Trevor Gavin pastors Nexus Portland in Portland, OR. For more info go to nexuspdx.org.
We have a lot of conversations with people who say something to the affect of “I don’t need God.” The task for our leader was to respond in roughly 500 words. Below is his response…
This is a question I’ve pondered considerably in the past two years. I’ve met secular moralists who seem to have it all figured out. They’re happy, healthy, have loving families, don’t battle addictions, enjoy their jobs, and the list goes on. It is indeed confounding, at first, to confront people who seem to live successful lives apart from trusting Jesus. Although such an existence may seem genuinely fulfilling, I would argue that it is not pursuant of truth and therefore, ultimately, not.
Every man entrusts his livelihood to something. The spiritual man trusts in God. The bureaucrat trusts in the government. The anarchist trusts in chaos. The secular moralist trusts in himself. Or his family. Or his job. Or his bank account. Or his morality. The problem is, none of those things are failsafe. None of those things are perfectly reliable. None of those things are eternal. There is no true rock, no unshakable foundation for such an existence. The secular moralist, therefore, is his own god. He worships himself and his surroundings, which are, in a hundred years’ time, ashes and dust.
The secular moralist, therefore, is his own god. He worships himself and his surroundings, which are, in a hundred years’ time, ashes and dust.
Because no man can perfectly trust himself or his surroundings, I would argue that the secular moralist, ultimately, trusts chaos. He is an anarchist in denial. Those in this category who are introspective often perceive the utter hopelessness of such a worldview: our existence is mere chance; everything is transitory; truth is arbitrary; morality is but a necessary byproduct of civilization; everything is hopelessly dying; we are not unconditionally loved. Therefore, the happy secular moralist lives in denial and the secular moralist pursuant of truth lives in utter despondence. Many of the great geniuses of our time fit into the latter category: Robin Williams, Steven Patrick Morrissey, and Ian Curtis, to name but a few.
The term “secular moralist” is, in itself, a conundrum. Morality apart from a higher power, apart from absolute truth, is a mere contrivance, a party piece for NGO groupies. Why on earth should an atheist expend effort to live a moral existence when he isn’t cognizant of an eternal goal and assigns no real significance to sin or virtue? He is obstructing his pursuit of pleasure and wasting his time!
Morality apart from a higher power, apart from absolute truth, is a mere contrivance, a party piece for NGO groupies.
So why is it necessary for the moralist to believe in God? Because God created morality! His very existence is perfect righteousness and He never changes. He is the solid rock that we can cling to at all times, the only one we can always depend upon, in every situation. And he sent his only son, Jesus, to save us from the futility and despair in which we are, otherwise, hopelessly mired.
So why is it necessary for the moralist to believe in God? Because God created morality!