There are two types of morality: Social Morality and Personal Morality.
Thanks to God’s grace (and imprint of His laws on our hearts), practically all cultures to ever exist have recognized basic communal rights and have Social Morality. This could be summarized by the “Golden Rule”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
But of course Christianity goes much further than this… Christianity says not only is it wrong to steal and murder, but to covet and hate. It says that there things are absolutely wrong, even when they do not affect other people. This is Personal Morality. Historically, Christians have attempted to create/enforce laws to govern morality according to their moral code (wherever possible), which includes both Social and Personal Morality.
Legislating Personal Morality
Non-Christians, of course, hate this. Why should a non-Christian care that Christians say homosexuality is wrong? Christians shouldn’t try to make others act like Christians. Previously, I came to this conclusion based on two primary factors:
- The Bible doesn’t suggest we should do it, and;
- It is pointless, since you can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians (i.e. homosexuality is the sin – not gay marriage).
But now I’ve thought it through more, and I believe that there is a deeper reason that Christians should not vote for or support legislating (Personal) Morality.
**We do not have to purposely support legislating Social Morality, as society will do this on it’s on**
Not only is there no biblical evidence for legislating morality (as in, ZERO) but the real issue is the merging of the culture at large with Christian culture.
In America, Christians (as a group) are practically indistinguishable from the rest of society. Why??? Is that really how it should be???
Because this nation was founded by Christians (much to the chagrin of atheists), most people have underlying Christian ideals – whether they recognize it or not. And over time, as Christians have legislated morality, the general populace has been molded to look and act like Christians in many ways.
But this has troubling implications.
The Merging of Cultures
You know that saying (actually it’s Newton’s 3rd law – not a saying, but anyways…)
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
It applies here. Christian culture has become just as heavily influenced by the Pagan (outside) culture as the influence they have and are exerting.
This is very confusing. Because there is one culture, rather than two distinct cultures, Christians are allowing Pagans to influence their morality.
Society has redefined modesty, love, and a host of other concepts. And Christianity has gone along the same lines, perhaps at a slightly slower pace, but towards the same end.
It is only when we see a discrepancy from the world’s morality (abortion, divorce, homosexuality, etc) to Christianity’s morals (where these should be incredibly rare) that we can recognize the benefits of Christian morality.
This homogeneity, or lack of a distinct difference between Christianity and the world also breeds a lot of “fake Christians.” A study showed 40% of people in London don’t believe in God, but 70% consider themselves Christian. Now how in the world is that possible!? It’s because people identify themselves as having Christian morals, but do not accept the underlying reasons for them. These people are not Christians at all, but they can call themselves that because we can’t tell the difference.
A good argument for legislating morality?
The best argument I’ve heard for legislating morality is that it is out of love – you love others and don’t want them to sin. I say that this is a wasted desire. We are ALL sinners, with nothing but wickedness in us.
Artificially reducing the outward signs of sins merely increases rebellion and reduces natural guilt, thus reducing the chances to recognize sin, the need for a Savior, and repentance.
And so it becomes clear: Legislating morality is actively REDUCING the spread of the Gospel – the exact opposite of our goals as Christians.
PS: There are times when societies fail to recognize communal rights for certain members – like with Jews, Slaves, etc through history. In such cases, I believe that Christians (along with everyone else) should do their best to ensure equal rights for these individuals.
I define the start of life as having a heart beat, and thus see abortion as the modern example of trampling communal rights, which makes stopping abortion an issue of social morality and not a strictly-Christian issue.