British Olympic diver Tom Daley is a heart-throb and pin-up for teenage girls around the world, but he recently got the attention of the popular media. "I met someone that made me feel so happy, ...and that someone is a guy!" As a heterosexual, he revealed his "whole world changed," but why? "I met someone that made me feel so happy, so safe, everything just feels great!"
Tom Daley openly expressed his feelings. He was applauded for coming out and speaking up, so we have the right to ask an honest question: does this mean moral boundaries are our flexible friend? Morality is always a hot topic and conversations get heated around the water cooler, so if you're willing to stand up and speak out, it's important to be prepared...
First, relax and take a deep breath. This is an emotive issue and many lose the opportunity by losing their cool. People have different views on this subject, Christians are not responsible to make anyone believe anything, and it's not our job to try.
Second, Christians are responsible to share what we believe and why we believe it - with love, gentleness and respect. So it's important to ask the question: do we really determine what we can do by reflecting on how we feel?
There is a vague expectation that we ought to be allowed to draw our own moral boundaries, but dig deeper and things start to get interesting. Where do we draw moral boundaries and why?
"We ought to leave other people alone to do what they want!" ...but you don't support those who want to abuse children and animals.
"No, I mean you can do what you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else!" ...so if your behaviour hurts my feelings, you'll stop?
"No, I mean you can do what you want as long as you don't physically hurt someone else." ...why think physical hurt is more damaging than emotional or psychological pain?
"Well, at the end of the day it's a cultural thing!" ...you realize in some cultures people love their neighbors, in other cultures they eat them!
"I mean to say, times have changed, morality has evolved!" ...assuming morality today is better than morality yesterday is just chronological snobbery.
"Look around, it's up to the majority!" ...the pages of history are stained with the horrors of bowing to the majority.
People cannot avoid drawing moral boundaries, and the person who says "there are no moral boundaries" has just drawn a boundary - ruling out those who say there are moral boundaries. However, the real issue is that people generally want to draw moral boundaries (e.g., I regularly demonstrate this by bringing up the issue of human trafficking) but cannot agree on a legitimate source of moral authority. Where do we find a standard we can all look up to? And this is the (turning) point: stop looking around and start looking up!
If God does not exist there are no moral absolutes, and morality is our flexible friend.
If there are moral absolutes, then we've just discovered a critical piece of life's puzzle: God exists.
We cannot defend absolute morality without an absolute standard, and when we recognize there is a way the world ought not to be, we have affirmed - whether nor not we realize it - there is a way the world ought to be. As CS Lewis said, "a man does not call a line crooked unless he already has an idea of a straight line."
We don't know too much about the one holding the pen and drawing the line - at this point, but we've taken a huge step in the right direction. Recognize absolute moral standards and there must be an absolute moral authority, and the only absolute moral authority above and beyond us is God. We cannot appeal to the natural world, since people choose to do things that seem unnatural, and at this point we move beyond recognizing what is to affirm what ought to be.
This should send us on a quest to find out more about the being who is our source of moral authority, and this question flows into another wonderful conversation....
Author and speaker.