I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’ve been doing a bit of writing. But for various reasons, not writing I can share here.
But I’d like to share some of my thoughts.
I’ve been wondering about Christianity and morality. I’ve been thinking about Euthyphro and Socrates. Does God love Good because it’s good, or is Good good because God loves it? I’ve been thinking about Nietzsche and good/bad and good/evil. What kind of Good is Christianity?
Like a lot of deep questions, it doesn’t really matter that much. Either way, we are to obey God, right?
And yet I think it does matter. Because if whatever is Good pleases God, perhaps there’s room for good, too. There’s room for the things we know are right, even if we can’t back it up with scripture. But if whatever pleases God is Good, then good is useless because it is not Good.
I’m reminded of a phrase used to scold children. “You know better than that.” Knowing better. Being acquainted with a higher good.
I think a lot of times, Christians know better, but hide their laziness about the good behind the Good. They know better than to hold back or restrict their love for the people closest to them. But the Bible says to be pure and it’s easier to not have sex than it is to be vulnerable in relationships. They know better than to oppress gays, but since the Bible says homosexuality is not Good, fighting gay marriage is obviously the ‘loving’ thing to do. They know better than to make a lot of noise about abortion but not really do anything about it. It’s a lot easier to make something illegal than it is to put an end to it. They know better than to perpetuate a broken and unsustainable healthcare system that prices out the poor, bankrupts and kills the middle class, and makes (some of) the rich richer. But it’s a lot easier to toe the party line than it is to be informed.
In fact, it’s a lot easier to be politically active than it is to be spiritually active. It’s easier to wag a finger and wave a sign and preach to the choir and call someone on Facebook an idiot than it is to pray or volunteer or listen or entertain ideas that challenge your beliefs.
I get frustrated with Christians who can’t see the forest for the trees. They see the little rules.Â They pay lipservice to the big picture of loving their neighbor. But they don’t do it. Perhaps they think the little rules are loving God and therefore more important than loving their neighbor.
I get even more frustrated with Christians who acknowledge the problems with the Christian status quo, discussing them endlessly, but somehow in their disillusionment and cynicism, fail to emerge from it. And yet they still feel they’re somehow better than the others.
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is goodâ€”except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Where have you been satisfied with just the commandments? Where have you stopped short at the Good and failed to do good too?
One final thought: Jesus wasn’t very nice to people who placed more importance on their own purity than on genuine love.