While doing some research for my essay on euthanasia yesterday (for my MA course), I stumbled across a paper by Matthew Hosier which talked some more about the song our culture’s singing, and the song – or story – we need to play back to it.
He’s talking about ethics, and says:
We are engaged in a fight for worldview. We have a story to tell. This story doesn’t consist simply of isolated propositional truths – it really is a story.
It is a story of God and humankind revealed in threefold form as creator and creature, reconciler and sinner, redeemer and heir of God’s good future: Fall, Reconciliation, Restoration. Human life is truly understood and rightly ordered only as it is understood to be ordered in the light of this knowledge of God and human kind.
In telling this story we build a foundation for a thinking. The foundation does not shift, and what is built on top of it reflects the foundation on which it is built.
People who reject this worldview construt their own instead. They may try to live ‘moral’ lives, but with no real foundation for those morals, when they are challenged, they will be swept away, to be replaced by something that sems to fit better with the thinking of a society at any given time.
He highlights the example – which sounds perfectly logical and reasonable – of ‘consequentialist ethics’; i.e. a worldview in which right and wrong are determined by answering the question: “What will happen if I do x?” If the overall consequences will be negative, the reasoning goes, then the action must be wrong. Hosier suggests that instead we should ask:
“What is the will of God?” from which develops the subsidiary question, “What will be the consequences of obeying/disobeying the will of God?”
The subsidiary question will always have the same answer – obeying will lead to God being glorified; disobeying will lead to someone or something else being glorified for a moment, but swept away like used matchsticks at the end of time.
Obeying will very often seem the harder route, it may be counter-intuitive, and appear to lead to misery and hardship, but with God in control, it will always lead to life in all its fullness.