TW Viewpoint | Are You a Good Person?

January 25, 2017 | Jonathan Riley

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Do you consider yourself to be a good person? What makes one person stand out as being a good all-round individual, while another is labeled as a degenerate? We live in a society with laws. Yet what is legal today in some instances, was illegal in years gone by. Likewise what is illegal today, such a smoking marijuana or euthanasia, depending on your geographical location, could be legalised tomorrow.

Does it make sense to you that the definition of good has moving parameters?

The media and western society generally refer to this as progressiveness and whether you realise it or not we are standing on a sea of change. Experimental legal systems can sway one way or the other and the only boundary in place is public opinion.

History is littered with examples of dictators, corrupt governments and military coup d'état's making up the rulebook as they go along; from Napoleonic France, to Nazi Germany, to the Russian Bolshevik's and even further afield as far as Kim Il-Sung in North Korea and the Argentine Junta. Yet, in an almost undetectable way to the average citizen, for almost a century democratic governments have been shifting the goalposts and redefining morality based on public emotion, guided by the influence of western media.

Today we often hear morality described as something that seems right to the individual and that the judgement of right and wrong stems from the most basic of human emotions. So today's ethical approach on morality states that you are free to choose what is right and wrong... within reason. Of course there is no set standard for what constitutes "reasonable". What direction is your moral compass pointing in today?

French philosopher Joseph de Maistre famously wrote, "Every nation gets the government it deserves" and with everyone today doing what is right in their own eyes a stable, consistent and reliable source of law seems no longer possible. For the vast majority of mankind we have grown up in a country based on principles and standards founded on biblical laws. It is these laws which originally defined morality. Whether you grew up in the heart of the Punjab or in Booneville, Arkansas, your country and its legal system, at one point in time, would have been influenced by Biblical values.

This law was written for our benefit, not on legal size paper but on tablets of stone. They were not intended to be changed, for without them we would lose our anchor in a storm of human reasoning. Many today argue they were done away with and yet the author of these laws lived them as an example for us!

The description below includes a link to our free booklet on The Ten Commandments . This booklet is available online or in print and describes the rationale behind each of the Ten Commandments, examining the relevance of these laws from antiquity to the societies we live in today.

So I ask you again, do you consider yourself to be a good person? What if you are good only half the time? Is it reasonable for you to break some, but not all laws and what kind of judgement would you expect to receive if that was your line of defense in court?

Most would agree that the last six of the Ten Commandments should be kept. The fifth seems reasonable enough but how often is this the case in the family home? The Sabbath Day - what is that? How often do you hear God's name used purely as an exclamation mark for emphasis in day-to-day conversations? If we are not to make images of God to worship then why do most Christian churches hang a cross or an artist's rendition of what Christ looked like for them to be repeatedly kissed, touched or prayed to and finally what are your priorities in life?

If there is a law and there is a judgment, then what is your conviction?

I'm Jonathan Riley for Tomorrow's World Viewpoint.

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