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Basis of Righteousness

January 22, 2018

Richard Dawkins made a name for himself opposing Christianity. In 2006 he published a book called “The God Delusion.” The title pretty much says it all. In 2016 Dawkins write in an online article that religion is fine to observe as a tradition as long as it is only concerned about things like Christmas Carols, family meals or annual festivals. He said, “But there really is an important difference between including your children in harmless traditions, and forcing on them un-evidenced opinions about the nature of life or the cosmos. Tradition is fine where it amounts to songs or literature, styles of dress or architecture. But tradition is a terrible basis for ethics, or beliefs about the origin of the universe or the evolution of life.” Richard Dawkins says religion is acceptable as long as it is nothing more than the equivalent of going to visit grandma every summer. When religion begins to affect how a person lives, how he interacts with others, how he thinks, what he values and how he understands the world, then that kind religion is a terrible thing which must be stamped out.

Many others have come to the same conclusion. Religion is fine as a private exercise that remains in the heart and in the church. Religion has no place in the public sphere. Yet many of these same people desire a nation in which everyone is kind to one another, none practice violence upon another and all care for the poor. The delusion of these oblivious atheists is that kindness, goodness and compassion will naturally spring out of the heart of man. Russia, China and North Korea can all attest a godless people will never be a good people.

Biblical Christianity is the only support and defense of basic morality and human decency. Not that everyone who treats other well is a Christian. Nor will treating others with compassion make a person a Christian. True Christianity produces charity in the heart and promotes compassion in a nation. The Christian view recognizes that genuine morality can only come out of a moral heart and genuine compassion can only come out of a loving heart. Biblical Christianity recognizes that no one is naturally moral or loving. Only those who have been made righteous within can truly practice righteousness.

The Christian is one who has been transformed by Christ. The transformation of the believer affects every sphere of life, including relationships. Psalm 15 describes the transformed relationships that evidence a transformed heart. The righteous will live a righteous life, will do righteous deeds and will speak honestly with his own heart. The righteous will not spread slander, will not bring harm to his neighbor and will not ridicule others. The righteous despises the wicked and honors the godly. The righteous keeps his vows even when they are costly and he will not go back on his word. The righteous will not get rich off the needs of the poor and he will not pervert justice for any amount of promised wealth.

At the heart of genuine civic virtue is a heart that loves his neighbor. Such selfless love can only come when one’s entire being has been transformed so that he now loves God with all his heart, soul and might.


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