“Past All Moral Sense”
WOULD you trust the doctor that changed the temperature scales on the thermometer to make the fever normal? That would remove the fever from the patient’s chart, but would it not remain in his body? To say the sick are well does not cure the sick. To change the label does not eliminate the problem. To deny the disease does not halt death. Such tactics would be more than futile endeavors to hide the doctor’s failure; they imperil the life of the patient by camouflaging the danger. You may think you need nothing, while actually lacking your real need: “You say: ‘I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all,’ but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.”—Rev. 3:17, NW.
Many of the modern social scientists are just such “physicians of no value.” (Job 13:4) They are not scientists in the true sense of the word, but appropriate that classification for themselves to give their work an unearned standing by associating it with pure science. Pricking their bubble of outward show and pretension, a scientist wrote of them: “A social scientist prefers the more long-winded expression every time, because it gives an entirely spurious impression of scientificness to what he is doing.” After listing instances where their findings are unreliable because of the unpredictable human element involved, this writer added: “But they are no more affected by them than the asylum inmate is by being told that he is not Napoleon.” Concerning the rash of polls they conduct he observed: “The result is guesswork clad in the long flowing robes of gobbledygook.” Which means the inflated, involved, obscure verbiage found in pompous pronouncements.
Recently social scientists have made sex surveys that show an appalling collapse of morals. The accuracy of the findings has been questioned by many. Nevertheless, the over-all picture of widespread immorality cannot be challenged, and it stands as a confirmation of Bible prophecy that in the last days men would be lovers of themselves and lovers of pleasures, without self-control and without love of goodness at a time when “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” Conditions now match those prior to the flood of Noah’s day, when “Jehovah saw that the badness of man had become great in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13; Gen. 6:5; Matt. 24:37, NW.
But after these glorified pollsters under the guise of science have conducted their survey of people who like to air their sex adventures, what remedies do they offer for the moral ills they found? None. In some respects it is normal and advantageous, they say. It is the Bible’s moral code that they view as sick, unhealthy for modern men to follow. Instead of men striving to meet good standards, they would lower the standards to meet bad men. Thus they would remove guilt by closing their eyes to wrong. They practice a kind of Christian Science in the field of morals. Of such Jehovah declared: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!”—Isa. 5:20, 21, RS.
They do not approve of holding to God’s standards, but approve as proper freedom the practicing of immorality. Actually, immoral persons have a disapproved mental view: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God nor did they thank him, but they became empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened. Although asserting they were wise, they became foolish. Therefore God in keeping with the desires of their hearts gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. And just as they did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting. Although these know full well the righteous decree of God, that those practicing such things are deserving of death, they not only keep on doing them but also approve those practicing them.”—Rom. 1:21, 22, 24, 28, 32, NW.
When those once immoral become Christians and abandon loose conduct in order to meet God’s law, their former lustful companions that are without such legal restraint speak abusively of them. To such reformed ones the Bible says: “The time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations when you proceeded in deeds of loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, and idolatries that are without legal restraint. Because you do not continue running with them in this course to the same low sink of debauchery, they are puzzled and go on speaking abusively of you.” Wrongdoers love company. It eases their own guilt when others share in their sins. They hate to have examples of moral uprightness confronting them. So, Christians, do not be disturbed when they “are speaking slightingly of your good conduct.” Their best defense of their badness is a diverting offense against your goodness.—1 Pet. 4:3, 4; 3:16, NW.
“SHAMEFUL EVEN TO RELATE”
Do not misunderstand. This is not arguing against proper sex education. Jehovah God created man and woman with the powers of sex for the purpose of producing offspring, and he set standards to guide in its use in cleanness. To understand the natural and clean functions of sex is beneficial. But such instruction is not gained by delving into filthy and degraded perversions done in secret and then relating them publicly. The mind is not cleansed by feeding on filth, no more than a sow is washed by wallowing in the mire. Real Christians are neither prudes shocked by clean sex nor perverts stimulated by sexual immoralities. Their mind is open to clean instruction but closed to degrading obscenities, in keeping with Bible counsel: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every kind or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people, neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks. Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; and quit sharing with them in the unfruitful works which belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving them, for the things that take place in secret by them it is shameful even to relate.”—Eph. 5:3, 4, 10-12, NW.
To feed minds on immorality builds up desires of fallen flesh that are otherwise kept subdued: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” (Jas. 1:14, 15, NW) Sex surveys are lewd word pictures in scientific frame or setting. Reading minds envision the immoral acts and may be enticed to copy them, especially when assured the majority are doing them. Also the inexperienced reader may learn of sordid acts for the first time, and in quest of new sex adventures may take up their practice. So the Bible wisely advises against publicizing such sins unless it is done as a warning to others to avoid them. Some reviewers of one of the latest widely publicized sex surveys put their critical finger on that exact vulnerable point. One of them wrote:
“An aspect of the discussion, which now centers around the report, is deeply concerned with the justification of making such a survey available to the general public. Can such a survey of behavior be made accessible to all without affecting the behavior of the readers and those who hear of it? Kinsey himself in discussing the advantages of an interview over a questionnaire points out that in the former the inexperience of some interviewees would be respected and writes: ‘But a questionnaire must cover all of the activities which the most experienced adult may have had, and there would be a variety of objections to undertaking such an exposition of all the possibilities of human sexual behavior in the course of a single interview.’ The obvious extension of this remark is that there might be also a variety of objections to exposing all the possibilities of human sexual activity to inexperienced readers as well.”—Natural History, October, 1953.
Minds filled with such thoughts may lay plans for expressing them in actions, contrary to the advice: “Do not be planning ahead for the desires of the flesh.” Instead, “Put away all moral badness.” Rather than plant filthy ideas in the mind, “put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” It is by taking in accurate knowledge of God that former unclean practices give way to decent conduct: “Deaden, therefore, your body members which are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of those things the wrath of God is coming. In those very things you, too, once walked when you used to live in them. But now really put them all away from you, wrath, anger, injuriousness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality which through accurate knowledge is being renewed according to the image of the one who created it.” It is by now rejecting impure thoughts and taking in edifying ideas that you can “quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over.”—Rom. 13:14;1 Pet. 2:1; Jas. 1:21; Col. 3:5-10; Rom. 12:2, NW.
“MARKED IN THEIR CONSCIENCE AS WITH A BRANDING IRON”
Christians obey God not only out of a fear of his wrath, but also and primarily out of a good conscience, a conscience trained in its sense of right and wrong by God’s Word. Paul stressed that point when admonishing Christians to be subject to Jehovah and Christ: “There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience.” Men speak of the conscience as a guide; so does the Bible. It says that when persons who do not know Jehovah’s law do things “their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused,” according to whether the things are good or bad. But since “the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” without guidance from God’s Word, it is only the divinely educated conscience whose prickings and proddings constitute a safe guide. Only it fits the description: “The conscience of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching the whole innermost being.” It must be kept clear, clean and sensitive if we are to “hold a good conscience.”—Rom. 13:5; 2:15, NW; Jer. 10:23; Prov. 20:27, AT; 1 Pet. 3:16, NW.
But what about those who turn a deaf ear on the voice of their conscience, or rationalize their misdeeds to silence the legitimate protests of conscience? To go roughly and heedlessly against its cries hurts it, and to rub against it and wound it repeatedly will force it to callous and scar over for its own healing and protection. The Bible describes those who do that as being “marked in their conscience as with a branding iron.” When flesh is seared by a hot branding iron the mark left becomes scarred tissue void of nerve endings and sense of feeling. Consciences so marked are rendered incapable of sensing right or wrong, and their owners have become more “like unreasoning animals born naturally to be caught and destroyed,” in that beasts have no conscience. Like animals, such men view sex as merely a biological urge to be satisfied rather than as unselfish love. Like animals, such men have become insensible to high principles of conduct and have degraded past all moral sense. God’s Word warns Christians away from such mental darkness and alienation from godly living: “You no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every kind with greediness.”—1 Tim. 4:2; 2 Pet. 2:12; Eph. 4:17-19, NW.
The concern of thinking persons today is not just the moral collapse, but the calloused indifference to it and acceptance of it, the insensibility and hardness of heart toward it, the deterioration of many “past all moral sense.” This moral decay spreads far beyond sexual morality; it honeycombs all the thoughts and acts of mankind. A leading United States magazine queried: “Have morals gone out of style?” Clergyman R. J. McCracken pointedly asked: “Is the moral tone of the nation—its politics, its business life, its literature, its theatre, its movies, its radio networks, its television stations—Christian?” Confused cleric Reinhold Niebuhr puzzled over the moral collapse: “It is not quite clear why everything seems to have gone wrong in man’s actual history.”
THE OUTCOME OF THE MORAL COLLAPSE
It is quite clear to those who believe and understand the Bible. They know that Satan is the god of this system of things, that the whole world lies in his power, that demonic propaganda fills the entire inhabited earth as Satan is confined to its vicinity, that the real foes of men are the wicked spirit forces, and that the only sure protection is for men to “put on the complete suit of armor from God” Jehovah. (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 16:14; 12:12; Eph. 6:11-17, NW) This wisdom from God’s Word may appear foolish to men saturated with worldly wisdom. So they turn from the Bible to imbibe the philosophies and theories of men. They turn from the only sure protection and leave themselves defenseless before the invasion of demonic influences. Even the knowledge they accumulate they use in degraded and depraved ways, hastening their own moral decay. Ensnared in their craftiness, blinded by their own conceit, they are unable to see that the woes of our time are in fulfillment of Bible prophecy and are the last spasms of a dying system of things. Their worldly-wise ridicule of the Bible blinds them to the incoming, righteous “new heavens and a new earth.”—2 Pet. 3:3, 4, 13, NW.
The moral collapse is more than a foretold sign of the last days of this wicked system of things. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) It is a divider of men, a separator of lovers of righteousness and morally indifferent evildoers. While the majority shrug off the immorality as normal, a minority of righteously disposed persons are deeply disturbed and grieved by it. They are like Noah, who refused to walk with his fellow man whose wickedness “had become great in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” They are like Lot, for “that righteous man by what he saw and heard while dwelling among them from day to day was tormenting his righteous soul by reason of their lawless deeds.” They are of the class that “sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done.” They are the ones who will be delivered at Armageddon to life in Jehovah’s new world of high morality. The bumper crop of evildoers indicates the nearness of the destructive harvest: “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.”—Gen. 6:5; 2 Pet. 2:8, NW; Ezek. 9:4, AT; Ps. 92:7.
By their course people are deciding to champion morality or accept immorality. Do you favor scuttling the standards because few live up to them? Because many sink should everyone drown? From those struggling in the seas of immorality social scientists would take their life belts and throw them a rock. The Bible standards are life preservers to those who cling to them. Do not let your mental grip on righteousness be loosened by taking filth into your mind, but keep integrity strong by filling your mind with pure thoughts, as advised: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.” Right thinking is the key to good behavior. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things.” “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”—Phil. 4:8; Matt. 12:34, 35, NW; Prov. 23:7.
So fill the mind with what is good to avoid being snared by what is bad. To reap what is good we must first sow what is good. And we must keep on sowing good until harvesttime, unweakened by the moral collapse, never giving out: “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit. So let us not give up in doing what is right, for in due season we shall reap by not giving out.”—Gal. 6:7-9, NW.
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