Positive rather than negative morality

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Joseph M. Smith, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    A recent ABP article reports that the old and hallowed Baptist stance on the use of alcohol is being reassessed, with some arguing that the temperate use of alcohol is permissible. Here is the link to the story: http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5994/53/

    It got me to thinking about the difference between positive morality and negative morality. Negative morality focuses on what is wrong and how we should avoid it, and it has its place. In the above-referenced debate, for example, there are plenty of social and health-related reasons to avoid alcohol, as well as the Biblical material that is commonly used to reinforce that position.

    But I am also interested in approaching this and other issues from a positive perspective, by which I mean: are there reasons I should engage in certain behaviors? What positive goods can be achieved by taking certain stances or doing certain things?

    To illustrate, using the alcohol debate as an example: What good do I do myself by drinking alcohol? If it is for a certain sense of well-being, isn't that selfish and unproductive? Similarly, what good do I do society by consuming alcohol, aside from helping to keep workers in that industry employed?

    I am not only focused on the alcohol question; I am thinking about how many of the decisions we make about the use of time and energy and resources might be reshaped if instead of our asking, "Is there anything wrong with this act?" we were to assess, "Is there anything right/productive/beneficial with this act?"
     
  2. luke1616

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    How about "No drunkard shall enter the kingdom" ?
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    Scripture doesn't forbid use of alcohol. Man does. The guilt association, given to us by man, has caused us to ask questions about it, and has caused us to feel that we are right with God to some extent because we abstain.
     
  4. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    The discussion is not intended to be about alcohol, pro or con, but about whether we could approach moral decisions on a different basis than, "What's wrong?"
     
  5. annsni

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    I know someone who was told by her doctor to drink a half of a wine cooler each night because it was actually the only thing that helped her pain (strong narcotics were too much for her - she couldn't function and any other pain meds weren't helping her blood pressure). She found that when she had that, she was able to sleep better and had much less pain. A half of a wine cooler has very little alcohol but it was beneficial to her.

    I was told when nursing to have some beer to help with my supply issue. I was also told to drink beer when I had a urinary tract infection.

    So I'd say definitely there are medical benefits to very carefully partaking. I certainly do not say to drink a ton but an alcoholic beverage here and there is actually found to be good for us.

    Another subject - music. I LOVE music. I love all sorts of music except rap and hip-hop but I do know some great Christian artists in these genres who have an authentic heart for God (Lecrae is one of them and I met the man and his family - spent a whole day with him. He is the real thing for sure.) In our family, music has brought us together, we have a lot of fun with it (TONS of fun dancing around the house), learned to be discerning with what's out there and have found some really solid artists and musicians who are brothers and sisters in Christ - even in the "rock" arena. :)

    Hmm - what else. Movies? Yeah, I like NEVER go to the movies because they are just so expensive and there's not much good out there but then again, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was instrumental in bringing my youngest the Gospel message. :) So I have to say there's SOME good there. LOL
     
  6. Nicholas25

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    Legalism is a horrible thing, but so is liberalism, and there is often a fine line between the two.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    I think it's tough to do. When considering moral issues, it would be quite difficult to arrive at a stance by considering only the positive side. Moral issues, by definition have arguments both for and against. When there are strong arguments on each side, we tend to give more weight to some of the arguments than to others.

    For example, how would you weight these arguments about alcohol? Which are decisive for you in arriving at your view?

    Drinking is bad for your Christian witness.
    The scriptures prohibit drunkenness, not drinking.
    Wine has some medicinal uses.
    If they didn't drink wine, winos wouldn't never be winos.
    You can't get drunk if you don't ever drink.
    Alcohol can be addictive.
    The Bible says drinking alcohol produces a merry heart.

    Add your own arguments to the list.

    Which ones carry the most weight for you?

    I certainly agree that we ought to seriously consider the positive side of any moral issue. But I'm not sure it's being responsible to ignore the negatives.

    By the way, I don't drink alcohol.

    But I do get a merry heart from Dr. Pepper.
     
    #7 Tom Butler, Dec 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2010
  8. Zenas

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    "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

    I believe this is what Joseph Smith was talking about when he posted this thread.
     
  9. Tater77

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    To think that one who drinks on occasion is a drunkard is just like saying someone who eats is a automatically a glutton.

    And besides that abstaining from alcohol didn't become in issue until the 1800's, whatever did the Church do about it for the first 1800 years of its existence? Not much actually.

    Before Welch's came along with non-fermenting grape juice, wine was used for the Lords Supper (which is why Welch invented his product). This was in place well into the 20th Century for many Churches. My grandmother can remember using wine for it up until the 1960's at her Church.

    Red wine in moderation has great health benefits, this is proven by hordes of doctors. But anything in excess is potentially harmful. Too much vitamin C can give you a urinary track infection for example.

    Since all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable, all things are lawful but not all things edify. In whatever you do, eat , drink, do it all for the glory of God.


    If you can benefit, go ahead, if not, refrain.

    But place no restriction on me if God placed none !!!!
     
  10. luke1616

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    :thumbs::jesus:
     
  11. charles_creech78

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    1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
    Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
    Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
    Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. I will let you decide on what the scripture says. For me I have no desire to drink any wine or beer. For my stomach I drink grape juice. WORKS REAL GOOD AT CLEANING YOU OUT!:) If you do drink I hope that you will consider this that it can get you into a lot of trouble and we all know what it can do to you and what it has done to many.
    For me I think it to be best to abstain from it. This being said !That is my opinion!
     
  12. Tater77

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    Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; ​



    The "excess" part is the key!!!!
     
  13. pinoybaptist

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    you having "red" or "white" ?
    can't have none...diabetic....
     
  14. Old Union Brother

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    I think that something I heard on the radio this morning just might go along with this discussion. God gives us liberty and God gives us love. Which is the most important?
     
  15. Joseph M. Smith

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    Yes, I think that does contribute to the discussion. (At least it does not go off on the alcohol question again ... I keep on saying that that is not the central point!). There are things I may do that I am free to do, but which do not contribute anything to others.

    Really a re-statement of situation ethics at its best. I know it has a dark side as well.
     
  16. BobinKy

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    ...Bob
     
  17. BobinKy

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    Situation Ethics. Now there is a term I have not heard for several decades. Joseph Fletcher, wasn't he the guy who started all the situational ethics talk back in the 1960s.

    45 years later, after a business career (talk about ethical places!), I have to say there is nothing like a solid policy and procedures manual full of shall(s) and shall not(s).

    I am sorry, but my business career showed me how often good intentions takes the whole bus down the wrong road.

    ...Bob
     
    #17 BobinKy, Dec 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2010
  18. charles_creech78

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    Amen: There are other things then strong drink that should be on our Christian minds! (Jesus):godisgood:
     
  19. Joseph M. Smith

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    Yes, Fletcher was the one who popularized that term. It is sometimes also called contextual ethics.

    I am with you on running organizations by policy. I was pastor of a church that had developed a strong constitution and bylaws and a number of very useful policies that kept us from wandering into less-than-helpful practices. At the church where I am now a member, I am consulting with the constitution review committee, which is pushing back against a very laissez-faire attitude in the congregation. Usually that ends up with the pastor making whatever decision he wants to make. Could lead to disaster.
     
  20. Tater77

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    Red wine all the way.
     

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