Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Was Jesus Really Silent about Homosexuality?

This morning the British papers are running headlines about 12 Church of England clergy who have entered same-sex ‘marriages’ with their boyfriends. Why one is allowed to be a Christian leader and have an unwed sexual partner - same or opposite sex - in the first place is a question most Christians throughout the world will be rightfully asking about the CoE. That aside, debate will certainly be reignited in Anglican circles everywhere over gay ‘marriage’, homosexual practice and related issues. 

For non-Christians, it will seem an odd debate as mainstream society see gender, marriage and sexuality as a form of individual self-actualisation and believe that one should be free to express these things however they wish – so long as they don’t hurt others. To people who aren’t Christian the whole discussion seems soooooo last millennia. But we Christians are foreigners to this world. And as there are those who – in the name of Christ – are saying we need to adjust our teaching to the new LGBTQ ideology, then debate is upon us whether we wish for it or not.

In any debate involving people’s lives, points of view need to be expressed both sensitively and accurately - especially this one. Misinformation – however well intended – helps no one in the long run. That’s why it’s important to access popular sound bites that are often used in social media discussions to determine their truthfulness. One such is the line:

Homosexual practice is consistent with Christianity because Jesus never spoke against it.

For those who aren’t Christians, this issue may stir curiosity. But for Christians, knowing what Jesus thought about any issue is of utmost importance. What does the evidence suggest about Jesus’ thoughts on this subject? Was Jesus really totally silent on the issue of homo-sex?

Arguing from Silence

First of all, arguments from silence are rarely successful in accomplishing their goal – whatever the discussion may be. If my aim is to argue that some popular figure would endorse my lifestyle choices just because they’ve never been on record as speaking against them, I make myself vulnerable to all sorts of rebuttals. For example:

Me: Abortion is fine. Jesus never said anything against it.
Other Dude: Do you believe wife beating and genocide are ok?
Me: No, of course not.
Other dude: Can you show me a verse where Jesus directly speaks against either of those?
Me: No - but just because Jesus doesn’t directly speak against it doesn’t mean he’s ok with it.
Other Dude: Exactly.

Point is - whatever your position in the current sexuality and gender debate - an argument from silence is never a strong one. Especially when it comes to things Jesus supposedly said or didn’t say.

Was Jesus Totally Silent?

But that presupposes that Jesus was completely silent on this issue. That’s what many people say. But, given the evidence, is that an honest thing to argue?

Let’s look at three passages from Matthew’s gospel where Jesus seems to be making statements that are relevant to the issue. You can then decide for yourself.

Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.  For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. –Matt 5.16-19

Jesus upholds all previous prophets. It would be difficult for Jesus to say this any clearer. Whenever Moses and other prophets discussed homo sex (as an act – not merely a desire or orientation) it was always negative. (See More Here). Jesus fulfilled ceremonial law and cleanliness laws - and for that reason we no longer do certain things like sacrifice animals. Those laws are not erased, just fulfilled in Christ who is our continual priest and sacrifice for sin. All the moral law (lying, stealing, adultery, etc) and social principles (love your neighbour) are still there and Jesus warns us to neither disobey them or to teach others that it’s ok to do so.
______

Secondly, Jesus said:

For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. 
-Matthew 15.19

Jesus is giving us a list of what defiles us. You see that fourth term in the list, ‘sexual immoralities’. Notice the plural. Does it seem strange? Why is that term plural? Why not just say ‘sexual immorality’ defiles a man. There is a reason it’s in the plural. The Greek word used here is Porneia (from where we get the word pornography) and we could think of it as sort of junk drawer term in which we can put all sorts of sexual sins. But the Hebrew people were quite specific in what should be put in that drawer. For the people of God, Leviticus 18 was the porneia laws list - and yes it included male-male sodomy. There’s would not have been a single Jew in Jesus’ audience who would have not understood Jesus’ use of the term to include homo-sex along with all other sorts of heterosexual sins such as adultery and premarital sex. To state now – 2,000 years later - that Jesus would not have understood homosexual practice to be included under the banner of ‘sexual immoralities’ is culturally inappropriate and nothing short of exegetical imperialism.

But just like homosexual practice can defile us (as can heterosexual sins) it can also be forgiven and cleansed by Jesus.
______

Lastly, Jesus speaks about the nature of marriage while debating divorce:

Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”  -Matthew 19.4-6

In his debate with other religious leaders, Jesus quotes from the book of Genesis as an authoritative source – meaning the Jesus still thinks Moses is relevant and should be listened to. In doing so, Jesus affirms the gender binary and that the difference is to serve as the basis for a marriage that should last a life time.

Though Jesus’ direct object of debate here was divorce, is it too much of stretch to see implications for the current debate over gay ‘marriage’?  Is it really completely irrelevant?
If one isn’t a Christian – and if you aren’t I’m impressed you’ve read this far – none of this really matters. You may as well simply say that you disagree with Jesus. Fine - at least you understand what’s being said so that you can disagree intelligently.

The Trinity

I’ve tried to highlight that reasoning from silence is weak – whatever one might be discussing. I’ve also highlighted that the popular idea of Jesus saying nothing relevant to a discussion on homosexual practice is shaky to start with. But lastly, we must point out a certain presumption within the original argument.

In saying that Jesus ‘never said anything about homosexual practice’ one is implying that Jesus had nothing to do with the writings of Moses and the prophets before his earthly ministry. We are also saying Jesus had nothing to do with the writings of Paul and the other apostles after his earthly ministry – writings that deal very directly with homosexual practice (See More Here).

As Christians, we cannot agree with that presumption. We believe that God is a triune God – the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe this one God inspired the writings of the Bible and was fully and equally involved in all of God’s words and acts throughout it. So when Moses wrote Leviticus, Jesus was there. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, Jesus was there. And when God rained down fire on Sodom, Jesus was there – in full participation and full agreement.

So What?

If a Christian was arguing that we need deeper same-sex friendships and that Western men should engage more in deep, affectionate brotherhood, than the Bible would be fully in his or her corner. We certainly need more love. But it is Freud - not Jesus - that has installed in us that sex is the pinnalce of human relationships. We are being intellectually dishonest if we try to use Jesus as a source to approve of any sexual sin – be it sex with your boyfriend before marriage, a mistress after marriage, polyamory, swingers, or homosexual practice. 
_________________


bkFor a look at what the Bible says about close friendship between across the gender divide please check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Why is the Cross such a Big Deal?

Biographers typically use 99% or more of their book to describe the details of a man or woman’s life. Their words, relationships and accomplishments are what is paramount. After describing their life achievements, the biographer takes a few paragraphs to describe the person’s death. 

But with Jesus, it's completely different. 

When you read the biographical accounts of Jesus – Matthew, Mark, Luke or John – you will notice that the whole book is building to a climax: his murder. Almost 50% of John’s gospel deals with the week of Jesus’ death. There is no other historical figure whose death commands so much attention.

More songs have been sung about Jesus, more books written about him, more paintings painted of him – than any figure in history. In all this, it is the means of death – crucifixion – that commands the most attention. The result is that today the cross is the most widely recognised symbol in the world.

The Persians began the method of crucifixion by impaling someone with a single pole and letting them slowly die in public. The Romans added the patibulum - the horizontal bar - and sought to perfect this method by making it as drawn out and painful as possible. The person was stripped naked - especially shameful for Jews - and the torture would be so intense the dying would be unable to restrain the excretion of wastes. They would have to pull themselves up using the nails in their feet hands just to breathe. Dying could take days.

It was a type of death reserved for slaves or traitors. So terrible was this form of execution that a word had to be invented to describe its horrors. It is the word ‘excruciating’ – which means ‘from the cross’. Many people were executed in this way. Alexander the Great killed 2,000 people with this method after his siege of Tyre and the Romans executed Spartacus and 6,000 of his followers likewise - with dying men on crosses lining the roads to Rome to serve as an example. 

Though this method was banished by the Emperor Constatine three hundred years after Jesus, there have been regular resurgences of crucifiction as a way of killing Christians throughout history - the most recent being in Afganistan, Syria and Iraq. 

On the day Jesus was murdered, there were two rebels being executed near him. What seemed shocking to so many was that the early Christian movement referred to this death as ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’. It may still seem bizarre 2,000 years later. Even if one takes into account his resurrection three days later, wouldn’t it have been better if Jesus hadn’t been killed in the first place? Certainly not in such a horrific way?

Jesus’ last words give us clue as to why Christians see this as ‘good news’. He said seven words from the cross, but there are two which are the most well recorded and most known.

The first is: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!

Jesus was not screaming ‘Ahhh! My hands, my feet!’ The worst pain Jesus was experiencing was not the physical torment, but the spiritual and physiological torment of being cut off from the Father he had always known in perfect love. Jesus was experiencing a depth of rejection that is far beyond what you and I will ever have to experience. He was drinking the full cup of hell – and he was doing it on our behalf.

Jesus lived a perfect life of love – unlike you or me. He then took the punishment and rejection that our sins deserve and exchanged his cosmic throne for humanity’s electric chair. The Creator God who must morally judge the universe is also the one being judged on our behalf. All of the darkness that we have brought into our lives, he takes upon himself and from that heart of darkness, he loves us.

Jesus’ other well-known phrase are his final words: It is finished!

Don’t pity Jesus. Don’t weep over him. He was a man on a mission. He voluntarily paid the price for your sin and has come through the other side - to save you from the gallows of your own foolishness. He has opened the door to bring into God’s family anyone who comes to him in trust and repentance. Three days later he was raised from the dead and now gives forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who comes to him in humility – regardless of background, intelligence, attractiveness, wealth or morality. There is no one so perverse that Jesus cannot heal them. There is no soul so soured with sinning that Jesus cannot make new.

That’s why the cross is such a big deal. 
_______________________________
Joshua Jones is pastor of Therfield Chapel, near Royston.
Join us for church on Sunday, 10am, as we talk more about Jesus. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

How the World will be Transformed

I can get easily get distracted. Instead of using my time as a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven, I often use it as a dumbassador from the Republic of Stupid. 

In addition to my own foolishness, the Bible teaches that there are demonic forces that try to keep us from God. There's actually a plot to keep us from investing our time in what is most important. 

In today’s world, there’s a lot of pressure on Christian leaders to ‘build a greater platform’ in order to to change the world for Christ. We are told to build social media followings, get speaking engagements, and make ourselves known. We have many would-be soldiers of the cross trying to make gain popularity with people. But what does all that ultimately matter if we lose popularity in heaven? Does hell really get nervous if our tweets are many but our prayers are few?

Some Christian leaders put a lot of attention into personal appearance. Looking sharp, well dressed, and hip is all the rage. From skinny jeans in some churches to tailored suits in others – many preachers and worship leaders give great attention to their personal apperance and hygiene. But what does our outward cleanliness matter if we have dirty minds and unclean spirits? Does God distribute his anointing based on our fashion sense? We know better than to say ‘yes’, but our use of time betrays us.

Others put a lot of time and energy into staying in shape. Pursuing physical fitness is not bad – but it’s usually the good that takes the place of the best. Does it really matter how big my biceps are if my soul is puny? How proud should I be of my physical tone if my spirit is anaemic? One day my body's strength will fail me and I will have to lay my tired bones down down to rest in eternity's sea. Will I enter those waters with a mighty, well trained heart? 

It's important that we are wise with our money. The Bible speaks of stewardship and our use of money does reflect the condition of our inner life. But if our cleverness with earthly riches only results in bigger personal accounts for us, what will that matter before the judgement seat? If we have worldly wealth but spiritual poverty then we are exposed as being nothing more than a special, multi-flavoured variety of insane.

Knowledge is also good. There are no brownie points in God’s economy for being a dummy. But even if we have vast theological knowledge – will that alone break the powers of darkness over our generation? I know many people who burned with the fire of God in their youth. But as the years past, their minds grew deeper, but their hearts became shallower. Their academic standing flourished while their knee bending wilted. You can have more theology degrees than Fahrenheit - but still have a frozen heart.  Will this cause demons to tremble?

As we age, we may start to get grey hairs – may we not get grey hearts. In prayer we can maintain all the cheer and charm of life’s summer prime.

For those who are new, at first the hours may seem to drag. But as your heart muscles grow, the time gallops away as you engage with God in Spirit and in fire. Making time is not easy at first. Even this morning I awoke to pray only to find my twisted summer sleep hanging about me like sea weed. But intimacy with God - and a platform before heaven - grows by investing time, focus and energy. No shortcuts.

God does what nothing else will do - and he says that he will respond to focused, feverent prayer. Not just talking about prayer, preaching about prayer or blogging about prayer – but actual, heat producing prayer. Prayer for God’s Kingdom to breakthrough to our generation which is running faster than Usain Bolt towards a dark and Christless insanity.
____________________________________

bkFor a look at what the Bible says about close friendship between Men and Women, check out Forbidden Friendships available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK

Friday, 12 August 2016

Vegan Musketeers, Biblical Interpretation & Dragon Swag


Imagine you're walking through a high-school library when you come across a group students studying for a literature exam. They know in advance that one of the sections will be on 19th century French Novels. You hear one of the teenagers say, ‘I read The Three Musketeers. Anyone else?’ How surprised would you be to then hear…

‘Yes, it’s a fantastic vegan cookbook.’

‘For me it was a stirring overview of global economic history – though I’m unsure about the author’s predictions of a violent rise of the proletariat.’

‘I was so happy when the wizard came back as D’Artagnan after his fall in the mines of Paris.’

You might interrupt – that’s not how The Three Musketeers goes. After all, you read the book in college and had seen film adaptations as a child. You know how it goes.

What if those students then respond to you by saying, ‘That’s just your interpretation. It means something different for us. Did you read it in the original French? There are different translations – maybe yours was different than ours.’

Would you even know how to begin to respond? Such statements about The Three Musketeers are absurd. And like many absurd statements - to address them adequately does take some reflection.


Are Interpretation Challenges Exagerated? 

Admittedly, the example above is extreme. From Marx’s Communist Manifesto to Plato’s Republic, we trust reliable, scholarly translations and the ability of the human mind to make general sense of a work. Fortunately, no one really ever speaks in the above ways about most books. Sadly, the one book that our generation does speak of in these ways is the most important book this world contains.

I get the points raised by post-war, Existentialist philosophers like Derrida who rightfully point out that as finite and fallen humans we cannot 100% take in the full depth and potential of meaning communicated to us by someone. In our finitude there is always room for us to understand more fully what is being said or written.

Admittedly, we also change - and that adds shades of meaning to what we hear and read. The words ‘I love you’ may mean one thing on our third date. But that same phrase may have much more depth and width on our 50th wedding anniversary.

Likewise with the Bible. When I first started reading the New Testament at age 12, I understood much of what I read and it had deep, life changing meaning for me. Now – after many years of studying it, reading it in different languages, and trying to apply it – the meaning is enhanced. 

We may also freely concede that there is legitimate debate among translators – not just of the Bible but of all works. Some translators try to translate books and letters with more of a word-for-word approach. Others try to translate sentence-for-sentence or even idea-for-idea. Though the general meaning will still be preserved, it gives the reading a different feel depending on what translation you choose. (My recommendation and practice for the Bible is to read scholarly translations of both methods.)

These issues regarding interpretation and translation are acknowledged. But when it comes to the Bible, sometimes people exagerate and stretch these ideas to undermind the readability and reliability of its message. In my pastoral experience, most of the time when this happens it’s not the parts of the Bible that people don’t understand that are bothering them – it’s the parts they do understand but that they don’t agree with. They don't want it to say what it clearly says.


Dragon Swag

Doubt is the new sexy. Some pretend that what the Bible ‘actually’ says is too difficult an enterprise for mere mortals. Preachers who do this are zeitgeist-posers who are trying to fit in with the cool kids. Getting up on stage and talking about what a hard week you’ve had and how you have issues with this week’s Bible passage, and how it’s a real struggle to understand why Paul would say something so harsh (a nice guy like you certainly wouldn’t have written that!) is to miss the point of Biblical preaching. The Bible acknowledges that we may struggle with doubt – but doubt is never meritorious.

Scripture refers to preachers as messengers and ambassadors. Imagine two armies getting ready for battle. Before the battle the lead general of the first army sends a messenger on a horse to the lead general of the other army. Now, whatever the message actually says – whether it is terms of peace or a call to surrender – one thing the recieving general will not do after reading the message is to look up at the messenger and ask, ‘So… how does this make you feel?’ The messenger is not asked how he feels about his general’s message - that's irrelevant to the main task.

Preachers, your own feelings and struggles with doubt and sin – and we all have these from time to time – are not the main issue. You do not need perfect faith to communicate the message. We simply need to relay the full counsel of the book we’ve been given.

Christians, if you do not embrace the beauty and truth of Scripture in your own life, you’ll always be a slave to the latest fad that sounds good. In surrender to God's word there is freedom from the swag of the dragon. 
__________________________________
bkFor a look at what the Bible DOES say about close friendship between Men and Women, check out Forbidden Friendships available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

3 Minimals of Missional Fruitfulness

I have been sharing the message of Jesus for over 20 years - which means that most of my readers think I'm old and decrepit. 

Perhaps I am. But during those eons of exisistence I’ve had the chance to have many conversations about who God is and by His grace even see a few lives changed through the gospel. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my attempts at missional living – I’ve certainly embarrassed myself on several occasions. Some teaching on how to ‘evangelise’ can be complicated or even weird. But I’ve found that though missionaries come in all varieties, they fruitful ones always share 3 minimals. Here are the 3 practices I’ve found that consistently aid me and other Christians in Christ’s call to be a witness.

Listen

It’s painfully cliché, but it’s true: God gives us two ears but only one mouth. When talking with people around you, learn to ask good questions so that you can… listen. God may have worked in their life in ways you know nothing about. Before you talk - you want to learn all you can about the person you will be speaking to. To not listen isn't just rude - it's unwise.

They have a history and may have certain reasons why they don’t follow Christ - even if those reasons are bad. People really do want to share their story. In order to talk they just need to feel safe – and know that you genuinely care. Be that person. After you’ve listened, politely ask permission if you can share your story. If they say yes, proceed to tell them of the impact Christ has had on you. Be gentle, courageous, and humble.

Good News

Once you’ve been invited to speak, get the message right. There are two parts to our message. The first part of our message is who Jesus is and what he’s done. This is called the ‘Gospel’ or ‘Good News’. We often mess this up, thinking that the Good News is good advice. We tell people what they should or shouldn’t be doing: don’t do drugs, don’t get an abortion, stop sleeping around, start recycling, start giving to the poor, etc. Don't do that - don't be religious twat. The Good News is simply that when we were helpless in our sins, Jesus came to save us by taking our place on the cross and by rising again to give us new life. We repent and find mercy in him. It’s not what we do, it’s what has been done for us that we are called to witness to.

The second part you share is your own story. It’s about what you used to be and how Jesus has changed you. It’s not about how you cleaned yourself up and no longer go the parties you used to go to. It’s not about how you used be selfish but now you’re really dedicated to helping your community. It’s not your self-improvement project. It’s about how you’ve experienced Jesus’ mercy in spite of your failures. For me that means saying how I was once afraid of death, but the resurrected Jesus has broken that fear in my life and given me deep peace. It’s telling how I often feel lonely – but how I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness in my darkest hours.

Persistent Prayer

Lastly, pray. I don’t mean to insult all you geniuses by mentioning this – but it’s the 101 basic that hell keeps getting us away from. When I persistently ask God for opportunities to be a witness, doors begin to open. We share the message, but it is the Holy Spirit who opens hearts and who guides our steps. A life of fruitful missional living begins with and is sustained by persistent, private prayer.

Cultivate these three minimals in your life, keep coming back to them when you get distracted, and let me know how God begins to use you.
____________

bkFor a look at healthy friendships between Men and Women check out Forbidden Friendships available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK

Monday, 25 July 2016

Mirror, Mirror in my Mind

So last night I came across a feisty atheist on Twitter who was using the popular hashtag #JesusChangesEverything in an apparent effort to provoke debate with Christians. His tweets were trying to discredit the existence of a good God by pointing to cruelty and suffering in the world. Being the loveable chap that I am, I decided to chivalrously render my services by helping him see the flaw in his logic. Any guesses how that went? Yes – an hour later we were still debating. Most of the debate focused on mirror neurons (MN) and the ability of science to explain morality.

The challenge we Twitterati must face is that we exercise a medium that doesn’t allow much room for developed debate. It’s like trying to do synchronised swimming with a friend in a bathtub – there’s want for elbow room. But the subject was a good one – and as I’ve encountered many atheists who employ similar reasoning – I thought I’d develop it some more here for those who may also encounter the argument.

What Are Mirror Neurons?

Wikipedia – the fount all of knowledge – defines it as:

a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behaviour of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate species.

Who Cares?
The concept of MN is new - the term was coined back in the 90s. It’s something I have a minor interest in them as I have an autistic son and one theory floating around at the moment is that autism is rooted in faulty MN processing.

It’s relevant to debate about God because MN is used as a materialist explanation of why humans have a sense of morality. What some atheists are now doing – including my tweeting doppelganger last night – is putting an incredible amount of childlike faith in MN theory. Many in the neuro-science world have pointed out how in the last six years MN theory has gotten far ahead of any actual evidence and have called their zealots to calm down a bit (Here for More). The rosy-cheeked naiveté with which some are passionately embracing this infant theory has made some more seasoned scientists embarrassed apparently.

Mirror neurons are an exciting, intriguing discovery – but when you see them mentioned in the media, remember that most of the research on these cells has been conducted in monkeys... we’re still trying to establish for sure whether they exist in humans, and how they compare with the monkey versions. -Dr. Christian Jarett (British Psycological Society)

Can Biology Alone Explain Morality?

So last night - in an effort to dismiss morality rooted in the nature of God – my tweeting partner used MN theory as if it were dogma – and with great pontification. (Go ahead, read the tweets yourself). But to the point: as a Christian, how should you respond to the claim that morality is just something burned into us by biology?

That there may be genuine biological factors to how our consciousness works, we Christians do not doubt. But neither do we get tossed to and fro by the latest waves of neurological theory which will only be replaced in a decade. We are adamant that evolutionary biology alone cannot account for it.

There are many strands of thought on how evolution alone can account for morality (MN theory is just one of the newest). But most are based on the idea of progress, working together in tribes over millions of years, and of learning the idea that what goes around comes around – that we all prosper better when we are kind to one another. It's theorised that our neurons formed altruistic patterns and – viola – empathy!

The result of this tale is that we see ourselves as progressed – in the 21st century West – to a place of great moral enlightenment. We look back at those primitives who lived just two hundred years ago and pat ourselves on the back that we are their moral superiors. Certainly we would never want to return to the morality of the Bible (whatever that’s supposed to be).

The question is, who decides that our moral practices are superior to those practiced 300 or even 3000 years ago? You? Me? Stalin? Do we deicide that our morality is superior to all others? That’s a bit cheeky.

‘Our morality is superior to yours!’

‘How do you know?

‘We checked or moral ideals, and our morality conforms to them better than yours does.’

We may look back at ancient cultures (or even other cultures today) and think them barbaric or immoral. But they might just as well return the compliment. It’s the imperialist in all of us that finds the morality that our group holds to as superior to all others.

This is why atheist Friedrich Nietzsche – and other existentialist philosophers – have reasoned that if ‘God is dead’, all things are permitted. They're right. They aren't advocating immorality as such, they are just consistent enough to recognise that if human life is an accident - that if human beings are just grown up germs who are only a brief abnormality of the universe - then any talk of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is just silly. All we have under such conditions is animal preferences. Your ‘moral beliefs’ are nothing more than chance atoms banging together in your head – no more right or wrong than a nun’s or a psychopath’s. You like beef, I like chicken. You like gang rape, but I don’t care for it myself. You may not like the fact our culture burns adulterers – you may do it differently in your country – but who are you to judge that it’s ‘wrong’?

The evolutionary theories usually skip over the huge ethical differences that do exist worldwide. In the West, we have gay pride parades. In Saudi Arabia, you get your head chopped off for sodomy. In America, I can leave my family religion and become an atheist. In Afghanistan I’ll be on the receiving end of an ‘honour’ killing for doing that. Who decides which culture now has the better evolved morality? What if North Korea is really on the cutting edge, and Swedes are the primitive ones?

Atheists can be moral people – more moral than many Christians I’ve met. I’ve met some who have all the moral zeal of a Puritan (you’re welcome). But what atheists cannot do is give a philosophically consistent explanation for their morality. When pushed back far enough, they are only speaking for what a person or group may prefer, not something that is inherently right or wrong.

Most atheists want to hold on to a concept of morality because they are moral creatures. They are moral creatures because they were created in the image of God with value, dignity and worth. Pride and sin have polluted and soured our moral faculties, but it’s still there. It is usually quite sharp and clear when judging others, but gets a bit evasive and muddle with excuses when we have to face our own trespasses.

Jesus did not come to give us super charged ethical information. He came to die in our place because – whether religious or irreligious, primitive or modern – we all fail to consistently live out what we know is right and true. He comes to offer us forgiveness and eternal life.
____________________________


bkFor a look at healthy friendships between Men and Women check out Forbidden Friendships available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK