Life itself is a struggle, wouldn’t you agree? From the wealthiest of people to those who are struck by unimaginable suffering and poverty there are many things from which none of us can truly escape the clutches. Even brilliant people can be slaves to habits that ultimately shorten their own capacity to live longer. Many families are burdened by disease and various kinds of sickness in large part because of how they are wired genetically. All of these things of course are summed up in the unavoidable demise of being mortal. It truly is as if we hang on by a thread, a thread that will inevitably come undone at a time we usually do not expect.

I don’t intend to depress you, but I would like to encourage everyone reading this to take a step back and consider that we are all a part of a common tapestry. A common humanity. A morality that is uninformed by our common fate as a human race as well as by the astounding diversity of belief and thought is perhaps a morality that fails to reach its fullest potential. What I’m driving at here is that there is a difference between morality that is informed solely by one’s religion and a morality that is willing to be further informed by the world at large.

I can tell you from experience that I once believed and taught that the Christian Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. The supremacy of truth flows like a waterfall from this book, cultivating faith in a living God and flooding out into the world with the good news of the gospel, or so I thought? Yet over time I came to learn that the Bible itself is unapologetically offensive and a stumbling block to many. The writers of this book admit this and yet it is thought that this good news is like a razor that separates the sheep from the goats.

It certainly does separate people from the fold but it took years for me to realize that many who are not within this fold are actually very upright human beings that simply are not convinced of one particular view of God and religion. Is this to their detriment? I used to think it was because Romans 1 teaches explicitly that those who reject the Christian conception of God are suppressing the truth in their unrighteousness. This is harsh and I can tell you that the vast majority of Evangelicals are banking on this doctrine. It explains so much within their worldview and if this idea gets shattered then so does the meaning of the gospel itself.

To that I must respond, it is okay! Yes, it is actually okay to move yourself beyond this kind of understanding. In fact, it is necessary. Not by force, this is not what I’m advocating. I wasn’t forced or persecuted out of my own faith. No, it is necessary to move beyond this kind of understanding as a demonstration to oneself that the truth about the world may very well be most clear outside of such strict exclusivity. It is the nature of the beast of exclusivity itself that works very much like a blindfold. Especially warning verses that say things like, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

This brings me to my next point, is fear a healthy motivator for living a moral life? Whether we like it or not the New Testament itself carries a premise that it is good to fear a wrathful creator. The wrath of this being stems from a holy fervor, a perfect hatred for anything that falls short of the ultimate standard for goodness. Wrapped up within this goodness is the notion that people of other religious temperaments are deserving of punishment and death. Why? Well, for no other reason than that they did not bow their knee to Jesus. Let us not be fooled by the peaceful message that Christianity claims toward the world in the present. In reality it is simply the calm before the storm. It is a mercy that has a timer attached to it. Once the timer gets down to zero Jesus himself will be coming back with a holy vengeance upon his enemies. In the end everyone that was not found in the book of life, simply because they believed differently, will be moaning and wailing in eternal flames. Yes, this is the side of the story that doesn’t get touched upon so much when Christians are doing evangelism in our modern day. Rather, the message of love and eternal life is what comes to sweep one in at first, then over a period of time these teachings about wrath and judgement will begin to settle in as being part of God’s perfect expression of justice.

I think we can do better, don’t you? There is more to unfold regarding the benefits of a secular morality. Don’t go away!

 

2 thoughts on “The Benefits Of A Secular Morality (Part 1)

  1. Happy Sunday to you!!

    Have to ask a couple questions because I really would like to know since it wasn’t clear from your post:

    Do you believe your own worldview is or isn’t exclusive?

    And could you please point me to the Bible or whatever source it was that led you to “the notion (Christianity advocates the belief) that people of other religious temperaments are deserving of punishment and death… for no other reason than that they did not bow their knee to Jesus”? I’d like to read the source material myself and see if I come away with the same notion. I’ve searched all my Bibles high and low and can’t find it in them or anywhere else for the life of me. 🙂

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  2. Good afternoon! You have been heavy on my heart these past few days, but don’t fear, this will be my last comment I leave.

    I was reading in my Oswald Chambers book this morning and came across this passage:

    – We have all felt the mothering affection of God; are we departing from what we saw then? “My people are bent to backsliding from Me.” (Hosea 11:7) Backsliding is turning away from what we know to be best to what we know is second-best. If you have known God better than you know Him to-day and are deliberately settling down to something less than the best—watch, for you will not escape, God will bring embarrassments (disturbance of mind) out against you, in your private life, in your domestic life, He will enmesh you on the right hand and on the left. Compare your life with the life of one who has never known God—“they are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” (Psalm 73:5)

    I don’t know why other than to say it must be God leading me, but I felt like they were words He wanted you to hear. So I’m passing them along. They may mean nothing now, even breed resentment or anger out of misinterpretation, but one day, probably when you least expect it, they’ll matter. Their meaning will become suddenly clear. They are intended with love, the love of a stranger for you whose heart is broken that you’ve walked away from God.

    Science is not the only way to know things. If you say it is, you will prove the lie of the sentence you utter because science cannot prove the truth of it. And science can give proof of the immaterial, for things such as energy, gravity, mass and consciousness have no material form but what rational scientist – or person – would deny their existence? Science and God are not mutually exclusive. God created science and through it and so much more He reveals Himself to the world – and to you. In the words of the British physicist Sir Lawrence Bragg, “Science and religion are opposed just as the fingers and the thumb are opposed so that between them we may grasp everything.”

    Don’t settle for second best any longer. Turn back to what you know is best. God loves you, and He loves you just as much as He does me, just as much as He does every single person He has ever created. He created us because He loves us, and He loves us as His creation. But you will never hear Him speaking to you until you open your ears and listen. You will never see Him all around you until you open your eyes and look. And you will never come to know Him in your heart until you empty it of all the anger, whether realized or unrealized, you hold toward Him and allow Him to fill it with the unconditional love He holds for you in return.

    May you learn the beauty and the power of humility and surrender to Jesus Christ, the One who loves you, who knows you better than you know yourself, and who died for you so that you may live.

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