Monday, 19 December 2011

The Bible, right and wrong

The notion that the Bible was “at the forefront of the emergence of democracy, the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women” would have raised the Hitch-hackles. As he put it in his debate on religion with Tony Blair in Toronto in November 2010: “We don’t require divine permission to know right from wrong.”

  1. The Bible itself tells us that those without the Bible know right from wrong - that's how those without the Bible can still be justly judged on the day of judgment. God has placed a knowledge of right and wrong in our hearts - a knowledge that will show we are right to be condemned, because we have not lived up to what we know (Romans chapter 2:14-16).

  2. The historical examples chosen make the (controverted) point very well, that the answer given is irrelevant. We may not need the Bible to know that right exists and is better than wrong. Even so, we do very much did need the Bible and its influence on our culture to have the power to put that knowledge into practice. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is one thing; but having the will to respond to that knowledge is another. That's what the Bible teaches too; the law may be written by the finger of God upon tables of stone, but until it is written upon our hearts by the power of the risen Christ we won't be able to keep it as we ought.

    Thus we have the irony that it's the Christian West where talented bon vivantes like Christopher Hitchens could spend and mis-spend the cultural capital of freedom and prosperity that centuries of Christianity had bequeathed to them; an irony that sadly Hitchens never properly appreciated.

No comments: