The following is from my book, “Integrity – The Last Great Battle.”
Why, exactly, do we need moral integrity? What, exactly, is moral integrity? Can there be individual integrity without a moral basis?
There is no possibility of the successful development of a society without a common value system to order the daily affairs of its members. It simply cannot withstand the pressures or heat that it must move through any more than the could the Titanic or the Columbia. Even if there are only two individuals, there must be a set of ground rules by which one may relate to the other. In fact, an individual cannot function alone without a certain sense of purpose and worth. In other words, there must be a proper sense of being and adequate rules to live by. Recognizing this basic human need brings us face to face with the need to question who, or what, has the right to mandate or decree a set of moral values that could be the framework or basis of integrity? Is mankind left to itself to develop and establish such a critical framework for interpersonal relationships, or is there someone who holds the right to hold the plumb line from which all society might gain direction?
We cannot speak of being moral without believing that there might be an absolute standard of behavior that would qualify a person as being moral or immoral. If, as we read in Chapter One, in my book, Integrity – The Last Great Battle,” integrity is partially defined as, the quality of having strong moral principles, then morality must be defined to the degree that all people within a given community could agree as to the absoluteness of its standard. And if we understand being moral to mean being concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior, the goodness or badness of human character, and adhering to a code of behavior that is considered right or acceptable, or a standard of behavior, a principle of right and wrong, then we begin to see the need for an established and accepted norm of moral values.
Reverend James Robison, in his article, Defining Evil, distributed in August, 2006 observes the following concerning this very thought:
There is much in our world that doesn’t make sense. Today, we discover another plot to commit mass murder.
Tomorrow, someone will try to justify it. Just when logic and wisdom tell you that something is right or wrong, a whole hoard of voices tries to convince you differently.
Hezbollah shattered the fragile peace between Lebanon and Israel by crossing an internationally-recognized border to kill and capture Israelis, then began a rocket attack that has surpassed 2,000 launches in three weeks, yet the United Nations condemns Israel for a “disproportionate response.” Islamo-fascists have routinely rioted, bombed and terrorized Europe, yet many Europeans view America as the greatest threat to world peace.
Domestically, millions of living human beings have been killed while still in the womb, yet those opposing abortion are labeled as oppressors of liberty. Homosexual activists continue to impose their sex acts upon a nation that prefers monogamous, heterosexual families, while blasting defenders of marriage as “radicals” and “hate mongers.”
When former President George W. Bush vetoed a bill to fund embryonic stem cell experiments on moral grounds (instead favoring more advanced, alternate stem cell research), Iowa Senator Tom Harkin viciously attacked him for standing up for his convictions. “He is vetoing it because he says he believes it is immoral,” Harkin said. “Mr. President, you are not our moral Ayatollah — maybe the president, nothing more.”
Apparently, possessing any sense of right and wrong makes you the most radical of extremists. If that’s the case, then count me in. I do believe in right and wrong, good and evil. (And what’s with the phrase “maybe the president?” Does Harkin still view Al Gore as “the real president?”)
Everyone wants to claim the moral high ground, but who determines which way is up? What is right and what is wrong? Is it larger than the individual person, or do we each decide what is right in our own eyes?
To determine right and wrong, we need to start with some absolutes: what is evil and what is good. Here are a few thoughts and examples. There are many more.
- Goodness values life. Evil destroys it.
- Goodness protects innocence. Evil exploits it.
- Goodness regrets the loss of innocent human life. Evil dances in the streets in celebration.
- Goodness seeks reconciliation. Evil never forgets and certainly never forgives.
- Goodness shares the blessings of wealth and abundance. Evil hides and hordes it.
- Goodness honors truth and justice. Evil rewards deceit and tyranny.
- Goodness tears down evil in order to rebuild a better society. Evil targets goodness in order to create chaos.
- Goodness produces prosperity. Evil results in poverty.
- Goodness enables common people to reach their full potential. Evil subjugates all people to prevent any success.
- Goodness finds cures to diseases that plague mankind. Evil releases disease to annihilate populations.
- Goodness expresses heaven on earth. Evil brings hell.
As we debate the merits of various social policies and political positions, we must return to absolute truth to evaluate our decisions. We all like to think of ourselves as “right,” but at the same time, are we “good?”
Most of the West is “great” because the people are “good.” If we fail to hold to goodness, we risk falling prey to all kinds of evil.
My premise here is that the greatness of the people hinged on their common belief in basic biblical truth.
The book, “Integrity – The Last Great Battle,” is available on Amazon.com, Kindle Books, and at Wellspring Publishing