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5.13.2005    |    Hardwired depravity
Here is what might be a surprise to most well-meaning secular humanists: racial prejudice may be hardwired into our beings. That is, we may have some genetic predisposition toward racial prejudice. The New Scientist recently had an interesting story on this topic. What makes it especially interesting is the morality question that is raised. From the story:
Then again, suppose it could be demonstrated that some people, or all people, had a genetic predisposition toward racial prejudice. Would this change the moral equation? Our view is that it would not--that if people have such a predisposition, they are morally obliged to overcome it in their actions.
In this, they are quite right. But then they have to go and muddy the waters with this bit of political correctness:
Some make an analogous argument vis-à-vis homosexuality: that even if homosexual orientation is genetically based, homosexual behavior is morally unacceptable. We do not endorse this view but bring it up to make a broader point about the limits of science: It deals in the realm of observable facts, not values. Science can inform moral judgments, but it can never resolve them.
Of course I disagree with them about the morality of homosexual behavior. They are correct, however, in noting that science is usually silent on how that science is to be used.

Stated another way, science deals with observable events, and scientific theories are proven (or disproven) by objective and repeatable experiments. Science is morally neutral. Now science may be telling us that homosexual tendencies are hardwired, and not a "lifestyle choice." Let's assume for the moment this to be true, althought I think the jury is still out deliberating on the proof of this theory.

This brings us back to the wise statement that, even if a tendency is hardwired in our DNA, we are "morally obliged to overcome it" in our actions. If racial prejudice is among those tendencies, so-called social liberals would be hard-pressed to deny this as a "moral obligation." Racial prejudice used to be not just accepted, but justified as the natural order of things. There are probably still far too many who may accept prejudice, but at least Christians can know that our savior was without such prejudice. As we should be.

Going on the homosexual acts, Christians should also know that our savior was not prejudiced against those who perform such acts. Neither, then, must we be so inclined. He would not have been so charitable towards the acts themselves; He likely would have told the sinners to repent and sin no more. But accepted the sinner as one of His flock when they did so.

In this, as in all things, Scripture should be our first guide as to what is moral, and what is not. Sometimes Scripture is vague; often, and usually on the big ticket items, it is spot on. So, if Scripture tells us that homosexual acts are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, how to explain such tendencies being hardwired in our very DNA?

The simple, and simplistic answer is Satan. God created us in His image, but, thanks to our depraved nature, that image is harshly distorted by the evil that owns us and owns the earth. Call it our hardwired depravity. Call it the tendency to, among other things we should know are wrong, kill our brother, discriminate against those who look different, steal, dishonor our parents, commit homosexual acts, and, generally, mess up God's creation.

That such tendencies to sin are hardwired should come as no surprise to anyone who reads the Bible as far as Genesis 3:1-7. It is also wise to keep our total depravity in mind whenever some scientist seems to be making a new discovery of this fact.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.