Writing: The Pressure of the Inevitable

June 26, 2012

A.W. Tozer, in the preface to The Divine Conquest, wrote, “The only book that should ever be written is one that flows up from the heart, forced out by the inward pressure. When such a work has gestated within a man it is almost certain that it will be written. The man who is thus charged with a message will not be turned back by any blase consideration. His book will be to him not only imperative, it will be inevitable.” There has been a growing burden on my heart to resume writing, and I will be presenting some of the “inevitable” on this blog.

I plan on revisiting some of my old blog posts – rewriting some, editing some, and some I will simply repost. I also look forward to writing new posts, presenting some new ideas as well as some old ideas in new ways. As always comments are welcome, but please be respectful. Feel free to engage the question at hand and ask new ones. I look forward to answering them.

Thank you in advance for your readership, and thank you to those who have continued to follow through this silence. It is my hope and prayer that this blog may be a blessing.

Krista Dominguez
Acts 20:24

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Is Morality An Ends Or A Means?

June 19, 2008

Morality – “1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct
2. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct”
Ends – “Something toward which one strives”
Means – “A method to attain an end”
(American Heritage Dictionary)

Ubiquitous Che asked the following question in response to my last post:

Is living a moral life a means to an end, or is it an end in itself?

If living a moral life is a means to an end, what is the end?
If living a moral life is an end in itself, what’s so special about it?

… I’m genuinely curious to know your answer whichever two of the above three questions are relevant to your worldview.

This question is important because it hits the crux of what makes Christianity unique. Let me deal with the possibilities of morality being an ends and morality being a means, and then I will give my answer in regards to the Christian worldview.

For most religious worldviews, living a moral life is a means – it is the method used to attain salvation. A code of right and wrong, often including mandatory religious observances, must be kept. If it is kept perfectly enough as determined by the particular system, the devotee may attain the system’s view of paradise, be it a literal place, a state of mind, or even the cessation of consciousness itself.

It should be noted that this category includes not only the religiously devout, but also those everyday nominals who view themselves as generally “good people” and whose view of God fosters the belief that this will get them to heaven. Again in this case morality is a means – being a “good person” gets one into heaven.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we find the humanistic worldviews, which view morality as an end in itself. Adherents of this perspective often view the goal of their lives as doing good things. There is no eternal purpose in all this, no end to attain or ultimate reward to reap. Even for the one who does seek recognition, I will categorize them here because of a lack of eternal end. Morality is the goal because they believe this life is all there is and it should be lived the best we can.

Now to the question at hand. I am answering in regards to Christian morality because this is the worldview which I defend as the only fully coherent and consistent one. I am referring to a biblically Christian morality – one that adheres to the Bible. I am not talking about people who merely call themselves Christians but fail to live within the moral framework of their profession.

Biblically speaking, morality is not an end in itself. It is true that there would be nothing special about the Christian religion if this were the case.

Neither is Christian morality strictly a means, a way to get to something eternal, in the classic sense.

Now let me qualify those statements lest I confuse some and be met with cries of “heretic” from others.

What do I mean when I say morality is not a means? If we view salvation as the goal of religion, biblically speaking doing good things doesn’t save anyone. The heart of the Gospel message is that all people are born sinful and thus unable to attain salvation by their own means. Anyone less than perfect may not enter God’s presence, which is the essence of eternal salvation in heaven. Because of this, God made a way for mean to be “born again,” spiritually remade as God originally intended, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In biblical Christianity salvation is not attained by means of good morality, but is received by faith.

So what part does morality play in the Christian life? After all, Christians are constantly condemning immoral behavior and crying out on behalf of God’s moral law.

Biblically Christian faith has its outworking, its outward manifestation, in good deeds. The sinful nature everyone is born with is put to death in Christ and a new man is made. The result is someone eager to live a good moral life, not because it will save them from hell and get them into heaven, but because of the love of God that they now possess as a result of the supernatural act of the salvation of their soul. One who has received Christ as Lord desires to serve him with their life. Good morality and good deeds result.

We may end up with a couple different types of people: those who have some sort of morality without having put their faith in Christ; and those who profess Christ but whose lives contradict their profession. For the one who claims their know Christ but does not live a moral life, you can be sure they do not really know him at all, for the Bible says the Christian will produce good “fruit” in keeping with repentance. For the one who has morality without Christ, their morality as an ends still has no significance, and as a means produces no salvation.

To answer the question briefly, Christian morality is neither an end or a means. The end is salvation. The means is Jesus Christ. Morality flows from the faith that flows from the heart of the one who has receives the means so that they may attain the end.


The End of Reason

May 8, 2008

I have purchased and begun to read Ravi Zacharias’ new book The End of Reason. It is a fascinating study, and a strongly worded one at that, against the new atheism and the ideology it promotes. I would like to write more about this as I finish the book, a 128-page letter in response to Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. For now, here are two examples of where the atheistic worldview breaks down.

First in the issue of morality: The atheist has no absolute point of reference to claim anything is right or wrong. Sam Harris claims to believe in morality, but never answers the question of where morality comes from. If it comes from within oneself, my morality may contradict yours, and we still have no answers. Relative morality is not morality at all, merely preference.

Stemming from this point, the example is given of a woman who called in to a radio show Zacharias was a guest on accusing him of putting up all this fight merely to rid women of the “right” to an abortion. He answered her by asking her why she believes (as Harris does) that God choosing to end the lives of some while saving others makes him immoral, while she sees her choice of ending the life in her womb as a moral right. You cannot hold God up to a different standard than you yourself believe in. Harris even went so far as to state in his first book that in some instances a person’s belief system is a justification to kill them (implying of course that Christians may be killed for morally acceptable reasons). Yet he shakes his fist at God for allowing atrocities such as Auschwitz.

There are many more contradictions along the way as well. What it boils down to is this: While the new atheists claim to have a rational worldview while anyone who believes in God is irrational, in reality it is the atheistic worldview that breaks down in the end. As Zacharias puts it, “The Bible outlives its pallbearers.”


Atheism or Irreligion?

April 15, 2008

I stumbled across a quick post today entitled “Is Atheism a Crutch?”. It made me go “hmm” because I have been thinking a similar thought these days.

Ravi Zacharias postulates that most atheists are not so for intellectual reasons but for moral reasons. In other words, many have not chosen atheism because they don’t think there is enough evidence for God or anything like that, but because they echo Huxley’s sentiment that they want this world to be without God and without meaning so they can do whatever they want without consequence. I tend to agree.

I am not saying that all atheists are immoral buffoons, but I do agree with Ravi. At the heart of atheism many times is not the rejection of God’s existence but the choice not to serve, worship, or really think of him at all. At the heart many atheists are not really atheists but simply irreligious.

Most of the people I have encountered who profess atheism do so out of rebellion in one way or another. They do not want to have God on their consciences telling them what they are doing is wrong. They do not like feeling guilty about sin and fearing hell.

By the way, conviction is not a bad thing, and fear of hell is not a bad reason to seek God’s mercy. In fact these are the very reasons we seek God – so he will make us into new creations in Christ Jesus. Salvation is not just “fire insurance,” but a new life that is born out of true sorrow and repentance.

So the root of both atheistic irreligion and Christianity is morality. Many atheists are so because of rebellion in one way or another, wanting to write their own moral laws. Many Christians have become Christians because they have seen the moral bankruptcy of their lives and the moral perfection of a holy God.


Is Truth Old-Fashioned?

April 1, 2008

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in absolutes. I believe there is such thing as truth. I believe the Bible is God’s infallible Word and serves as our reference point for knowing God’s mind in matters of truth. I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, just like the Bible says. I also believe these things are not merely matters of faith but of reason. I think they make sense.

These kinds of ideas are seen today as things of a bygone era, things our parents and grandparents believed, but things that have no bearing on our lives today.

Interestingly, I’m not an “old” person – I’m in my early twenties. Nor was I raised in the church – I had heard some things about God as a child but did not become a born-again Christian until I was 19. I do not fit the stereotype of old-fashioned Christianity. My daddy isn’t a preacher. My mom wasn’t a praying woman when I was growing up. They didn’t drag us to church or make us listen to boring sermons. They didn’t push their old-fashioned views on us, indoctrinating us before we knew better. There’s nothing wrong with being raised in the church or with teaching your kids what’s true and right. I encourage these things. I’m just saying that that wasn’t me.

The truth is that truth exists, and it is not old-fashioned to say so.


The Top 10 Lies Our Culture Believes

March 14, 2008

Our culture has been taught to believe all sorts of things that just aren’t true. I’m going to be covering each of these over the next two weeks. The first five have to do with the way our culture views spirituality. The last five have to do with the issues directly impacted by culture’s faulty understanding of spirituality.

1. Truth is relative.
2. Faith is private.
3. The Bible is full of contradictions and the church full of hypocrites.
4. You can’t judge me.
5. I’ll never be perfect.
6. I can do whatever I want as long as it’s not hurting anyone.
7. I can be with whoever I want as long as we love each other.
8. It is a woman’s right to choose abortion.
9. Divorce is acceptable if a marriage is no longer working.
10. A submissive wife is a slave.

Editor’s Note: We are going back to our regularly daily posting schedule. Thank you for bearing with us as we lowered the dosage for the last few weeks! It has been a great time of spiritual recharging for me. I’m glad to be back up to full strength and ready to get back to blogging 5 days a week.


Judging God

March 12, 2008

Richard Dawkins’ latest book (collaborated with Neil Gaiman, and Russ Kick) is called Everything You Know About God Is Wrong. This provokes a couple interesting questions.

First, if Dawkins doesn’t believe in God, how can he ask such a question in the first place? If God doesn’t exist, then how could any view of him be wrong?

Second, how would Dawkins know what view of God is wrong compared to what is right? What is his point of reference? If he claims it is his reason, well that just doesn’t line up, because his reason claims God doesn’t exist in the first place (per point #1). If he still says his reason and skirts the issue, the points remains – he doesn’t have a point of reference to compare what God “ought to be like” (in his view) to what God isn’t (in his view).

If you are going to say God “isn’t” something, you have to have something to point to so that you can say what God is. Otherwise you are just taking shots in the dark. This is not reason, but just subjectivity.


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