Friday, December 11, 2009

Are you interested in what's true?

Greg Koukl writes:
You must ask yourself a critical question: Are you interested in what's true and right, or are you merely interested in what's pleasurable and convenient?

Here's the reason I ask. I've made an observation based on hundreds of conversations with people on tough moral issues. I've met few who were really interested in doing what's right. This may seem like a strong statement, but in the course of conversation it becomes obvious.

Sure, they give reasons for their views, convincing even themselves that they have a genuine interest in morality. Their true colors show, however, when their reasons turn out to be bad ones. They fish around for other justifications. They begin twisting the facts to fit their views. They reject or ignore contrary points instead of refuting them.

As their options diminish, their search gets more frantic. It soon becomes clear they never had any intention of being ethical at all. Their justifications were only rationalizations all along.

Instead of changing their opinions and, ultimately, their conduct, they become angry. Stripped of the appearance of being moral, they leave mad, still bent on doing what they intended to do in the first place.

Why do we do that? Because the moral demands of the truth are often an unpleasant burden to bear. When self-interest is at stake, we change the rules. We resort to contorted, disfigured arguments. We attack individuals rather than ideas. We take refuge behind the claim that the question is complicated, when it's not really difficult at all. In the end we fire our final salvo, "It's my right!" -- the last refuge of the libertine.

Those who are interested in what's true, however, let their judgments rest on the evidence. When the facts go against what they want, they make the difficult choice for the right reasons. They remain loyal to what's true and good, not to what's convenient.