Conservative activist Ben Shapiro has always been a little hard edged for me—especially in tone. But I took his stepping away from Breitbart as a good sign that even very, very conservative individuals like him finally saw through the charade of Breitbart journalism.
Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard tweeted a video of Shapiro giving a public lecture and Q&A at a university. In the video (warning: It’s not great quality), Shapiro takes on a pro-choice activist. Early on in the exchange, he refutes the idea that people have unconstrained liberty to do anything they want and face no consequence. Particularly, in refuting the charge that women need the right to abortion in order to be equal to men, he states “Women need men like women need men. God created rules. If you get pregnant, you don’t get to kill things just because it’s in your uterus.”
Now, let me state upfront: Ben Shapiro is not a Christian. He’s a conservative, so we have that much in common. But he and I would have great, irreconcilable differences on who God truly is.
That said, I really appreciated Shapiro’s appeal to God as the absolute ground of morality. Too often (myself included), Christians in the public square try to explain the intricacies of Christian morality by offering great rationales and explanation into the superior coherence of Christian morality. That’s good and needed. We need continued work on explicating why Christian morality is human morality—that the creational moral code of Genesis 1-2 is reaffirmed and knit into the moral order even today.
But sometimes, appeals to logic and reason only go so far. Blank stares meet your explanation with “I don’t get it. Why am I not an autonomously being free to do anything based on consent.” Well, as Shapiro notes, the answer is God. God is the author of morality. God has imposed moral order and moral law on the creation (Psalm 24:1; Romans 1:18-22; Romans 2:12-16). When we attempt to countermand God’s law, we not only sin against Him, we create a pottage of humanity misery in our wake. God has not placed this moral law to burden us, because His law is good and redirects our gaze back to Himself, the Creator of the law (Romans 7:12). We are not Kantians scurrying about trying to identify faceless clues to unlock the moral mystery of the universe. The moral mystery of the universe tabernacled amongst us (John 1:14). We are Christians who believe that God has knitted and patterned morality after His Son, Jesus (John 1: 1-4; Colossians 1: 15-20).
So while Shapiro’s conception ultimately falls short because of who Christians understand God to be (Triune), we can appreciate Shapiro’s appeal to God and should be more honest in our dealings in the public square: God has set the universe into existence. He ordered it. He has revealed His law in His Word, His creation, and in each of us. We are obligated to follow His rules. We can’t. We sin. Our consciences bear witness to our sin and His law. We all know there’s a coming day of reckoning with our sullied conscience. And we need a Savior to free us of our rebellion and rejection of God’s law (Romans 3:21-26).