TIM WILDMON: Defining values seen necessary

By Tim Wildmon

Do you know the favorite Bible verse of those who don’t believe in the Bible’s authority? It’s not hard. The favorite is, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
These folks cannot tell you where this verse is in the Bible, or the context, because they don’t read it. But they have heard it is in the scriptures somewhere, so if they don’t like something you say when you pronounce something right or wrong, they whip out Matthew 7:1 and that is supposed to be the end of the discussion. One of the problems is if you tell someone they have no right to judge someone else you have thereby judged them for judging. That makes you a hypocrite. But that then begs the question – why is it wrong to be a hypocrite? Presuppositions need a foundation to be authoritative. For example, the teachings of Jesus Christ are authoritative for those who believe he is the son of God.
Each one of us has a worldview on which we base our lives – presuppositions we operate under. Because of our country’s Christian heritage most Americans, either consciously or subconsciously, derive their presuppositions about life and morality from the Bible. Ask a man on the streets of Tupelo if lying is right or wrong behavior and he is going to tell you it’s wrong. Ask who decided lying was wrong they will either say, “It just is,” or, “My parents taught me it was wrong,” or “The Bible says so.” However, “It just is,” is not an answer to the question; it is an opinion. “The Bible says so,” is a legitimate answer because if you believe the Bible is God’s word, then you want to obey God so you don’t fall into disfavor with a supreme being who can control your eternal destiny.
A lot of Americans will say they subscribe to the idea that a person should be free to do whatever he wishes “as long as it does not hurt anyone else.” This view again is based on the presupposition that freedom is “good” and it is morally wrong to hurt someone else. Who made these rules? Who says freedom is morally superior to bondage? And why is it wrong to hurt someone else? Who says? To injure or hurt someone else goes against biblical teaching. The “Golden Rule” was given to us by Jesus Christ.
Some other cultures in the world use the atheistic state government as the agent for defining what is right or wrong behavior. It’s called totalitarianism. In Muslim countries, Islamic law and teaching dominate behavior. Most European countries have what’s left of their Christian heritage although the continent itself today is mostly secular, with Islam rising as a possible replacement.
It is a healthy exercise to ask ourselves where we get our moral values that govern our lives. Is it each person for himself, or do we acknowledge a higher power with authority to declare such?
Community columnist Tim Wildmon is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.