Why Should I Follow the Rules of Christianity?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 7, 2016 2 comments

by Nathan Buck

This week we are taking a break from our Judges series to address questions that we have received from listeners and readers across our blog and radio broadcasts. The question is, “Why should I follow the rules of Christianity?”

A very simple answer would be, “You don’t HAVE to,” especially if you are not considering yourself a follower of Jesus Christ. And if the question just means the religious rules observed in some groups, then the answer is doubly true, because many religious rules are human-made to preserve order, organization, or promote respect.

But if the question is aimed at what the Bible teaches as “right and wrong,” then there is more to the answer. If someone wants to live a moral life, there is a need to consider where the definition of moral behavior starts. Is it subjective and relative to a person’s culture and experience? Or is morality objective and transcendent of our culture and experience? (Transcendent meaning beyond culture and applying to/defining/shaping culture from an unbiased, eternal, objective point of view.)

Subjective morality is problematic at best. To put the adjective “subjective” before the word morality is to raise the priority of subjectivity over any moral value. Therefore, any moral value or law will be compromised by subjectivity, no matter how much a society or group may hold that law as necessary/sacred. It is not a matter of “if,” it is a matter of “when.” This is why ‘subjective morality’ has problems. It is also why secular humanism has issues. Whenever integrity, morality, law, justice, etc. are defined from a limited perspective, they have already been compromised and will only remain in effect until the strongest person or group can no longer maintain power or control. Ethically, this becomes tyranny and oppression, philosophically it is unsustainable, and logically it is a circle repetitively broken.

A moral standard must come from one who is objective and not compromised by limited perspective, in order to be ethically, philosophically, and logically sound. By rejecting God, or by assuming certain biased aspects of God, a person commits ethical, philosophical, and logical suicide - especially in regard to morality.

Those who embrace and study God’s relationship and work with humanity begin to see a God who has always loved and validated His worth in us, no matter what condition or moral compromise He finds us in. But He has never allowed us to stay there because He sees where that road will take us.

I was recently asked the question: “Why couldn’t we have a consensus/intersubjective/ objective morality? ‘True facts’ on which to base laws?” It’s not that we can’t, it’s just that it’s not reasonable or sustainable. For example, we could agree that murder is wrong. How long until the definition, circumstances, etc. under which ‘killing’ is considered ‘murder’ are called into question? And at that point, how many subjective perspectives about application and consequence can be accommodated before the law is compromised? Subjective morality suffers from the same issues as subjective religious behavior, it is unsustainable.

Human-created religions are useless. A morality based on an imagined god would be equally useless and only an exercise in ‘ghost power’ in order to maintain laws. Most religious texts originate in the imagination of humanity. So, most religions and mysticisms struggle with morality (either in regard to relativism or oppression). They do not alleviate the challenge of objective morality.

Let me share my reason for trusting the Bible, and why I believe it establishes moral objectivity, and proof of God. Hang in there, this is list, not a rant.

The Bible is the only text that documents an author greater than human imagination and honestly portrays the struggle of God’s love redeeming us from our selfish and rebellious ways. It also passes the standard of the rules of evidence, in regard to legally binding, documented, eyewitness accounts. And it has been substantiated by archeological, historical, and biological evidences. Beyond all of that, the chief evidence is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If we ignore this and evidences around Him, then of course we can ignore and cast this religion in the same light as any other religion of human origin. However, if Jesus is proof, then he not only validates the existence and involvement of God in relationship to us, but He also exposes the uselessness of subjective morality even where it creeps into Judeo/Christian beliefs. He exposes every place where humanity twisted God’s commands into something self-serving, and at the same time validates the integrity of God’s objective moral standards. Further, because of His sacrifice on our behalf, He mitigates completely our rebellion against those standards (a.k.a. sin). He also shows that God’s standards do not, and do not need to, ‘evolve.’ (Those who think God’s Word must evolve have misunderstood the context, or application of His standards and teachings.) Jesus affirms and demonstrates the validity and necessity of God’s corrective and redemptive presence hundreds of years after the initial standard is given, and ratifies God’s promise to help us live out that standard for the benefit of all creation.

In regard to other scientific evidence, I offer the fact of irreducible complexity. If matter, energy, and biology have in their essence an irreducibly complex structure, then it could not have come to be as a result of random combination. It must, by definition have come into existence with the complexity of its current state. This has been documented in scientific study, and is a place of considerable angst and debate for evolutionists. However, I submit it to you on the basis of considering intelligent design. Because, if there is a design, there is a designer, and if there is a designer, then that creator is the only one who knows the principle standards of health, life, existence, and sustainability for the created.

So, if Jesus, intelligent design, and God’s existence are all true, how should this impact our life, our understanding of existence, and our foundation for any moral lifestyle?

Let me offer one more thing to consider, especially if you think you are a Christian but pick and choose what teachings from the Bible you trust. Read 2 Timothy 2-3. The Apostle Paul explains to Timothy using three examples (military, sports, and agriculture) to get the beginning of his point across. He reminds Timothy of why boundaries and rules are useful, how to keep from being distracted by meaningless arguments, and reaffirms why the Word of God is trustworthy.

I encourage you, take some time to read these two brief chapters of the Bible and reflect on what Paul writes to Timothy. Then you decide: Is God’s way wise and good? And are God’s objective moral standards trustworthy and true? If yes, then the Bible is what you need to study (in its context), and the way of living God revealed through His Word and Jesus Christ are what you need to follow.

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nathan buck said...
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nathan buck said...

In reply to a comment not posted here: The question was raised about the validity of Irreducible Complexity, based on the Dover, PA case in 2004.

It's important to point out that the primary ruling in that case was the constitutionality of promoting Intelligent Design alongside Evolution. I have read the testimony carefully, and there is nothing in it that invalidates irreducible complexity as a concept, or as a scientific theory. Counter arguments dealt with protein mutations not in scope with the theory, and certainly not in significant measure to discredit the observable facts supporting Irreducible complexity. Other Counter arguments were in regard to "mutations over the course of 20,000 years," - which no reputable scientist would venture a guess at, since it is unproveable.

Ironically, what is seen in the court case is that counter arguments to intelligent design used the same weaknesses of evolution theory, in order to discredit Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity. Yet, they do not admit the gaping holes in the their chosen theory.

On balance the case was decided correctly based on the way the school board did things, and what the focus of the case was (constitutionality of apposing origin theory teaching). The case decision, did not resolve or conclude anything in regard to the cogency of evolution or Irreducible Complexity. All it established was that Intelligent Design wasn't a "main stream enough" theory to be taught generally in the schools without carrying some religious bias.

Be cautious when someone lifts a Wikipedia article and indicates it is proof against the validity of something. Do the research and examine the laws and testimony yourself, before drawing conclusions. There are many instances where people try to disprove something by association or circumstances that have nothing to do with validating the topic at hand.

You can decide what you believe, I just felt it was important to encourage all of us to examine carefully our counterpoints and facts before responding or accepting someone's assertion of 'evidence.'

(And that goes for me too - do the research on what I present, and let me know if you think I missed something. I will listen.)