CAN MATERIAL VALUES BE IMMORAL?

The notion of “material value” presents valuable material items created by a man or people and works such as masterpieces of culture and art.

Material values in themselves are not immoral, but their content can contradict to the forms of perception or expression of Christian morality. For instance, money can be the supreme material value for someone, which, according to Christian understanding, is the manifestation of the sin of the love of money. “The love of money is the root of all evil”, – says apostle Paul (1 Tim. 6:10).

In paintings or sculptures, which are manifested through the material, naked people or scenes of people’s nudity can be depicted. Such an uncovered image is not acceptable from the Christian point of view. Even pictures or sculptures having religious content with a liberal approach depict naked people. While such an approach we don’t see in early Christian culture, where miniatures or sculptures are made only by the depiction of human images and with the talent to reveal the meaning of the thought.

However, in Renaissance period even creations of religious content began to contradict to some perceptions of early Christian religious ideas, because that era was not the revival of culture, but was an upheaval of pagan perceptions and ideas. Accordingly, the works of the religious theme already were not only depicting Biblical scenes but especially aimed at portraying the man, beauty of the human body, its structure, strength, and suppleness.

That is why, even in the Renaissance period or Renaissance-style paintings about Christ, men are half-naked, woman show scenes of their naked bodies. Therefore, material values may be immoral in their content.

Ethics is the science of morality. Is person born moral or the morality is injected in his world outlook through science and knowledge?

The man is born without knowledge or inclinations towards moral or defilement against morality. During further education, a perception of ideas corresponding inclinations is being formed. The apostle Paul says that faith come by hearing, and hearing by preaching (see Rom. 10:14, 17). The apostle also says: ” All scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This shows that without training a person can get lost, fall into the trap of sin, and walk in devious ways of immorality.

The ancient philosophers were arguing over the question whether virtue is inborn or acquired. For example, a man with knowledge about medicine is a physician, but a man who knows about justice can also to be unfair. Therefore, knowledge alone is not enough, but also the manifestation of will is necessary. Apostle says that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that faith might justify us.
But after faith comes, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Rom. 6:14-15, Gal. 3:24-26), i.e. people were keeping many rules of virtuous lifestyle because of fear of severe punishments.

But now man may also have the grace, the ability to not restrain himself because of fear, but to be ethical and virtuous internally and entirely. Christ not only taught and showed the right way but along with He also gave the gifts and the ability of transformation to live and act in a God-pleasant way.

Therefore, the morality or immorality is not inborn, but they are installed in humans by teaching and preaching, and morality and virtue are confirmed with the cooperation of divine grace.