Thursday, December 22, 2011

A come to Jesus moment not required to live a great life, although we want it to be.

Our society is strange. We tolerate the worst behavior by men, and when they want to change , to live life with real meaning, values, and responsibility, we naturally present Christianity as the Way. Capitalism pushes consumption and attitudes that fuel misbehavior and excess, and an empty, unhealthy MTV, football, and Jersey Shore environment, and the fundamentalist Churches offer to fill the void through being born again and following God. If you do, you'll be put in touch with the virtuous higher life.

One extreme follows the other, and often born again Christians pursue a separatist agenda, cutting themselves off from secular society, creating an alternate universe where good values prevail. The churches take advantage of people who want to change, convincing them that they need an intimate relationship with Christ, and a total Biblical worldview for change to happen. The seekers give them an inch of their inner thoughts and conflicts and they take a yard of their independence, pressuring them to absorb the fundamentalist cult mentality, when all they wanted was to lead a decent life.

You don't need to accept Christ, believe in God or the Bible to lift yourself up or lead a good existence. The principles involved are purely philosophical. There's nothing sacred about them, but our ethical tradition, influenced by unreligious pagans like Aristotle and Seneca, has been so Christianized that it's hard to disassociate the higher life from the Christian life.

Instead, society should incorporate adult responsibility and virtue into itself as something natural, no Jesus, God or Bible involved. It's not productive to either mindlessly involve yourself in "the world" or cut yourself off from it, and it's a mark against the U.S. that we don't have a good secular way to discuss how to live a good life.

No comments: