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Another case of simplistic reductionism – “Choices, they make you be closer to God or further from God.”  It has a rhythm to it.  It is catchy.  It is only 12 words long.  It will stick in your mind.  It sounds like it must be true.  But, it isn’t.  It ignores the obvious, because it reduces all choices to selecting either the right one or the wrong one.  It fails to recognize that choices can also, and frequently are, between more than one evil.

A man enters a convenience store with a loaded pistol in his jacket pocket.  Having already decided to wreck havoc, the choice he is deliberating is whether to kill the pregnant woman or the blind father of the two children standing with him.  Will either of those choices, which are the two that he is considering, bring him closer to God while the other choice moves him further from God?  Of course not.

A leader of a country, having already decided to increase his popularity with one group of constituents, deliberates the choice of bombing the capital of a nearby country, or unleashing a ferocious massacre on a minority group within his own country, a group hated by the majority of the population.  Will either of those choices, which are the two he is considering, bring him closer to God while the other choice moves him further from God?  Of course not.

You might say that these two men just mentioned are being falsely portrayed, and that prior to making their choice as described, they had already made a previous choice.  You are correct, and that is the point.  Our choices are part of a chain of choices.  The further we go back in the chain, we may be getting closer to the choice about which it may be said, “One of them will draw you closer to God, and the other will move you further from Him.”

But, let’s not be guilty of simplistic reductionism, and say that about all choices.  Moral sound bites may sometimes be accurate, but don’t count on it.  God and morality are both too big to be carried in a thimble with a 12 word capacity.

 

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