Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ethics and Morality

I've always regarded 'ethics' as a 'Christian' field and have always associated it with 'morality'. However, I came across a few instances in which ethics have driven people to justify acts which were obviously contrary to the will of God i.e. morally wrong. This led me to seek a few answers which I have summarized below...

Ethics is defined as 'that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions'.
Morality is defined as 'conformity to the rules of right conduct.'

Don't you see the difference? Morality refers to an unchanging set of rules as to what IS right and what IS wrong, regardless of the society, culture, situation or era. However ethics is based on perception. Ethics weigh the pros and the cons of an issue or action from a human point of view - this balance may sometimes lead to a 'morally wrong' decision.

As Christians, we're not to focus on the 'ethics' of an issue, but its 'morality'. We ought not to weigh up its advantages and disadvantages i.e approach it with 'worldly wisdom' but focus on the truth explicitly stated in the word of God. The truth is unchanging, inerrant and infallible as it is from God - God makes the rules - however, we determine ethics, and if you haven't already noticed, we make mistakes!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Genetically Predisposed to Sin

During our Chemistry lesson, a friend decided to instigate a religious debate on homosexuality and its place in society. While asked, my obvious answer was that it is a sin, as the Bible clearly regards it as. Our low profile debate rapidly escalated involving various other members of the class and eventually the teacher. While there were many interesting, common misconceptions about this Biblical stance that were brought to light and battled with, there was one particular opposing argument that grabbed my attention...
While asked whether I felt homosexuality was 'natural', I replied 'no'. My friend immediately said that he believed it was a genetic predisposition, and many of my classmates agreed with him. This concept intrigued me immensely.

My mind wandered and wondered...

The obvious repercussion of the above scenario is that those who practice homosexuality will use it as an excuse to not restrain or mend their ways.

Reading 'DNA - The Secret of Life' by James Watson, I found out more about some serial killers .etc. having a 'genetic predisposition' to anger or extreme violence. This somehow semi-justified their actions. However, they've murdered - taken another life away! Even if one 'is' predisposed, their actions ARE NOT predetermined. Their actions are determined by their environment and various other personal factors .i.e. they still have the power to say 'yes' or 'no'.

Here's another scenario. Nick Vujucic is an inspirational man I dearly respect and love. Nick has tetra-amelia syndrome, also called autosomal recessive tetraamelia. This is characterized by the absence of all four limbs i.e. Nick was born with no arms and no legs. While he struggled emotionally as a child and teenager, he eventually found Jesus, found his purpose in life and now is beyond active. He swims, plays football, dives...name it! He is absolutely remarkable!
Nick could have wobbled in self-pity all his life and not persevered to do anything. However, despite being not just 'predisposed' but 'predetermined' to immobility, he still chose to move and be active. Have you heard of the saying 'Where there is a will, there is a way'? Well, he is the personification of that saying!

So what, if homosexuality turns out to be genetic! You STILL have to CHOOSE to practice it and yield to its pull. There is definitely a CHOICE involved. You can CHOOSE to live as a homosexual or have the will-power to resist the desired, repent and trust the Savior to work in you. You cannot just 'resist' without God's help and expect a change!

Predisposition and the Bible

Like the murderer example, many acts that the Bible states as 'sin' seem to have a genetic link. I wondered if this entire idea of a 'genetic predisposition to sin' is Biblical.

Galatians 5:16-17
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Romans 8:5
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on that what nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

I believe that the above verses hold a very strong implication to genetic predispostion to sin. The Bible tells us that it is 'natural' for humans to sin...that's funny...that's exactly what the world tells us!! Take lust for example, every human being is guilty of that. Why? Because it is 'natural'. Why is sin 'natural'? That is because of the original sin. We have a tendency to sin incorporated into our systems.
What God wants is COMPLETELY different. To not sin, we ALL NEED to act against our 'natural inclination' to do it. The Bible is very clear that what the Spirit demands is what our 'flesh' or what nature isn't used to.

So I guess, once again, science is too slow to discover something the Bible already speaks of!

What now?

Hebrews 2:18
Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.

God's ways are higher than our own. Whether we are 'naturally inclined to sin' or 'genetically predisposed' to it, we can STILL CHOOSE to say a big fat, firm 'NO'! Although we have the desire to sin, we still have the liberty to fulfill or dismiss this desire.
When we commit to God by trusting and relying on Him and the Savior's price on the Cross, He will help us let go of the sinful nature that is deeply rooted in our being.

Are you willing to CHOOSE to say NO to sin, despite your genetic predisposition to love and practice it?