Jake says, “That was morality; things that made you disgusted afterward.”
Jake would fit in well in our culture. Morality by feeling guides the conscience of the country, bringing about the culture wars: abortion, sex, free speech, hate speech, restricted speech, the environment, capital punishment, racism, sexism, etc. Whether or not you agree with the concepts outlined in the Ten Commandments, the removal of such a marker of morality throws open the door of ambiguity. I do not mean that some document like the Ten Commandments avoids all vagueness, yet without some solidified code, a republic, such as ours, governs by feeling.
One may argue this point by saying that we are governed by a “majority rules” system. We must not forget that this is a republic not a democracy. Rules are rarely voted on by the masses. Even then, do you think the majority of the masses make their decisions based upon what is best for all or what is logical or how they feel? What about the senators, congressmen, and judges who make decisions? Are they not swayed by feeling? Oh, they may couch their rulings in the language of law or precedent or logic, but were it so clear cut, dissent would be minimal. Our country, for good or ill, is governed by feeling.
That is why laws change. Peoples’ perceptions change. Television producer Yvette Lee Bowser said this, “Maybe if we can have a good laugh, we’ll all be less uptight about it.” She was referring to the promotion of an interracial show. Her interviewer then asked, “Sort of like what Will and Grace has done for gay issues?” I am not claiming some Hollywood secret homosexual agenda; I am just stating that we change as we become accustomed to ideas. And the feelings of this country have changed in the last 50 years about a lot of things: race, sex, and the environment seemingly being the hot topics at this time. Education has some effect on people. Logical arguments have some effect on people, but getting people involved emotionally has the largest effect.
We live in a secular society. The United States was set up as a secular society. To argue differently is to twist the facts. Now, a vast majority of those who made up the society in those days were religious and held to certain morals. But to say that because the people were religious equaled a religious government is a non sequitur. The views of the people of this country have changed. Therefore, it appears that our government is more secular.
So, Jake is right, not just about himself, but about our country as well. Yet, Jake really wouldn’t fit in here well. You see, things that disgusted him, might not disgust us today. That is why it is important to have a marker of morality that is less whimsical than my feelings. For me, that is the Bible. Is it immune from vagueness? Certainly not. Is it fraught with ambiguity and discrepancy as some claim? Certainly not. Do I understand it all perfectly? No. Does that invalidate it as a useful guide? By no means! I must look through a Biblical lens to determine my stance on any issue. Do any other lenses come into play? Certainly. The Church has an impact. The society and culture I am in have a say as well.
Feelings, however, are poor guides and fuzzy lenses.