Few words are as powerful as ‘why?’ When it comes to what our neighbours think, ‘why?’ helps us understand. When discussing issues of importance with our neighbours without a Christian worldview, it also helps us, and maybe them, to see that the worldview they hold is founded on shifting sands.
Consider your average secular Aussie. They believe people are the result of millions of years of chance mutation and natural selection. In this worldview, we are no different from the animals, simply more highly evolved.
But if that is the case, why do they believe people have value? It is still innate in our neighbours to believe that people should be treated well, and they are outraged (rightly) by the abuse and violence they see. They are horrified by atrocities like child sexual abuse, rape, murder, and other acts of violence.
In the issue of abortion, there are women out there offended that their ‘rights’ over ‘their bodies’ are even being discussed, that abortion is still something to be debated. They believe that they should have bodily autonomy.
But why believe this? They have strong moral beliefs (some of them right, and some – like their commitment to abortion – is tragically wrong). But where do these come from?
According to their worldview, we are a random collection of molecules. Our thoughts are random chemical reactions in a random brain. So why do they act as if their belief about morality is so right? How can they trust it?
Their instinct that there is a true morality we should uphold (even if their understanding of it is woefully wrong) only makes sense in the Christian worldview, where people are made in God’s image (Gen 1:26). The next time you speak with someone and they make a morality claim, try asking them why.
Our society is confused about life. The confusion is showcased in the debates surrounding the two bookends of life: its beginning and end. But the confusion doesn’t end there.
In considering the beginning of life, Thursday saw the NSW upper house pass a bill that would enforce a 150m “safe zone” around NSW abortion clinics. Not safety for the unborn child. Not even safety for the expectant mothers. It’s not a “safety zone”, but a “silencing zone”, where the voices opposed to abortion cannot speak for fear of prosecution. Our society is closing their ears to the reality of when life begins to make their lives easier.
On the other side of the pendulum, debates continue around euthanasia. “Dignity” is the objective, with our society under the tragic belief that dignity is lost when control over one’s body is lost. Pain is the enemy, with no possibility that good can come out of it. Instead of being a precious gift, life becomes a burden.
In between isn’t immune from the confusion either. The uncertainty of what life is about, our purpose, has led to a culture in crisis. Instead of seeing that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”, our society has no clue. People live for sex, pleasure, power, leisure, travel, entertainment, success, popularity and money. Anything but what we’ve been made for.
Life is about glorifying God and enjoying him. From its beginning to its end. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). God is the one who formed us (Ps 139:13), and the one who determines when we’ll take our final breath (Ps 90:15). What a tragic world we live in, with people who don’t know the God they’ve been made to glorify.
This past Thursday was ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.’ The day can be used, according to the Bendigo Advertiser, ‘to push the recognition of human rights for all people irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.’ Rainbows and colour were used to raise awareness, and to show you were an ‘ally’.
The previous day was the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam. Until the 14th of June Muslims will celebrate the month they believe Mohammad received his revelation from Allah. They will fast from both food and drink during daylight and some will travel to Mecca (the Hajj) and will strive to do good.
It’s been an important week (and will be an important month). How are followers of Christ to respond? Where do we begin?
First, we show love. Our instinct might be to disparage, mock, feel anger or threatened, but God calls us to have compassion for the lost. Some desire rights and validation, others to earn their way to paradise. How tragic both groups cannot see their greatest need.
We have much to disagree with them about, but they have been made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:27). Tragically this is too-easily forgotten by Christians. We see them as enemies instead of lost; problems instead of people.
Second, love leads to gospel words. One group finds their identity in their sexuality/gender identity, the other strives to earn their acceptance before God. Both groups need the gospel, just as we did. They need to know that their acceptance and identity can be found in Christ, who suffered for sinners like them and us!
These are our neighbours (Luke 10:25-37). It is no accident. So will we love our neighbours with the gospel?