Falwell vs. Jackson

What are the ingredients for a successful marriage and family? Rev. Jesse Jackson disagrees with Rev. Jerry Falwell. Each works tirelessly to advertise their interpretation of the Bible. Sometimes they debate each other on national TV before millions of people. Each is very dedicated and sincere in their crusade to help America and the world find happiness. Unfortunately, there is no middle balance between them. What they teach is diametrically opposed. There is no gray area that they can compromise on. There is a clash between two irreconcilable moral positions.

Rev. Falwell would explain this deep division between the Right and the Left as a fulfillment of the prophecy in the Bible that says there will be terrible confusion in the Last Days. The Last Days are the end of the world. It is the time of the second coming of Christ. Millions, perhaps billions, of Christians for the last 2000 years have longed for the return of the Messiah to lead his people to a utopia. To many on the Right we are living in a time when it is darkest before the dawn. Mankind is living in depravity like a Sodom and Gomorrah that God will judge some day soon between sheep and goats. The Left are the goats; The Right are the sheep who are humble to their shephard. The Left, of course, sees sheep as having no personality and sense of humor. The Right sees goats as rebellious and disorderly.

Road to Hell

Those on the Left find this interpretation of the Bible false and disgusting. They do not interpret the Old and New Testaments as meaning that there is a "narrow gate" of absolute values that every person has to live by. They reject the orthodox, traditional interpretation of the Bible and think those who cling to them are narrow, reactionary, ignorant, vicious, arrogant bigots. The Right sees the Left as ungodly, immoral, stupid, possessed, irrational blasphemers. Both sides see each other as dangerous. One book about the televangelist Pat Robertson is titled, The Most Dangerous Man in America?. We disagree. We side with the Right and see that the Left harms Americans more than they help. They are naive and well-meaning, but they are the epitome of the phrase, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Conservatives often teach that this cultural war is between two fundamentally different views of the universe. The Mormon church is Conservative. In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism they write: "Three types of laws exist: spiritual or divine laws, laws of nature, and civil laws. Latter-day Saints are deeply and consistently law-oriented, because laws, whether spiritual, physical, or civil, are rules defining existence and guiding action. Through the observance of laws, blessings and rewards are expected, and by the violation of laws, suffering, deprivation, and even punishment will result."

Liberals denounce this view as being "rigid" and "narrow." They disagree and teach that God is bigger than laws. God is love and therefore loves everyone. Jesus, to a Liberal, would have no problem with someone having pre-marital sex, being a homosexual, and experimenting with many types of alternative marriages. They would say that God and Jesus are "flexible" and "creative" and would never want to put people into "restrictive boxes." Conservatives say love comes within laws; Liberals say love creates an exciting world where people make up new laws. Different strokes for different folks. There are, they say, many roads to heaven, not just one. How boring God would be if he had everyone a clone or robot. Liberals do not like Conservatives saying that order comes first, then love.

They see that love comes first, then order will follow. In the end, the debate is over what is the meaning of the word "love." Conservatives are very wary of focusing on feelings over principles. Liberals feel fenced in with absolute, universal laws and principles and want to focus on emotions and experimentation. The truth is that a great basketball player like Michael Jordan can enjoy his emotions and be creative and fulfill his potential uniqueness only within the many rules of the game. Without referees enforcing those rules, there would only be chaos. Of course, God is love and does not want a million laws. Ayatollahs want that. But God does have some rules for human relationships just as He has laws of nature such as the law of gravity. That law does not "box" anyone in. There are boundaries that everyone must live in, and if anyone ventures outside them, they suffer. God loves creativity. Just look at His creation. He is the ultimate artist. But we must never forget that God works His magic within natural laws.

Feelings vs. Principles

Rev. Jim Stephens wrote in a church publication about feelings vs. principles:

" ... the members of a youth gang experience "good feelings" in their relationships with each other. A man committing adultery with his mistress experiences "good feelings" in bed with her. Members of the Mafia experience "family" and "good feelings" in their relationships with each other. The action of "give and take" itself produces energy that "feels good".

What is the difference between the "good feelings" that these people experience and the "good feelings" that devout Christians experience in fellowship with each other? Are the "good feelings" of a lifelong Christian husband and wife equivalent to the feelings experienced by two adulterers? When Mother Teresa received "good feelings" helping lepers, were those feelings equivalent or similar in intensity to a drug induced euphoria?

The answer is yes and no. They are all basically an experience of energy. The energy from "give and take" feels good, regardless of the foundation of the relationship. However, one is like eating a lot of "junk food". It tastes great and you feel wonderful and happy eating it. But then later, what have you got? Nothing! You're not satisfied and maybe feeling guilty. You are hungry again. Your energy is gone quickly and now you need another "hit". A continuous diet of "junk food" leaves you very malnourished and susceptible to diseases. Worst of all, you don't know what's wrong because you're eating plenty of food and have a full belly and it "feels good". Well, I have to tell you that there are also "junk thinking" and "junk morals".

Some people decline so far as to think, "Whatever makes ME feel good, therefore IS good." Their own good feeling becomes the standard of "goodness". Notice that this is totally centered on the feelings of the individual. There is no external or OBJECTIVE standard.

If you have children, you probably notice that line of reasoning everyday. As parents, it is our responsibility to give our children not only the best in nutritional health but also teach them the highest moral principles for the sake of their spiritual health. Society is only a reflection of our collective spirit. What stage do you see around you? Are we moral toddlers, children, adolescents or adults?

What our society really needs is a new set of Parents and new standard of what is "good", a moral revival. We need a new objective explanation for what is "good", not one based on "feeling good". Jesus set the standard for love in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." Jesus also sets the standard for what an "adult" is on the moral yardstick.

Do you think that Jesus would use the word "adult" to apply to pornography shops? Would we find Jesus, the most "adult" of anyone who ever lived, in an "adult" movie?

We should stop letting "good" be defined by feelings and have the courage to force a public debate about good and evil. Feelings can never be a valid measurement of what is "good" or "bad".

Don't fall for it anymore! Stop being programmed by society and start talking back. The next time someone tries to sell you something that will make you "feel good", better "just say no". Follow your principles, not your feelings.

At the website for The Progressive magazine one person wrote in saying, "I fear a Puritanical chill coming on. William Bennett, Dan Quayle, and Abe Rosenthal say that anyone who has ever committed adultery is disqualified to be President. Do we really want Bennett, Quayle, Rosenthal, Kenneth Starr, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Buchanan all peeping into our windows to see whether we're in the missionary position?"