So as I was driving into work last week, I was listening to a story about the city of Bloomington, IN. Apparantly they either have or had buses with advertisments posted on them by a local group of athiests that stated: "You can be good without God." Up front, I don't have a problem with athiests wanting to place their signs on the sides of buses or billboards. This is the country that we live in and if I have a right to place signs about my Christian faith, then that automatically gives the rights for others to do the same. I am more secure now in my faith than I ever have been, so neither do signs like that intimidate me or shake what I believe in. I just take it for what it is: the opinion of one group of people who are exercising their rights to free speech. Now that is out of the way......
A bigger subject is the actual subject of the ads: "You can be good without God." Let's think on that for a few moments, "You can be good without God". Is this actually possible? First, What is goodness? Love, peace, care of neighbor? How have we as a society and as a race come to define what goodness is? It seems very unique that if you study all the peoples of the world, with few exceptions the general rule of civilized society was that murder is wrong. Why is that? Who decided to contact each one of these peoples and get them to all sign on to the fact that killing another person is not a "good" thing. Or which society promulgated to all others that the family is the basis of civilization and that families should care for their own? Looking at all civilizations thoughout time, the majority of them have devised a framework of what is morally and socially acceptable. The amazing thing is that how similar they all are, without the ability for centuries to communicate these ideas. Why is this?
The fact of the matter is that within the human psyche, we are all designed with a basic knowledge of God; it is what we call the Natural Law. We may not obey it all the time, and we may get "too wise" for it, "too cool" for it, or "outgrow" it , but it is still there. As humans we know right from wrong.....basically. I would even venture to believe that even the most devout athiest or agnostic would say that we should take care of the poor, the ones that need care, feed the widows and children, but why? If there is no God, from what does this goodness originate and why would we even do such things?
Everything in our universe, with the exception of God the Father, has a beginning and an end; a cause and an effect. Let's take the law of gravity as an example. Gravity just doesn't exist. It is an effect of the centrifugal force caused by the rotation of the earth. We can't see it, and most of the time we probably don't even think about it. Just don't try to defy it because gravity will win every time. In the same sense, Hurricanes dont just appear. There is first a cluster of thunderstorms that move into an area favorable for development and those storms are nurtured and developed into a hurricane. As humans, we don't just exist. We are all born out of an expression of love between a man and a woman. I have thought all day to try to think of something that exists in and of itself in a vaccuum; a force, a thought...nothing fit that bill.
So it is with goodness. God is the source of all that we consider to be good and kind: love, peace, faithfulness, the things that make our world a better place. It is no accident that since our country has tried to isolate and remove God from the public eye that our American society has rapidly deteriorated. The lack of integrity in our leaders and the trust that we put in them in decades past have all but disappeared. Marriages in our country (religous and otherwise) have topped at above 50% that end in divorce. Why? Because we are losing our sense of right and wrong without a foundation to base it on. If there is no God, there is no good. If we do not know God, we do not know good.
Please don't hear what I am not saying. I don't believe that government should force ANY religion, Christian or otherwise on us as a condition of being American. We all have the God given right to worship whatever and whomever we see fit, as we see fit. Having said that, however, there still has to be a set of rules to play by for society. Where do those rules come from? Only one place: the author of goodness: God.
So as Christians, what should our response be to this? Goodness to all. To all humanity, all those that need our help and our love. All creeds, nations, sexes, it doesn't matter. When we reach out with love to our fellow man, we are showing all that God does exist because He is touching those peoples lives.....through you and through me.