Do the Right Thing: Biblical Principles of Ethics and Morality

CharltonHestonasMoses

By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor

Confusion reigns in today’s world when it comes to the subject of ethics and morality. Our whole society seems to have lost its way, including the government, the legal profession, churches, synagogues, and especially the public schools. Therefore, I propose that the following biblical principles should be widely taught and followed. In doing so, we should remember a couple things Jesus said. First, in Matthew 4:4, He says, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Also, in Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells his audience, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

  1. Objective moral absolutes exist; their existence is rationally inescapable. Why? Because to teach that objective moral absolutes do not exist (the only other logical option possible) is self-contradictory and, therefore, automatically false, because it teaches that we should not believe in objective moral absolutes, an assertion that is itself an objective moral absolute claim. Therefore, to say or imply that no one should believe that objective moral absolutes exist is therefore automatically and inescapably false, which makes the other view automatically and inescapably true. It’s like someone saying to you, “You are a bad person (or an ignorant person) for judging other people.”
  2. Every human being has a duty to obey these absolutes, no matter their race, sex, nationality, location, social status, economic status, ethnicity, or culture. For example, it is always wrong to torture an infant for fun or profit. Everybody must obey this rule.
  3. Some objective moral absolutes are actually more important than others, however. Thus, it is perfectly OK to lie to a Nazi who asks you whether you are hiding any Jews in your basement. In this case, saving an innocent human life takes immediate priority over telling the truth because the Nazi has evil motives and wants to unjustly imprison or even torture and kill the Jews who might be hiding in your basement. This rule is sometimes called graded absolutism, but you have to be careful with it so that you don’t fall into the trap of believing the ends justifies the means.
  4. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind – Mark 12:28-31 and Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
  5. Love your neighbor as yourself – Mark 12:28-34 and Leviticus 19:18.
  6. Human life always takes precedence over animal and plant life. It is always wrong, therefore, to save your favorite pet’s life before you save the life of a stranger. If you run into someone who thinks people should save their pets first, ask them if that attitude would apply to them if THEY were the one who is drowning! (I am in debt to author and pundit Dennis Prager for this particular rule.)
  7. Premeditated murder of an innocent human being with malice aforethought is always wrong. People who plan and commit such murders should executed by the government after they are convicted in a court by a jury of their peers under due process of their legal rights.
  8. It is OK to physically defend yourself, if you wish, against an attacker, but don’t hurt the guilty aggressor unnecessarily or excessively. Showing mercy to your enemies is always good, assuming they aren’t trying to kill you outright. This is especially true if they themselves show mercy to you or other people during their attack.
  9. Human life begins at conception. Therefore, it is morally wrong to kill an unborn child, except to save the life of the mother. Local and state governments have a duty to protect the life of unborn children.
  10. Honor the mother and father who are raising you or have raised you.
  11. Never kidnap or forcibly imprison an innocent person.
  12. Never steal another person’s property.
  13. Never tell a lie about an innocent person or to an innocent person.
  14. Never slander another person.
  15. It is always wrong to deliberately and secretly spread hurtful, personal gossip about a person, even if the gossip may be true.
  16. Always be polite to your elders and to other people.
  17. Never cheat on a test or a homework assignment.
  18. Never cheat or defraud other people out of their money or property.
  19. It is always wrong in a good society that’s not at war to maliciously destroy public property or the property of another person, unless you are trying to save the life of another human being who is innocent or who is in immediate danger (such as breaking down a door to help such a person).
  20. Sex before or outside of heterosexual marriage is always wrong; flee from it.
  21. It is always wrong for individuals to desire to possess another person’s private property, their children or their spouse.
  22. Always try to do what you can for an innocent person in physical, emotional or mental pain.
  23. Self-control and self-discipline are more important than self-esteem because self-esteem is not a moral absolute but self-control and self-discipline are.
  24. Always try to keep a clear, alert and rational mind. Becoming drunk or taking mind-altering drugs is wrong because they interfere with this moral absolute.
  25. Always value hard work because hard work breeds excellence and prosperity.
  26. Families should take care of their own members. If they cannot do so properly, then and only then may they seek help from other individuals, from private charitable organizations, from churches, and from other religious groups or institutions, but never from taxpayers or governments.
  27. High taxes and complicated laws are evil. All voters should support candidates who oppose high taxes and complicated laws. They should hold elected officials accountable for this moral standard if such officials violate it.
  28. True love does not delight in wrong behavior but rejoices with the truth. Thus, if a philosophy is right and true, then it is your duty to promote that philosophy in a spirit of kindness and justice. Traditional, historical Christianity is just such a philosophy. It requires all people everywhere to worship the one true God, as revealed in the ancient historical documents known as the Bible, which includes the New Testament documents.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” – Galatians 5:6.

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