Thoughts On Morality

The question is not whether believing in God is necessary for establishing some elementary moral foundation, it seems to be fairly obvious that an individual has the capacity for honest and forthright living apart from any credence to the transcendent. Yet for me a larger question still remains; that is, are we inherently moral beings because God made us in his image? I think often the public misconception is that Christians such as myself believe that in order to be morally inclined you need to have faith in God. While I do believe something can be said for the moral instability of an ideology that establishes it self without any recourse to a higher power, I don’t believe that religion, i.e. belief in God, is a prerequisite to being a fundamentally ‘good’ person.

Those who reject moral absolutes and adhere to moral relativism typically argue that morality is simply a measure of good posturing, that ethics can be explained by some social Darwinism, in which we cooperatively coexist for the mutual benefit of our species. This seems to be fairly plausible on some elementary levels. We often see this among’st various species in the animal kingdom, a group working together as one for the survival of all. Yet for all the observation of this peaceful Darwinian coexistence, there is the occasional barbarism. For example, in order to coerce the female to mate with them, male chimps and lions are known to kill their own infants (male chimps will even go as far as to cannibalize the baby chimps.)

In a land void of moral absolutes there is really no grounds for deterring the more dominant individuals from assuming their power over others. Just as there is no grounds to say that lions and chimps committing infanticide are wrong, from the evolutionary standpoint there is nothing inherently wicked about killing the infants. After all such minor atrocities really have nothing to do with the overall survival of the species. Thus while social Darwinism seemingly offers a congruent framework for the overall cooperation of a species, it does little to repress the internal selfish instincts that characterize our day to day lifestyle. This is merely to suggest that the atheistic paradigm is inadequate for establishing a solid moral infrastructure.

On a similar note what grounds would we have to criticize the Nazi regime for seeking to establish the dominant supremacy of a modern utopia? Hitlers implementation of eugenics was simply a matter of self consciously applying principles of Darwinian evolution. There’s nothing inherently wrong with obliterating weaker atomic particles in order to establish a seamless social structure. This is simply following suit with the struggle for supremacy and survival that follows from Darwinian logic. For it is precisely the logic of social Darwinism that brings us to such moral ambiguities. I find the reality that we are uniquely aware of such injustices seems to indicate an underlining and overriding moral consciousness.

Now I fully understand that people have rationalized evil in the name of Christianity; in a similar way many have also rationalized evil in the name of liberty. However, in no way does this diminish the integrity of either in their own respect. After all, it isn’t Christianity that should be judged off it’s followers, rather it’s followers ought to be judged off Christianity. You see, no religion or set of moral codes in of it self has the power to transform someone from the inside. In the scriptures the law was given to the Israelites as mirror in which their internal wickedness was to be accentuated, that they might realize their need for forgiveness; ultimately we are to understand the righteous requirement of the law surpasses our capacity for adhering to it. Alas, it is not a religion or a code of ethics we are in need of, but rather a savior! in this way Jesus came that we might pick up our crosses and follow after Him in faith.

We do have the capacity to be modestly “good” people apart from belief in God, just as we have the capacity to be modestly “good” people who believe in God. Either way, whether your an atheist or a law abiding theist, you can never be good enough. For the wages of sin is death, and because God is a righteous God he must punish all sin. Thus if you live by the measure of your own goodness, you will die by the measure of your own inadequacy. Only when we put our faith in God will we ever be able to fulfill the requirements of righteousness.

The late Christopher Hitchens use to pose a moral challenge to believers, he would say “name me a moral action committed by a believer that could not be made by a non-believer.” The fallacy of Mr. Hitchens argument is that it’s predicated on the assumption that Christianity is false, for in doing so he precludes the obvious answer, for clearly the saving of ones soul by the preaching of the Gospel is the greatest moral action that we can accomplish, one that can only be committed by a believer.


Creation Requires A Creator

How can anyone definitively say God exists? How could we ever claim to know such truth? Such mystical allusions are rife with arrogance, as if we mere mortal humans could ascend into the heavens and attain such privileged knowledge… These questions are not without due consideration, and I must say, providing a compelling systematic explanation for my faith has proven to be a tall order to fill. Often times my explanatory power gets muddled in the translation and I’m unable to provide anything palpable for my atheist friends to meditate on.

Thus I find myself in a peculiar position,  struggling to persuade those around me of that which I had taken for granted, that is creation requires a creator. I frequently find myself caught in the undertow of contemporary thought, locked in a twilight zone where men call things that are, as though they were not. In a world where positing an external creator is to replace science with magic! I feel as though I have awoken amid’st the chaos of an exotic circus grandeur, wherein faith is the grand illusion! for faith in God is to assert “Oogity Boogity caused everything by the mechanism of POOF!” as one blogger so eloquently attest. Perhaps I just never quite understood how something could pop out of nothing. The idea that space, time, and matter just spontaneously erupted from free-space defies not only the natural laws that govern our universe, but also reason it self. In this apparent anomaly that is our universe, we must admit, a higher power is a possibility worth considering.

Thus my belief in God rest on three basic assumptions: 1. God Himself is eternal, for we know that matter is not eternal but had a definite beginning. 2. that which has been created (matter) requires a creator. 3. That said creator has purposefully revealed himself to us in such a way that he can be discerned. Now in regards to this last point, I ask myself, looking back through the sands of time do I see any  indications of a creator attempting to reveal himself to us? Indeed, let us for a moment look plainly upon the scriptures. Comprised of arguably the most ancient texts in the world, we find a succession of congruent books purposefully documenting historical encounters with the “creator of heaven and earth.” Whats more, it is through these texts that we come across the extraordinary life of Jesus of Nazareth. A life having been foretold for centuries.

Isaiah 53: 5-6 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Psalms 22: 16 “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked have enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet”

And it is in the story of Christ that we see the only begotten Son of God descending unto humanity. The scriptures claim that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and that Jesus himself was the Word made into flesh. It is precisely the life of Christ that I observe something fundamentally unique beyond any other historical record, a voice rising from utter obscurity, a voice that has endured throughout the ages. If we take the scriptures seriously we see that it offers us a very congruent framework in which God has revealed Himself to mankind.

But how can we know if Jesus was who He said He was? This brings us to a very fundamental question – what is our relationship with reality? Let us take gravity for example, we know gravity exists because we can observe and experience it laws in effect all around us, thus through our direct empirical contact we are made aware of its reality. It is through observing such uniform and repeated experiences that reality exists

Thus why should this methodology be any less viable in forming my reality of God? The scriptures assert that the law of the Spirit of life through Christ will produce within our members the fruits of the Spirit. That those who pick up their crosses and crucify the deeds of their flesh will be reborn a new creation, dissolved from the law of sin and the lusts of the flesh that govern our mortal bodies. Thus if the Spirit of God really dwells within us, and if Christ were true, then those who follow after Him ought to be able to observe and experience this new creation coming to fruition over time.

Galatians 5: 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..”

The core narrative of the Bible is not that that man has ascended into spiritual enlightement and obtained this privileged knowledge of the one true God, but rather God that has descended unto earth and revealed Himself to us in such a way that we can be assured that He is who He says He is. If we look objectively at the mere fact that the teachings of Jesus persist as the most influential words to ever be spoken, we have good reason to believe that Jesus in His own right was extraordinarily unique.

Knowing what we do through recent advances in cosmology and physics, is it logical to presume the world could have arisen by purely natural processes? Today many scientist have attempted to postulate different theories on how ‘something’ could have emerged from ‘nothing’. Redefining nothing to be some sort of quantum vacuum in which particles appear from free-space. perhaps the words of Paul ring more true now than they ever did:

20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools” – Romans 1:20-22