Monday, August 15, 2005

Moral, Immoral, Amoral

Is there such a thing as an "amoral" decision? Some friends and I were discussing this issue yesterday in light of the passage of Scripture that tells us unless something is done in fath, it does not please God (and therefore is sin). So the question then becomes this... when I decided to don the pink shirt I am wearing, I didn't do it "in faith"... so does that mean that wearing this shirt is a sin?

So I am curious to hear from those of you reading... what makes a decision "amoral"?

13 comments:

Erin said...

what was the scripture?

Carissa said...

Todd, I assume that you mean that you didn't really consider any moral standards when choosing that shirt, over any other shirt, out of your closet? To keep it simple (and not make this a million miles long, as you well know I can do!), I think that because you know that no one around you would consider it "wrong" or "right" for you to wear a certain shirt, it wasn't an issue of moral concern. If pink was always a sign of some sort of Biblically immoral behavior, then it would become a moral decision, or one that would require faith (or lack thereof). But I assume you did have faith that the shirt would stay buttoned and cover you, since it probably would be a "moral" issue if you showed up to work shirtless!

Steven W. Murray said...

Great question. Steve Stroope spoke on this exact topic years ago at METRO. I tried to dig through my stuff, but can't find my notes. You might want to see if HFBC has tapes. I think it was in the summer of 1999.

Laurie said...

The passage I think you're referring to is Romans 14:22-24 "So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin."

So based on the assumption that this is the correct passage, here are my thoughts.

In context, Paul is talking to the Roman church about eating clean or unclean food (or food sacrificed to idols). He tells them neither side is right, you can eat the food or not eat the food, it doesn't matter. What matters is if you condemn your brother for eating (or not eating). On the flip side, if you are convicted about not eating but do so anyway because everyone else tells you it's ok, then that is a sin because you are not making that decision in faith but rather in your flesh.

That's what I take away from the passage.

So if you have doubts about wearing the pink shirt...;)

Todd Richards said...

That is the passage... and those are good thoughts.

susannah said...

you're wearing a pink shirt??

Erin said...

personally, i think it takes a lot of faith for a man to wear a pink shirt - and more guys should wear that color more often because it is GREAT...that and baby blue. well, maybe not so much faith but rather security. anyways...long live guys who wear pink, i think it's fab.

susannah said...

I like pink on guys, too. Just giving you a hard time, Todd......

Daniel said...

Here is the amplified: "For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful]."

Here is a personalized and *very* amateur translation of the Greek:
"Anything I do without affirmation [by the Spirit] as to its truth [or correctness] is a missing of the mark."

Is it unreasonable that anything we do without the Spirit's leading misses the mark? Even if that is something as simple as what clothes we wear? It sure is a good thing Jesus fills that gap for us.

Now, with regard to the context of Paul's statement here, maybe he's emphasizing the importance of this way of living (by the Spirit) in the middle of community.

He just got through talking about giving up our pride for the sake of serving each other (chapter 12) and submitting to authority and loving your neighbor (chapter 13)

Maybe chapter 14 could be summed up in a few statements: Pursue what builds the body and don't allow tradition to cause disunity. In order be effective in this pursuit; don't do anything without being lead by the Spirit.

What do you think? Am I missing the mark? I'm definitely open to being wrong here... fascinating stuff.

Karla said...

I'm just wondering, did you cause anyone to stumble in that pink shirt?

Perhaps if it were a pink shirt with the outline of a buff guy on it, there would be a moral connection to the choice of shirt, because as some of us (who will remain nameless) learned this weekend, the buff body outline on a t-shirt can be a stumbling block in your sisters' lives.

Additionally, if you had chosen the pink shirt intentionally to declare your lifestyle preference on 6th Street in Austin during Gay Pride week, then there would definitely be a moral connection to the choice.

However, if you put on the shirt without really having a moral intentionality to it, then I say it was an "amoral" decision.

Todd Richards said...

I find it interesting that the color or my shirt became the focus of this thread... as opposed to the actual issue at hand. However, I do appreciate all of the comments.

At the end of the day... we are do live by faith. So whatever we do, it should be from faith... but I am still not sure how that translates from major issues in life to insignificant ones. I guess I will have to continue seeking the Lord on it...

Anonymous said...

while you're pondering that...how about returning a brother's repeated attempts to contact you...

dennis said...

Late as the comment is (over a month), the issue to which you refer has to do with morality versus immorality versus ammorality. The latter refers to issues that do not have a moral code or responsibility attached, such as many of those things that we do all the time. Eating for example is something that we do every day. Assuming we choose to eat things that are reasonably good for us, the choice itself is simply whatever we prefer, rather than worrying about whether or not we are sinning if we eat BBQ from Luther's instead of Goode Co. Morality becomes much more important when we begin to eat more than we ought, which results in gluttony. The same principle applies to shopping, sleep, how we spend our free time, and many other things.
As many have already mentioned, there are things that figure into these as well, such as cultural expectations and the like (meat is not often sacrificed before idols in Texas, as far as I know), but in general the "ammoral" decision is one in which we are at liberty to make on our own. Besides that, if we believe the Bible (and it seems that all of us who are commenting do), then we can trust that God does indeed order the steps of a righteous man, and therefore if we are indeed seeking Him, we can trust that the ordinary decisions that we must make every day are not matters that we must seek a specific word from the Lord upon before we can make them. If you want to wear a pink shirt, go for it. We won't think you're different or anything ;), but like Carissa said, at least wear something!