Sunday, 29 June 2014

We all have choices to make!

I have been asked to make my position clear regarding people's 'lifestyle choices' and, being me, I am of course quite happy to do so for I believe we are to make it clear where we stand on issues that challenge us as 'Church' and to defend our faith whenever we are challenged so to do (of course that won't always be an immediate answer as life and opportunity conspire together to make this a 'some time' reality rather than in the 'now').

Now regardless of the issue, or the way that some might regard it, we have to surely start with the fact that outside of the autonomic functions all other responses are voluntary. This means that whatever we do we have to accept that we choose to do it. If we are hungry then even though the hunger exists we still have to decide that we will not only satisfy it but also decide when and how we will do it. A quick for instance being that we find ourselves in a state of hunger and so, walking past someone eating chips, we merely take their chips and eat them. Now we can't help the fact that we are hungry, in fact that's not the issue, but it's the way that we resolve or remedy the issue that we are focussing on here and there is always a right and a wrong way (something that Christians are aided in deciding through God's received word - the Bible - and though God's revealed Word - Jesus!).

If we are hungry we can do any one of a number of things. Here are a few suggestions:

i. Steal a sandwich from the local shop,

ii. Wait until lunchtime and then pop over to the local sandwich shop (used to be Benjys when I worked in the City of London) and buy yourself something to eat,

iii. Get a friend to buy you some food and bring it back for you,

iv. Meet a friend for lunch and eat and enjoy a time of fellowship.

There you go, four scenarios - three of which I reckon are acceptable. If someone stole a sandwich because they were hungry then most people would regard that as wrong. 'But,' they might say (when arrested), 'I was hungry - I had no choice!' Sadly though this defence would fail because the condition of being hungry didn't force them to act as they did.

Now modify the situation and make the person poor or perhaps diabetic (I add this because a diabetic friend of mine 'had' to eat when certain factors were at play - and yet even then they didn't steal the food even when there was a medical imperative). Would the scenarios change? Of course they would.

Perhaps they'd beg or visit the foodbank or do many other things to remedy the hunger, but the fact remains that they would still have a choice and selecting the wrong choice would not make it correct! This is the same for each and every one of us - we have a choice in the way that we respond to, and resolve the needs,  the desires that we have. It is wrong to say that we do not have a choice!

I have recently come across people who tell me that the means of resolving their needs or desires is on a parallel with my stealing sandwiches solution. What makes it interesting (for which you should also read 'frustrating') is the fact that they tell me that because they are doing it openly that they possess 'Integrity' and this integrity renders their actions to be morally acceptable. 'I'm not doing it secretly but doing it in public so everyone can see what I'm doing and my integrity makes the solution I am employing right!'  But of course it doesn't - it neither satisfies human law or Bible law. It is a wrong response to a wrong act.

The same people also tell me that what they do finds favour with a number of people and their approval is an indication of moral or legal rectitude. Oddly though, trying to use the same argument on them regarding fox hunting (or any other taboo area) does not find them accepting the act in the same way that they perceive they are acceptable! How odd (or perhaps human?)!

Prod these people again and they will tell me that 'everyone' regards them as being a 'good person' and when a dogcollar is added to the mix, a 'good Priest' too, but I have to say that if it crosses the line into the 'DON'T' area, then they might just have to accept that they are wrong (again!).

So here's a little request:

I'm happy for  you to have desires, passions, hungers, needs and whatever but please don't tell me that you don't have a choice - because truly you do! You might be hungry but you have a choice in the way that you resolve it and to defend yourself and your actions because others (in different circumstances) are eating is no defence! To say you have no choice in being hungry is true - but the way that you resolve it (who do you serve - your desires or God's demands to live rightly?) is quite frankly a matter of choice. Simple really isn't it?

Hope this hangs together as it's a quick bash on the keyboard to clear my head and clarify my thoughts before the next service takes over.


Anonymous said...

Are you alluding to something other than sandwiches here?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Yes - it applies to doughnuts and hot cross buns too :-)

Anonymous said...

And chips?

Anonymous said...

And that other topic too?

UKViewer said...

Choice is the right word. We make deliberate choices between what is right and wrong, and the reality is that despite our choices being in the area of grey, they remain, either right or wrong.

The ones that we make deliberately define us, so if we opt for the grey, we might as well go for the really dark choices, because there's little moral difference between them.

And the person who makes the deliberate dark choice, because they believe that confessing their sins is the get out of jail option, think again! Genuine remorse with a conviction to not do the same again is required.

I can remember years ago as a Catholic, those who confessed regularly and than went straight out to repeat their offences. Contrition being a social skill, rather than genuine.

Their view being that they had taken their penance (The Our Father and Three Hail Mary's) so they were in the clear.

Dave R said...

A great post for you haven't mentioned any of the current issues that cause conflict and concern by name and yet have succinctly (and rather neatly) dealt with the "it's not a choice" brigade.

My compliments


Vic Van Den Bergh said...


surely not ;-)

well perhaps you're right in part :0)

still extremely average though

(I won't let them take that away from me)


believer said...

A very good response to those who tell us that they have no choice.

As you rightly say

everyone has a choice