Responding to a new Pew study this week in which a record 56 percent of Americans said that God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality, Pennsylvania-based pastor Michael Anthony says that people have mistaken the concept of "good" with that of "politeness."
"One of the most harmful things that has happened in the 21st century is that we have confused being polite with being good, moral or holy. We can certainly be polite without God. It happens all the time. In fact, many non-religious people are more polite than many religious people. But good & moral and polite are not the same thing—and herein lies the problem with the attitudes expressed in this study," Anthony, the lead pastor of Grace Fellowship of York, Pennsylvania, says.
According to Anthony, the fly in the ointment of people thinking they can be good without God is the cross of Jesus Christ.
"The cross is the definitive statement of good and evil. If we believe we can be good without God, then the cross means nothing; it would be the most confusing event in all of history—courtesy of God himself. God would have sent his Son for a need that didn't exist. But the need does exist because the Bible says: 'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.'"
Anthony further contends that the great need for humanity is not to be polite, but to be holy, for the Bible says: "Without holiness, no one will see the Lord." However, the real question is: "What do people really understand about the cross of Christ?"
"If we can be good without God, then we can be good without the need for the cross—and that presents a fundamental problem with the historic reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the gospel accounts and the whole record of Scripture and history."
Unfortunately, Anthony sums up what this study really says: "The study actually reflects a deeper belief system: that more people now believe it is possible to live life without belief in a God who created the concepts and realities of good and evil."
Anthony discusses this in depth on his blog here.
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