WARREN Austin, who was US ambassador to the United Nations during the Cold War era, once urged warring Arabs and Jews to sit down and settle their differences “like good Christians”.
For once, during that time, Arabs and Jews were in agreement. They laughed jointly at Austin’s silly statement.
What’s a good Christian anyway? Outspoken atheist Ricky Gervais once posted a piece on his blog titled Why I’m A Good Christian
Gervais admitted he didn’t believe in God or the divinity of Jesus – two necessary tenants of the faith – but said “I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians”.
Piling misconception upon misconception, Gervais continued: “So many Christians think that because they believe in the right God, they are automatically good”.
Well no, Christians know they need God’s grace. None of us can be “good enough” to get to heaven. As Mark Twain said: “If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in”.
A few years ago, the American Humanist Association sought to replace the US national motto In God We Trust with the secular In Good We Trust.
The AHA stated that being good was “one of the most important of responsibilities in our one and only life”.
The organisation did not define what “good” was, or how it might be determined. In a secular world where morality is subjective, the definition of good is merely an opinion. In the end, In Good We Trust is meaningless terminology.
Dennis Wholey, author of self help books, said expecting the world to treat you fairly because you were a good person was a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.
The book of Ephesians states: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God., not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
Grace is a scandalous idea. It mocks our ideas of what’s fair. Most people believe that good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell. It’s not that simple.
Brennan Manning, in The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out said he believed among the countless people he would meet in Heaven would include “the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son”.
“I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school….”
“…There they are. There ‘we’ are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.”