Good Without God

Apparently these signs are popping up all over the country.

Apparently these signs are popping up all over the country.

So, I’m driving to work the other morning and I’m listening to  Air1 Radio  and the dj named Brant starts talking about these bill boards he’s been seeing that say “Good Without God.”  And he nails the problem right on the head. “Yep,” he said. “There are a lot of atheists who are better than I am.” (Or words to that effect.)

“Yep,” he said. “There are a lot of atheists who are better than I am.”

I laughed.

He went on about how atheists just don’t get it.  They have totally missed the point.  They think being a Christian is all about being good but Jesus plainly teaches that no one is good but God. I’m not God.  Ergo I’m not good.

 I’m not God.  Ergo I’m not good.

Christ doesn’t promise anyone a rose garden.  Nor does He promise an easy row to hoe. What He does offer is Himself.  He wants to know you and for you to know Him.  It’s called a personal relationship.  That is what Christianity is all about.  The other stuff flows from that.  Sins fall away.  Service to others becomes a priority.  That sort of thing.  Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (ESV)  So, whatever does not proceed from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is sinful.

Oops did I say that? No.  The Apostle Paul did. His logic, I believe, goes something like this. If the righteous lives by his faith(Habakkuk 2:4) and only God is righteous, then one must be close to God in order to be righteous and the only way to be close to God is to be in a relationship with Him through faith.  I’m pretty sure this also has something to do with the eternal life one receives upon believing in Jesus the Son of God (John 3:16).

grace on a cross, where's your faith?

grace on a cross, where’s your faith?

So I guess it depends upon what one’s definition of “good” is.  Does good mean moral?  Then one may be very good without God.

But if “good” means righteous, then only the faithful may claim that because only they have God in their hearts, so to speak.  It is not they who are “good” but Christ who is in them.

go cultivate your relationship with Christ Jesus and let His goodness be yours.

The message is, then, to go cultivate your relationship with Christ Jesus and let His goodness be yours.  This is not just a trite little phrase.  Just try to wrap your head around the concept of God, the creator of the universe wants you to get to know Him personally through the person of Jesus Christ who lived and died for you and now lives in Heaven so that you may have eternal life.

Oh.  And when you have that figured out, explain it to me.  Me, I just believe it and keep working on this whole relationship thing.  It’s not as easy as I wish it was.

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17 thoughts on “Good Without God

  1. I think you’re missing the point of the billboard. The message any religion to someone like an atheist is that sin is bad, god (any god of any religion) does not like it. Be good for god and it will reward you. Whether you as a Christian interpret the message of your faith differently or not does not matter. The outward message is about being a good person through religious belief. This creates the stigma that all non-religious are not good because they do not have a religious foundation. The sign is simply stating that you can be a good person to your fellow man, as Jesus taught, without having a religion to back you up.

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    • No. I got that. And, like Brant from Air 1, I can honestly say that there are atheists who are better than I am under that definition of good. The thing is that atheists who place such a sign on a billboard are attempting to be controversial and anti-God. But they are ironically displaying their ignorance of the Christian faith.

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      • ”…to be controversial and anti-God.”
        Sorry Christopher, you are so wide of the mark…not the gospel mark, either.

        Atheists are not anti-god at ll, as this presumes we acknowledge there is one. LOL! Atheists do not believe in gods…and your’s is no more special than any other religion…believe me. As you laugh at the notion of a god called Thor or Zeus I would equally laugh at the notion of a god called Yashua.

        The billboard is a tongue in cheek reference to the religious folk who preach that everyone is a sinner.
        And equally as important that backward religious views cripple human growth. And also that you lot don’t have a sense of humour.

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  2. By your logic a person could be a living saint, being genuinely good in a moral sense to everybody. Indeed they might be better, kinder more helpful and caring people than any Christian alive and yet still denied immortality in heaven because they don’t believe in Jesus. In other words it is not how good you are, it is not how many good things you do that counts No, the only thing that counts according to this type of Christian theology is how well you get on with the power-broker. In any other area of life this would be seen as corruption. It is sick and immoral.

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    • Your reasoning would be sound if God were not Good, merciful, and full of grace.

      The point is not how many good things a person does. For one question, no matter how much good a person does, the only person one can compare one’s self to for eternal matters is God and every single person falls woefully short. In effect, as far as good deeds go, we are all on an equal standing. All that separates any of us is where or in whom, we place our faith.

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      • Christopher I respect your honesty and I know that you mean what you say but I think you are wrong. Here is a question for you to consider (well maybe more than one question)! Your moral authenticity depends on the idea that your God is good. What evidence is there for that? By which standards should goodness be measured? In my opinion both you personally and myself are kinder, nicer people than the God you believe in.

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        • Excellent question(s) Cassie. Just the fact that you ask for evidence of the goodness of God implies that you may have a contrary opinion. Since I do not know for certain if this is true or why you think that God is not good this is a difficult question to answer fully. I have no illusions about being able to adequately answer this question.

          I will begin by saying that I do not equate good with nice. Anyone can be nice. I like being nice. I like nice people. I think you are nice too and I like you. This is a good thing, I think.

          But I believe loving is more synonymous to good than nice. A loving person can be nice, but isn’t always nice. Some one who truly loves you will always seek what is best for you even though it may be painful at the time. That is what God does.

          Evidence? Hmmmm. He sent His Son to live and die and live again for you and me. That’s pretty loving but not all that nice. But I am thinking that you’ve heard that before and don’t buy into it. And that is hearsay evidence.

          I’ll be honest. I can’t prove to you that God exists or that He’s good in an absolute sense. I know this is true because I know Him. I’ve learned that through my growing relationship with Jesus. It’s a relationship that has been fostered over time. He has proven His goodness to me. This is me practicing what I’ve been preaching. I preach it because I believe it. This is the Truth as I know it. That’s all I can tell you.

          I could tell you that I met God while on suicide watch in a hospital psych ward. A pastor prayed with me (over me?) and I felt His Spirit surround me and fill me and He’s led me ever since. It has not always been a pleasant journey and I have a long way to go but there have been times that He has carried me and held on to me by the spiritual tips of my fingers, but he has never abandoned me. Without such a steadfast, loving relationship with our Lord over the years, there is absolutely no way that I am typing this right now. He is good. Absolutely good. That’s pretty much the only thing I am sure of in this life. No lie.

          Hope this helps.

          Great question! This, to me, is what blogging is all about. I love it!

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      • Smile…semantics. You make the claim, you provide proof.
        There is no evidence of a god, any god.
        I refute such a claim mostly in an attempt to prevent you and others of a similar ilk from inculcating those who are unable to defend themselves against this nonsense. Namely children.
        I am not asking for proof of a god. Why should I ? As I do not believe I would not expect any evidence, now would I?
        Example: You claim it is possible for a man walk on water.
        I refute this claim as nonsense.
        You steadfastly say it IS possible for a man to walk on water.
        To this I say… show me!

        I demand that YOU demonstrate your claim with irrefutable evidence. You cannot do so. And nobody ever has. It really is quite simple.

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        • Now, I am going to ask you to think about my reply.
          I agree with you. There is no irrefutable evidence. One of the first things if no THE fire thing I ever told you on the subject is that faith comes first. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing. You do not see because you do not believe. It’s THAT simple.

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    • This is an interesting conversation. My father, Rev. Edgar F. Wheeler, once wrote to me, “Many Christians think that Christianity is all about ‘dying and going to heaven.’ I say, ‘No. It is about living a life of eternal significance.'” When I later inquired concerning that statement, he said, “I don’t think that God made us to be throwaways.” He then referred me to Matthew 25:31-46. From my perspective that is a truth that has been recognized around the world, as revealed not only to many Christians, but also to many Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindi, agnostics and,( dare I stand with Pope Francis?, even atheists.

      Chris, thank you for your thoughts and inspiration, and for this forum.

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  5. Great post; very thought-provoking. As I see it, the problem is that every generation and every culture defines “good” differently. You and I don’t believe suicide bombing is good, but many radical Muslims do. Nazi’s believed killing Jews was good and there are many other examples of warped good too. We must first agree on a definition of good before we have any chance of settling this. For example, the Bible says that “only God is good.” Those that don’t believe in God or even in a good God will always define good differently than a Bible-believing Christian would. I don’t say this to condemn, I’m just stating a fact.

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    • That which you mentioned is a problem with situational ethics. I would argue that without God, that’s pretty much what one is left to; situational ethics. Before long one runs into the barrier of “who are you to tell me I’m wrong?” If it is true that one may not judge, then my question is where does it stop. Who is truly to say that Hitler was evil? Who’s to say that igniting a bomb in the middle of a crowd is wrong? Why shouldn’t I steal from my neighbor or even kill my neighbor if he or she has something I want? Like I said, where does it stop? It doesn’t stop. Not without cause, it doesn’t.

      But that doesn’t keep many atheists and Christians, Muslims, pagans, and a host of other people from doing good and even being good people in a general sense. That was Brant’s original point with which I agree. This whole “Good Without God” thing is just another jab at Christianity mainly. These atheists are saying that they don’t need God to act good; to do good thing for people. And they are right. Awesome.Kudos to them I hope they keep up the good works.

      The Christian standpoint always has to be God first. Our priority must be our personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. Which is NOT to say that we are exempt from performing good works (Read James’s letter). It just means that those works must proceed from that relationship with Jesus or else they may do someone good but they are NOT good works in the righteous sense of the word (c.f. Romans 14:23b)

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