Does Christianity Provide A Practical Foundation For A Decent Ethical System?
Christians believe the Bible. Christians don’t believe in the Bible. Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God. That is, Christians believe God exists and that the Bible is His divine revelation to us.
Why do Christians believe God exists? The Book of Romans provides a good condensation of Christian theology. Consider this observation about the existence of God.
Why don’t some people believe in God? The Bible says we don’t want to believe in God. In “The Passion Translation”, that later portion of verse 18 is translated this way.
For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God.Romans 1:18-23 TPT – God Reveals His Wrath – For God in – Bible Gateway
Some will say we no longer worship images or idols made in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures, that this verse is archaic nonsense. However, idols represent the things we desire before God, and many of us still put our desires before God. We put sexual pleasure, the stuff we want, our “scientific” excuses, the power of the state, and our self — our pride — before God. This is no different than the idol worship of old. The idols of old were just manifestations of the desires of their owners, their desires represented as wood, stone, and metal statues decorated with jewels.
Why do Christians believe the Bible? There are various arguments. Here are some.
- Why do we believe the Bible is actually the word of God? – The Christian Post
- Why should I believe the Bible? (compellingtruth.org)
- Why should I believe the Bible? | GotQuestions.org
- Why Should I Believe the Bible? (christianity.com)
- YOU NEED PROOF? – Citizen Tom
Why do Christians believe the Bible? In the end it comes down to believing Jesus is real, and He saved us from our sins. We believe in Jesus because we know He existed, and nothing else makes sense without Him.
Can we show the Bible is scientifically true? We cannot even show science is scientifically true. In fact, science blossomed in the West because Christians had confidence that God’s Creation was orderly, and science depends upon this confidence as an assumed truth.
Because science itself depends upon the proposition that the universe must behave in an orderly, predicable manner we cannot prove the proposition that the universe must behave in an orderly, predicable manner using science. The reasoning would be circular. We cannot even use science to prove or disprove the existence of the God who makes His creation behave in an orderly, predicable manner. We can model the cause and effect relationships we find in the natural world, but without a belief in God we cannot say why predictable cause and effect relationships must exist. Without God, we just have a supposition the ancients had little reason to make. The ancients believed in many gods and spirits because these gods and spirits provided seemingly logical explanations.
Still, because His existence offends our pride, we don’t want to believe in God. So, how does God bring some to the point of believing He exists and turning to Him in faith? Christians believe we must hear and study His Word. How did Jesus put it? Just before His death on the cross, Jesus comforted His disciples.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. How do we come to the Father through Jesus? We keep Jesus’ commandments because we love Him (John 14:15 NASB – “If you love Me, you will keep My – Bible Gateway).
Where are the commandments of Jesus? They are in the Bible. To understand what Jesus wants us to do, we must read the Bible, and we must obey its teachings.
What kind of ethical system does the Bible provide us. Instead of what would seem obvious, an ethical system based upon what man considers good and evil, the Bible tells us that it is good to obey God, and it is evil to disobey God. The Bible also tells us something that makes obedience to God far more palatable than it otherwise might be. The Bible tells us God loves us, and He wants what is best for us.
Is it always easy to obey God? No. One reason is that the wisdom of God can seem very strange and odd to us. Faith in God requires us to obey a Being whose wisdom is beyond us.
Plainly, Christians doubt the wisdom of this world. Why? Because we understand we are slaves to sin (Romans 7:14-25 NASB – The Conflict of Serving Two Masters – Bible Gateway). We may wish to do the right thing, but the desires of our flesh will betray us. What man would choose to love his enemy (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB – “You have heard that it was said, – Bible Gateway)? Yet this is the wisdom of God. Without the guidance of our Lord — without His Holy Spirit — we will too often call what is actually evil good and what is actually good evil (Isaiah 5:20-21 NASB – Woe to those who call evil good, and – Bible Gateway).
Thus, we have now arrived at this question, does the Bible provide us a practical foundation for a decent ethical system? Christians say yes, and they point to the Bible as the foundational document of Western philosophy and law. Secularists say no, arguing that the Bible is just ancient mythology. As noted in the first post in this series, Part 4 will address the conflicts that arise from the differences between the Christian worldview and Secular morality. In Part 4 we will also consider whether these differences form the basis of our growing national divide.