The Morality of Mankind
by Benjamin Hammond
Recently I have been in a brooding state, and as I have come closer and closer to God I had a brief moment when I was outside of everything. I looked particularly at the ways of life that I live by, and that others live by from a point of view that I believe to be that of God. What I found was rather upsetting, or saddening. I took a look at the morals of myself and mankind, and in contrast to God’s pure and living morality for us it is gut-wrenching.
The closest human description of the way of life that I observed is Hedonism. The definition of Hedonism is as follows:
1. The pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence
2. The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and the proper aim of human life
This is what I believe to be the human moral structure. One must always remember that whatever you believe to be your moral structure does not make it your moral structure – but simply what you believe. Your moral structure is what you actually live by, wether you believe it or not. I believe that it is not good to steal from the cookie jar. But I do it everyday. Therefore, I am not living by the moral that I believe I should live by: Do not steal from the cookie jar. But I am living by the morality that seeks pleasure, and so I take the cookies anyway.
Wether you believe in constantly seeking pleasure or not, it does not mean anything unless you are actually doing it or not. Unfortunately, it seems as if the majority of our culture lives by a Hedonistic morality. You may have heard the expression, “Just have some fun.” It is usually directed at someone who has a strong moral system, or someone who has limits that they do not cross over. It is usually said to make that person forget their moralities for a moment, and gratify biological desires. The person directing this remark is showing all too well that to them, ‘Just having fun’ is all the more important than having a consistent moral system.
It is all too common today for people to spend a lot of their time over-stimulating their senses. Lights, loud music, wild body movements, intoxication, sex… etc. All of these things in today’s culture often constitutes a ‘good time.’
“So?” you ask, “What is wrong with that?”. Well… I could sit here and quote Bible verses at you, but it is possible that it won’t mean a thing to you. I may do so later for those who are interested, but for you who are not, I will argue from another perspective, and you are probably likely to agree with it. It is simply to do with the matter of health. A Hedonistic lifestyle is not healthy in almost every realm. Physically: The pursuit of pleasure will bring about things like drugs, drinking, smoking – all of which are commonly known as damaging to the human body. Mentally: Again, all these things affect mental health. Today the amount of people with mental health is rising extremely fast. It is thought that one day, those with instable mental health may become the majority. Spiritually: In a secular sense, all this things lead to a lacking sense of purpose. If your goal is to seek pleasure (knowingly or not) – depression can creep in, because your life will be about the moments at which hormones in the brain peak alone – that’s a life that is settling for chemical reactions as the ultimate goal. Suicide due to depression is soon to become the leading cause of death in the west.
Finally, from a Christian perepctive, I can only look at the ultimate purpose of a Christian – to glorify God and follow His Spirit.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. – Romans 8:13
I hate for it to sound so in your face, but there is no other way of putting it. The truth is, today, all people live for is the pleasures of this life, wether it be sex, money, or even say, the success of a business 40 years down the line. Hedonism is the closest I could get to a description of what mankind lives by, but it isn’t detailed enough. The morality I am trying to outline is simply everything that isn’t about glorifying Jesus. If it isn’t for God, it isn’t of any value. Because when this world passes away, everything in it will pass away, including all the pleasures we had and the succeses we made. All that will stand is what we have done for God. We can’t bring that wicked rave we had last weekend to God. It will be gone. That’s not what God is looking for.
In the end, if we seek pleasure as our ultimate end, we are not headed for the eternal joy that God can offer us. The road of Hedonism, or the road of seeking after things in this life leads to death. It leads to a place without God, and of pain and suffering. The morality of mankind – to gratify the flesh and the short life that we have – leads to a sad and forboding destination. But the pure and living morality of God – to do everything for Jesus – leads to life and eternal peace. God so badly wants people to know that. It hursts Him when he sees people living for pleasure rather than Him. Because he doesn’t want anyone to end up anywhere rather than with Him at the end of time, in His loving arms.