Taken from â€œIs It Okay To Lie to Nazis?â€ in a forthcoming book with Baker Books
Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, criticizes biblical ethics for its alleged preoccupation with â€œabsolutesâ€â€”and not allowing for any ethical tensions or exceptions. Iâ€™ve met people who have concluded that since ethical tensions exist (telling the truth to Nazis vs. protecting innocent Jewish lives), this means moral standards donâ€™t really exist.
Such perceptions arenâ€™t accurate, however. In fact, the very tension that exists between truth-telling and preserving innocent life assumes that we take seriously two or more important moral obligations. Furthermore, these tensions may not be of equal value and may call for properly ordering/prioritizing them according to Godâ€™s kingdom purposes. Biblical ethics is more subtle and nuanced than many imagine. Yes, certain acts are always wrong (rape, adultery, torturing babies for fun), but we also should consider the context of actions (while murder is always killing, not all killing is murder), the character doing the act, and the motive behind the act. Continue Reading →