We Argue

May 14, 2020

Romans 2:15

15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

This idea comes by way of a man named C. S. Lewis. How many of you have heard people arguing, or have actually engaged in an argument yourself? Sandy and I have had some really good arguments over the years. Now, if you want all the details, my wife would be happy to provide them to you because I was the one at fault in every one of them, but here is what is interesting:

In an argument, nobody says, “Do what I want, because I’m smarter and stronger and a better arguer and I can force you to do what I want!” We don’t say that. When people argue, here are the kinds of things they say:

 I do way more than my fair share of work around this house, and you do way too little! We call those people…“husbands and wives.”

 He got a bigger piece of dessert. He got a bigger allowance! He did fewer chores. He got a later curfew time than I did, and it’s not fair! We call those people…“brothers and sisters.”

 You’re a miserable boss, and this is a dysfunctional sweat shop, and I am grossly overworked and criminally underpaid. We call those people…“unemployed.”

Here’s the kind of thing that happens, and C.S. Lewis writes about it in Mere Christianity. When we argue, we say things like, “That’s not right! That’s not good! You’re not being fair!” In other words, we appeal to a standard that is independent and objective and higher than you and me. We appeal to the idea that there is such a thing as right and wrong.

In theory, many people in our day hold the belief that right and wrong are subjective—just preference—just vanilla and chocolate. You have yours, and I have mine. Everybody is different.

An author named Dinesh D’Souza points out that in our society we will often hear this statement: “Don’t impose your beliefs on me.”

De Souza says he finds it interesting that we don’t say

Don’t impose your Geometry on me.

Don’t impose your Chemistry on me

Why not?

Because we assume that science and mathematics are about objective reality. So, we don’t think they can be “imposed” on us. But we often believe that morals and values are simply subjective preferences. You have yours. I have mine. It’s all just arbitrary.

Every time you hear two people argue, it shows we know better. We believe that moral reality is built into the way that life is.

This is exactly what Paul was writing about when he said:

“in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,”

Every human being knows two things:

There is a way we ought to behave.

There is a code, a standard. We might be fuzzy on the details of it sometimes, but we have a general idea of what it is. We know there is a standard that we all ought to live up to, and

We don’t live up to it…  We all fall short.

We need forgiveness. We need grace. We need to get fixed.

Every time people argue, they are implying that the universe is not an accident, that there is a moral order, and that there is a law of right and wrong that is built into the way things are, because it was put there by Somebody, and that Somebody was God.

Every time you argue, it is evidence for the existence of God.

 


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