Understanding the Battlefield Landscape
Morality is the third element of the battlefield landscape I want to consider. There might be other elements that someone else may choose to expand on, but for my purposes I am limiting my discussion to the three I have already mentioned. The moral argument could be complicated, but I want to discuss it from the spiritual warfare perspective. In order to make a coherent presentation, I accept, as a given, the premise that moral concepts are both universal and spiritual in nature. Moral conduct is a spiritual element in the human consciousness because its source, which is the expectation of pursuing what is good, cannot be traced to any chemical, biological or physical processes. Additionally, the results of morally objectionable behaviors, such as guilt and shame, are spiritual responses to physical actions. Morality is universal because every culture has a general understanding of right and wrong, however rudimentary it may be. Even if each culture had adapted those concepts to fit within their particular cultural expression, it is accurate to say all cultures have an understanding of good and evil. In discussing morality as a battlefield element, I will consider God’s moral law as a direct result of our creation in God's image.
Let me provide some parameters for our discussion by defining three basic terms. First, let me define morality. Morality is always in reference to behavior that is congruent with God’s character that gives meaning to God’s design for humanity’s personhood qualities. That is, we were created in God’s image and, as such, all the behaviors that resembles God’s character is moral, by definition. Since most people know the difference between right and wrong, they will feel a sense of guilt and or shame when acting contrary to God’s design.
I think it is important to note that morality does not depend on any commandment. The knowledge of right and wrong is a distinct human quality that depends on the freedom of the will. Since humanity was created in God’s image, moral conduct depends on the imprint of God’s character in humanity’s personhood qualities. Many people make the mistake of saying, or believing, that keeping the commandments makes people’s behaviors moral. Not so. The purpose for the commandments is to codify God’s character into a coherent code that people can use as a guide to adjust their behavior. For instance, the commandment "thou shall not steal," is a reflection of God’s character in that each person is born with the inherent dignity and right to self-ownership. Thus, if Joe takes property from John, Joe has violated John’s inherent dignity to own himself and the properties he has acquired through hard labor. Stealing is not immoral because the commandment says it. The commandment says it because it is a violation of God’s character, which is what makes stealing immoral. As we look at the landscape of the battlefield, the Church must fight to discover, define, and stay on God’s design if we are going to distinguish between morally good versus immoral conduct.
The second term I want to define is immorality. As stated above, if morality is functioning according to God’s design, immorality is behaving contrary to God’s design. For example, God designed men and women for companionship, to rule the earth, and for procreation. Biologically, the only legitimate sexual relationship is between a man and a woman because this is the only relationship that can reproduce, which was God’s primary purpose for sexual relationships. Therefore, all sexual relationships outside of the male/female relationship are, by definition, immoral. I propose to you that the potential for procreation is the physical expression that gives legitimacy to sexual conduct. Thus, even in couples who cannot reproduce, a biblical view of sexuality is confined to the male/female relationship. The reader can expand on this issue, but for this short essay suffice to say that all sexual activity outside the male/female relationship is illegitimate. On the battlefield landscape, the Church must function from the perspective that the enemy is always, always, promoting a distortion of God’s character and his design for humanity. Christians must recognize, and reject, all movements or ideologies that are promoting behaviors contrary to God’s character. On the other side of the equation, the Church cannot endorse, approve, or engage in conduct that explicitly promotes the rejection of God’s character.
The third term I want to define is amorality. I will suggest to you that the term amorality only applies to animals. All human beings have the capacity to know the difference between good and evil which is the requirement for moral conduct. There is a small percentage of individuals whose consciences have been so severely damaged that they function without any sense of guilt or shame. We call them psychopaths. These individuals represent a very small percentage of the population and, even they, do their immoral actions in darkness. While they may not feel any remorse for their behaviors, they know the rest of society will punish such behaviors. As a result they hide to avoid being captured or even killed. Animals are amoral because they do not have any sense of right and wrong, and they do not have the capacity to experience shame or guilt for their actions. Thus, when human beings behave without shame or guilt, they are behaving more like animals than they are behaving like humans.
The apostle Paul warned the church that a time was coming in which the reality of moral principles would be reversed. Paul’s concerned was that the unbelieving world would eventually get to the point in which God’s standard for moral behavior would be rejected or abandoned. Read Paul’s words with me: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
As long as people agreed to a common understanding of the difference between good and evil, there was always the possibility to make a coherent presentation of the gospel. However, when people’s consciences became ignorant or unable to grasp the drastic consequences of abandoning God’s standards for righteous living, no one is safe, and the Church can be persecuted with impunity. Once good is defined as evil, and evil defined as good, the Church can no longer coexist peacefully in such world. Individual unbelievers will be rescued by God’s grace as the Church continues to proclaim the gospel, but in this kind of world, the risk of persecution against the Church is a constant threat we must face.
Today, in the United States, as we study the battlefield landscape, we find that the unbelieving world has decided that heterosexuality (the relationship between males and females that results of procreation) has become offensive and evil to them. But the mental illness of gender dysphoria, (when a biological male believes he is a woman, or when a biological female believes she is a man) is not only encouraged by some sectors of society, but they demand that it must be celebrated by all. Our government and institutions of learning, from kindergarten to the most prestigious university campuses, are also pushing for the acceptance of what amounts to a mental illness. The current administration has named a transgender individual to the Health and Human Services Department. Imagine that. The American government has literally named a person with a mental psychosis to lead mental health. If you ever heard the phrase, “the inmates are running the asylum,” you do not need to look any further than the US government circa 2021. This push to accept immoral attitudes and behaviors will eventually be turned into an attack against the Church. (NEXT: spiritual warfare tactics)