In my opinion, one of the most interesting discussions related to religious studies is that of morality. I won’t deny the fact that many power-hungry people throughout history have used Christianity and the name of Jesus in the wrong way for selfish gain. However, the message of the Christian Bible is one of love and restoration.
Particularly in the New Testament world where the civil and ritual laws are not specifically renewed from the Old Testament, the moral laws do still stand providing guidance to us for what a Christian life should look like.
In fact, every ‘good’ Christian knows that they shouldn’t do things like lie, cheat, and steal. But many of us (probably all of us) still do it anyway. Why do people, knowing that it is wrong, still do these things? Behavioral economist Dan Ariely actually studied this, and shares his findings here…
[youtube nUdsTizSxSI Video :: Dan Ariely: Why we think it’s OK to cheat and steal (sometimes)]
Ariely’s findings here are interesting, but it raises even more questions in my mind. But I first think it is appropriate to examine myself in light of this research. I must ask these questions of myself before I ever point my finger at others accusing them of this type of behavior…
I know that my faith leads me to be honest, but do I give in to the ‘norm’ of my environment, and feel comfortable with my own dishonesty as long as I know others are not being truthful as well? What should the Christian response be to this sort of behavior? Should we justify ourselves based on other people’s behavior, or let the Word of God continue to be our standard?
I certainly feel like as Christians we should be aware of these tendencies that we all have. We should also regularly evaluate ourselves and make sure that we are using the right benchmarks for morality. Thoughts?