Do atheists have the moral high ground?

Do atheists have the moral high ground?

Watch the video at the end of the article

“The rationalists’ and atheists’ claim to the moral high ground is based on ignorance of history.  The hallmarks of atheistic regimes were persecution, oppression, brutality, cruelty and mass killings. Atheistic regimes from the start embarked on violence and have been amongst the most evil and bloodthirsty in all human history. The motivation of many of the killings was a hatred of religion.”[1]  John Gray whom himself is not a believe adds, “Yet the mass murders of the twentieth century were not perpetrated by some latter-day version of the Spanish Inquisition.  They were carried out by atheist regimes in the service of Enlightenment ideals of progress.  Stalin and Mao were not believers in original sin.  Even Hitler, who despised Enlightenment values of equality and freedom, shared the Enlightenment faith that a new world could be created by human will.  Each of these tyrants imagined that the human condition could be transformed through the use of science.”[2]  May I add a belief shared by many of the new atheists?

The atheistic response is usually along the line of denying that the atheism was not the true source of the violence.  They attempt to blame the political ideology at the time for the violence.  However, the political ideology of communism and  Marxist economic systems are both grounded in atheism and the totalitarian statism which seems to go together.

An honest person can already see in the seeds of the new atheist movement the belligerent nature toward believers and the hate of religion that can be a source of violence of the worst kind.  You can see this vindictiveness in many of their blogs, if not in the body of the blog, then in the comments where believers are ridiculed and called about every name in the book.  Richard Dawkins the high priest of the new atheist movement, at a recent Reason Rally told the crowd to ridicule and mock believers at every opportunity.  What he meant was for his Brown Shirt atheists to find some ill versed Christian and make them look stupid.  Of course, a well versed Christian could do the same to an ill versed atheist.

The new Atheists are no different from their forerunners, they hate religion and religion’s people. They mock Christians for saying that you should love the sinner but hate the sin, exclaiming that it’s impossible.  However, they claim to hate religion, yet love people of faith.  Just more nonsense.

[1] “The Liberal Delusion” by John Marsh.

[2] “Heresies: Against Progress And Other Illusions” By John Gray. Kindle location 553.

 

 

Is Repentance Moral Reform? Acts 2:38

Is Repentance Moral Reform? Acts 2:38

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”Acts 2:38

The question I want us to focus on is, Does “to repent” in Acts 2:38 mean moral reform or something else? I have heard it taught as moral reform or as simply a turning to God. However, there are some problems with both interpretations. First, it would seem unlikely that the Apostle Peter would tell devout Jews that they needed to reform morally or turn to God. In the context of Acts 2:38, repentance or turning would seem to mean turning to Christ or to believing on Christ. In essence, Peter was telling his audience simply to believe in Jesus. This would echo the words of Jesus to His disciples in John 14:1, “You believe in God believe also in me.”

However, the text seems to indicate that a necessary part of this turning to God includes baptism or what we might call a bodily and public expression of this turning or repentance. Baptism then would be viewed as the initiation act that puts a person into Christ where His blood cleanses from sin and where one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:1-3, Gal 3:26,27).

It is also important to note that Peter’s statement is a commandment not a request. Man left God by breaking a commandment, and he must returns by keeping a commandment. Therefore, he is commanded to believe on Jesus or believe the gospel (1 Thess. 1:8). Adam’s sin began in his heart and was consummated in his outward disobedience. In like manner, man returns to God by believing and acting out his faith in baptism and a life that bears the fruit of repentance (Acts 26:20). This is why Paul uses faith and baptism as synonymous. “For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ (Gal 3:26-27 ASV).

We can summarize the teaching of Acts 2:38 by saying that God commands two things: faith in Christ and baptism into Christ. These two acts constitute turning toward God (Acts 3:19). To those who turn to God by belief and baptism, God promises two things: the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

It would be fair to ask the question, Does faith and baptism in themselves remit sin? Absolutely not; nothing but the free action of a forgiving God can do that. Faith-baptism simply puts a person into Christ where one has access to the blood of Christ and the forgiveness of sins, both of which are in Christ (Eph 1:7, Rom 6:3).

 

Lewis on Good and Bad People

Good and Bad People

A friend read my piece concerning what C.S. Lewis said about good and bad people.  For those who did not read it, I will quote again:  “When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him.  When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.  A moderately bad man knows he is not very good; a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.  This is common sense, really.  You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly; while you are making them you cannot see them.  You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk.  Good people know about both good and evil; bad people do not know about either.”

Point to ponder:  How do Lewis’s remarks measure up against the views Thomas A. Harris stated in his book, I’m OK, You’re OK ? 

My friend brought up two points that I would like to share with others.  He said that he thought he was ok.  He based this statement on the fact that he lived his life in such a way that he did not hurt anyone.  My reply was, “You are asleep.”  My friend is very much like a lot of people in our culture who see morality only as a negative.  However, there is such a thing as a positive morality.  All morality does not begin with “thou shall not.”  A positive morality is a morality that tells you what you should do.  You should spend time helping the poor, encouraging your friends, etc., in short loving people in a real way.  Morality should not be solely defined by what you should not do.  A cigar store Indian does not do anything wrong, but he also does not do anything right; he does not do anything but take up space.  Doing nothing other than taking up space is sinful.  By sinful I am taking the word “sin” in its uninterrupted sense.  It simply means “to miss the mark.”  We were created for doing good, not for taking up space. Taking up space is to miss the mark.

There also is another problem with thinking that you are ok because you do not break a law or hurt someone.  The reason for your success at your negative morality could simply be that you did not have the need or the opportunity to break the law or hurt someone.  Where is the virtue in that?  The virtue may be in the situation and not in the person.  There is no virtue in being faithful if one is never tempted to be unfaithful.  You do not know where your limits are until they are tested.  A man who prides himself on being faithful to his wife and looks down on other men who are not faithful, may simply be a moralist who never has been tempted by a beautiful woman.  Moreover, he may not have been tempted because God knows that he would fail the test.  We ought to be careful about judging others.  However, to choose one situation over another could in itself be virtuous if a man chose that situation because he knew his weakness and was trying to avoid it by keeping himself from temptation.

My friend, also pointed out that people have different definitions of morality.  However, that does get one out of the pickle that Lewis puts us in, because Lewis is not talking about any specific morality.  If a man is awake, he will become increasingly aware that he does not even live up to his own personal morality and that he is continually lowering or ignoring it to justify himself.  Every time you hear the voice “you ought” and you silence it, the voice gets weaker and you get a little worse. It is a very slow process but if practiced long enough it will kill the voice. LD