong is clue to the very meaning of the universe because if there is no right and there is no raw there can't possibly be any meaning that we glibly here in every quarter in United States of America.
There are no absolutes. We've gone through moral revolution, where preference has replaced duty and special interests replace law and discussion after discussion with those involved in the arena of politics and law, and I hear the cliché over and over and over again.
You can't legislate morality with the phrase used to mean ladies and gentlemen was just because you pass a law does not guarantee the people's behavior patterns are going to train but now that phrase means that it is illegitimate for any branch of the government to be involved in the exercise of passing laws of the moral character is morality, there's no such thing as black-and-white right and wrong goodness or badness morality become a relative matter. We have lived through the relative causation of ethics in our own generation, I say to people who say you can't legislate morality.
So what do you legislate the state bird, but even the state bird has moral ramifications and moral implications of ecology. If nothing else, how I drive my car with respect and with responsibility towards my neighbor is a moral matter. If you can't legislate morality. Should we have laws against murder. If you can't legislate morality. Should we have laws against theft. These are moral matters, but our society really doesn't believe in total moral relativism because it understands ladies and gentlemen, that in a situation and environment of pure moral relativism society is impossible. Historians have told us that every civilization, every culture in world history has been built upon the foundation of a philosophy, a religion or mythology something that gave unifying stability to the culture we have gone through. I'm convinced three stages in American history.
We went through the initial stage when the pilgrims came here of a theological foundation for our civilization, but then passed in the 18 century from a theological foundation to a philosophical foundation and now we are teetering precariously, much as a fiddler on the roof on the basis of the mythological foundation looming by that I mean by that that the basic foundation of our culture today is moral relativism and I call that a myth because what has in common with the myths is that myths have no real correspondence ultimately to objective truth. In other words, we are basing our civilization and our culture on a moral concept. Ladies and gentlemen that can't possibly be true.
And that's why we can't live with it.
That's why we approach more and more every day internal warfare between and among various preference and special interest groups. We were in serious trouble in Wichita, Kansas. Thousands of people have been thrown in prison because they were involved in protesting abortion clinics were abortion in the third trimester was being performed legally. So far that's the largest protest event centering on abortion, it would not surprise me to see that issue which I think is the most serious ethical issue that the United States of America has ever had to wrestle with in its history and the fact that it is as nonviolent as it has been so far in our culture is only further testimony to the fact that people don't care about ethics in our culture, and any other generation, it would've provoked the Civil War and it may still in our culture. But what are the guiding ethical principles. The control the life and worldview of the culture in which you live. I mentioned Nietzsche already and I mentioned Nietzsche's work on biological heroism. Nietzsche also had much to say about ethics, Nietzsche made a distinction between what he called master morality and herd morality when he called for the Superman to come down and create a new civilization he was asking that someone who would have the courage to do what he wanted to do to live by his own rules to live by his own standards. Nietzsche described his existential hero as somebody who built his home on the slopes of Vesuvius. He sailed his ship in the uncharted seas. He shook his fist in defiance of God he created his own law that's the existential hero. He doesn't answer to anybody else's rules. Anybody else's regulation.
He does his own thing that was Nietzsche's hero the master morality.
The Superman who would dare to do what he wanted to do to exercise his own will to power. I disagree with all but one thing I agree with emphatically with Nietzsche's analysis of 19th century Europe. He said that 19th century Europe in the main, as a civilization as a culture lives according to a herd morality when he arrived at the herd morality six. We heard that before. All we like sheep led astray. Did you ever really watch a flock of sheep move through a meadow I see the abrupt changes they never go in a straight line there were all over the place.
It organized chaos. If you want a contradiction in turn hello. I do have is be in front of it moves in this direction. Everybody goes in that direction.
Sheep obviously don't give a whole lot of careful ethical analysis in making decisions about which step they're going to take next.
They go with the flow's the American ideal.
He said to go with the flow picot the herd morality if ever there was a need for a reformation of ethics. It's now not only in government and in the school, but especially in the church, but for that to happen. It requires among other things, moral courage, I saw something on television recently that I could hardly believe what I was saying too many things that shocked me, but a newscaster came on and announced to the world that catastrophic upheaval was taking place in the Soviet Union. They said a coup was underway, in which the premier Mikhail Gorbachev had been overthrown and was being held hostage in his vacation dosha in the Crimea with his family and eight members of the inner counsel of the power structure of Russia in Moscow and seize control of the nation at all the hopes of the West for ongoing reform and for the total thawing of the Cold War and the establishment of peaceful, harmonious relationships among nations in one small announcement or shatter and the film started showing tanks rolling down the center boulevards of Moscow because those who are leading the coup had the military behind and the tanks stopped and the people like people always in the herd shrunk back into her, and once again the forces of tyranny and of evil were about to imprison the nation.
And then I saw when I couldn't believe with my deceit. One may one man against the herd, one man steps out of the crowd.
One man with courage in the presence of tanks and an organized political coup runs up and jumps on top of the tank and screams of the people who are said no.
This is wrong and it the day before people hadn't heard a name of Boris Yeltsin and that one moment he became an international hero was religious convictions, but I know is a man with moral courage. A man who said no to the crown. A man who said no to the herd. Amanda said yes to what is right is what Chris is about bottom line Christianity is that we are called to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. That's an ethical mandate and if the rest of the world doesn't believe there is such a thing as right or wrong. As I said in a relativistic culture. Nobody's a consistent relativist. We know that he said that there are no absolutes except the absolute there's absolutely no absolutes that is a self-defeating state people suitably really all rules of right and wrong until you steal the property. The moment you take your private property there jumping up and down saying that's not fair that's not right though the myths of moral relativism is modern man's attempt to create an ethical license for sin to call evil good and good evil, of course, if there is no God, there is no good. There is no evil.
And it doesn't matter who jumps on the tank and who jumps up the Christian life and worldview seeks to establish the rules of thinking the rules of determining how we know what is true because not everything that everybody says is true. Maybe that's what has them so preoccupied. Maybe sitting here wondering who in the world is speaking the truth you trust is telling the truth. How do you know that's a question of epistemology. Ultimately, what is the truth. What is it the question of business. What is real old, that's a metaphysical question who is the truth is a theological question. How does the truth relate to me and defined me is an anthropological question and how the truths commands me is an ethical. These are the elements of a Christian life and will ignore one of you will have a distorted view of the world and of your you know this is the kind of teaching that drew me to RC back in the early 90s. I only heard these concepts in the classroom and they see brother abstract to me but to hear Dr. scroll bring a Christian biblical worldview to these intellectual ideas work with powerful and that's why I hope you request this series there are five messages and we will add them to your online learning library. When you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. Once you've made a request will also send you Dr. scroll series. The consequences of ideas or 35 messages there surveying Western thought through the centuries. RC shows is the impact of these ideas on world events. Theology and culture. You can request it along with a series blueprint for thinking when you call us at 800-435-4343 or when you go online to Renewing Your Mind.org.
Let me also invite you to take a look at our library of podcasts you can travel back in time with Dr. Stephen Nichols and his podcast five minutes in church history, experience new moments of insight from Dr. scroll's lifetime, a Bible study on ultimately with RC scroll and you can find biblical and theological answers on ask Luca Lear subscribe on your favorite podcast out to take this trusted teaching with you on the go, but within Christianity.
Two concepts will almost always cause controversy is your total depravity and predestination next week. Dr. Steven Lawson joined just to show how those two documents are clearly taught in the Gospel of John. I hope you make plans to join this beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind