I watched an interview on Sky news yesterday where four young men described what they had done, when out rioting and looting. Their body language seemed to show some sense of guilt but their attitude and conversation indicated no remorse or regret. I was wondering if the current lack of teaching of morals in society has played a big part in this way of thinking. Should we be surprised that that the rioters do not think that they did anything wrong? I believe that everyone is responsible for their own actions but there is a sense in which we have set people up for this crazy way of thinking. We spend years teaching amoral principles in our schools, colleges and universities. Things such as - there is no absolute moral code, we are free agents to believe what we want and right and wrong depends on circumstances! Most people would defend our right to believe whatever we want i.e. we create our own framework which is flexible depending on our persuasions in life. But this approach does not work in business, on the street or in money matters to name just a few examples. We all know in our hearts that we need structures, rules and parameters to maintain a civilised society. The outcome of the current philosophy is that everyone does what is right in their own eyes. This ends in anarchy, social disorder and chaos! I know that a high percentage of society are decent people trying their best and they are disgusted at what they have seen recently. The truth is that most of the rioters are either young people or from a sector of society where behavioural boundaries are non existent or very weak. We need to get back to recognising that at the very least the principles of the biblical moral code are good for our society. No other structure has been discovered that works.
I believe that at an individual level the only hope we can give society is the change that comes through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The change to better our lives and improve society starts within individuals. Look at the effect of christianity on societies over the centuries; the results are seen in hospitals, healthcare provision, schools, social care and many more benefits to any given society. As stated already nothing else effectively and permanently changes people for their good and the good of society. Biblical christianity recognises the flawed nature of humanity and offers the death of Jesus Christ as the power of God for salvation (the Bible - Romans 1.16). The change is firstly internal but if it is real (and there have been many false claims in the name of Christianity) it must manifest itself in behaviours and activity in society. I appeal with our civic leaders and the general public to consider this message as it is the only hope that we have to offer. External reforming of society, improved conditions and better economic conditions all have a part to play but these will never reform the moral state of society. If individuals do not come to know the reforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ then there is no hope. In periods of economic depression and social upheaval (which we all know are unavoidable due to the cyclical nature of world affairs and the greed of the human heart) we will always end up with social disorder but things can be different. The choice lies in the hands of the individual. We have been warned once again by these recent events!