AQS – #4 Between Morality & Decency

Answering Questions Series #4


Questions on morality and decency can also be dicey to deal with. Some argue the issue of morality is relative, so one cannot clearly draw a line between right and wrong. What people actually mean in this context is decency being relative, not morality.

God has given Christians a standard for good moral living through the Bible. Secondly, morality exists because of the nature of God, and men were created in God’s image, hence have the ability to express certain aspects of His nature (though not in the perfect sense).

The universal law written on the tablets of men’s hearts can be termed the Universal Moral Law (Romans 2:15). Men from different races and cultural backgrounds and faiths have always agreed to a large extent that injustice, murder, theft, corruption, wickedness, adultery, breach of contract, dishonesty, false witnessing and unfaithfulness etc are objectively wrong. The standard of morality is not as relative as some may make it seem. Due to all humans being created in God’s image, we are all born hardwired with a sense of right and wrong.

What culture and society actually affects is “decency”. For example:
-How long should a ladies skirt be?
-How much of a woman’s body is acceptable when exposed in public?
-Is a man allowed to have long hair or wear earrings?
-Are ladies allowed to wear trousers?
-How much of a woman is a man allowed to hold if they are not married?

The questions continue in an endless array…

These questions do not directly attack objective morality, but rather decency which seems to have a unique link to morality. Decency is highly relative and answering such questions demands a lot of care and wisdom from God.

In some African cultures, ladies only cover their breasts when they are married. They wear scanty clothes to cover their private parts and walk around topless and are not ashamed because that is their culture, to them, they are decent. But this case is not the same for the Middle Eastern lady who is expected to cover up fully, leaving just her eyes. In extreme cases, the eyes also have a veil which allows little light enough to make her see.

With the issue of long hair and earrings for men, in some cultures, it is accepted and decent, in others, it is frowned upon. Men of Scottish decent wear the kilt which to many, may resemble a ladies skirt. Some Christian denominations do not permit ladies to wear trousers, but others do, others do not allow would-be couples to go out on dates, not to talk of holding hands and going for a walk.

Questions of decency have a very relative perspective from culture to culture, and in answering such, we ought to take into account the traditions of the people in question and the motives for having such standards. But on the other hand, questions of morality and Christian living are clear cut in the Bible and we are advised to look no further for answers. But if perhaps the one who asks does not believe in the credibility of the scriptures, you can appeal to his heart and conscience (if he/she will be honest enough), and you will realize all men are hardwired to have a sense of right and wrong because we were created in the image of God whose very essence and nature is the ultimate good.


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