The simple truth about mankind is that left to our devices we are naturally rebels against God. Left on our own we are depraved beings. Left to our own devices we make very poor company indeed. Left to our own devices everything we do is a sin. Left to our own devices we run our Hell bound race indifferent to the cost.
Don’t believe me? As Paul writes:
“and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Romans 8 v 23
Paul relates our moral standing not to how we treat our fellow man but to our relationship with God. If we have no faith in God then nothing we do is morally good. For if we have no faith in God we have no faith in truth, no faith in righteousness, no faith in good for all these things are God.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 1 v 21
The fact that the world is somehow ‘broken’ is a recognised fact. A flick through a newspaper will show that the world could be so much better than it is. Injustice, war, crime, theft, fraud, oppression, slavery, genocide and dictatorships are ever present companions in this world. The question that all political, economic, philosophical and religious thinking has to answer is how do we fix it?
Education! Say many. But the universal education of the population has achieved little of what was thought. Education was going to abolish poverty, make crimes a thing of the past and push society to greater heights. True, education is vastly preferable to ignorance but it can’t fix what is broken.
Democracy! Say others. If only! The world has more democratic governments than ever before but utopia is still out of reach. Democracy is a god that has failed us.
Atheism! Imply some. If only there were no religions then ‘right thinking’ men and women could live about their lives in peace and harmony. Bah, I say, are atheists really better people? Are they more moral? More tolerant? Less prone to lying, cheating, stealing, abusing authority? I think not.
Good manners! Chivalry is dead, honour a forgotten concept, sportsmanship long gone, a sense of responsibility is dead. If only we had these like we had them in the past. And while these things would do some good they aren’t the be all and end all.
Justice! If only criminals were hung and the law was enforced with an iron fist. Again, although preferable to our current system crime would still pay. People would still choose to break the law.
All these things make up civilisation, all of them (except atheism) are good things, excellent things, concepts which are rightly valued and fought for.
But they tackle only the symptoms of mankind’s real problem.