Events in Ukraine captured the attention of the news media around the world, and out of the ashes of Kiev there was an air of optimism - hope for a better future. Many pointed the finger at the past, saying they do not want to go there. A desire for a new direction: to be more moral, ethical and respectful toward others. Most of us applaud these sentiments, but at critical times we need to ask critical questions: ask not what you do, ask the reason why you do it!
Whenever there is a sense of moral outrage – ask why this is wrong?
Whenever there is a desire to promote moral standards – ask what is our moral authority?
As stories of the former Ukraine President’s extravagances (and atrocities) hit the headlines, few if any were willing to defend him. Yet these were his choices. This is defensible according to moral relativism. What say those who defend our right to do what we want? He had risen to a position of power that allowed him to do what he did. This is defensible according to social Darwinism. What say those who (usually unknowingly) defend an evolutionary morality that genetically drives us toward our selfish ends?
The idea that human beings have intrinsic value and ought to be respected does not appear out of thin air, nor does it come naturally to many (the reason we lock our doors at night). It flows from a particular way of looking at the world, and whenever we stand up and say we know this is right - absolutely, it’s worth asking: how? why?
In A Jigsaw Guide to Making Sense of the World, I suggest the world is like a broken puzzle and every worldview claims to represent the picture on the box. That means it ought to serve as the right guide to life. That means it should help us put life’s broken pieces back together. That means it can be tested. Whenever a worldview falls short and fails to make sense of the world in key areas, it is a worldview found wanting – and it ought to be put back on the shelf.
A Christian perspective comes to the rescue and provides an absolute moral authority – God. All human beings have intrinsic value because they are made by God, for God and in the image of God. When it comes to the dignity of a human being, in the words of the song: the world didn’t give it, so the world can’t take it away! Our justification for defending the worth of every individual can be found in the Christian worldview, and this moral framework has consistently provided a platform for progress around the world.
Global events may shake us or encourage us, but at critical times we need to ask critical questions. It’s not enough to ask what you do, ask the reason why you do it.
Author and speaker.