A friend wrote to me recently expressing their concern that the church spends too much of its time critiquing the ethical behaviors of society and the cultural drift. I’m sure there’s some truth in thinking that the church can become unbalanced if its focus is on morality to the exclusion of theology. Theology is the first job of the Church because as followers of Christ we should strain to be like Christ and most of the time He was busy teaching theology.
Still, there is nothing that obscures one’s ability to see God and His glory like the careful practice of evil. Everyone might have a general knowledge of God by virtue of being created in His image and likeness, and there are manifest evidences of something more than mere matter in motion being the absolute stuff of the universe, but Paul teaches us in Romans that this kind of knowledge can be greater or lesser, and in those that find it unworthy of their interest, lesser still. In the Bible, there is always a correlation between living certain kinds of ways and being able see certain kinds of truths.
Of course, 1+1=2 for everyone, and the laws of logic don’t bend with gravity or fine opinion, but Christian thought carries ideas of moral understanding having an inner relation to moral behavior; that epistemology cannot be compartmentalized from ethics. This is why in response to another friend’s worries about the next new popular work on atheism, I could say that I was more concerned with the effects of YouTube, Facebook, and MTV (not that everything on these is bad per se, but that they carry great power and opportunity for self humiliation in the absence of any discernable ethical framework).Get a young Christian to hear critical arguments against their faith and you might in time produce an atheist; get a young Christian to compromise themselves sexually; to degrade themselves and others; to lie and rape and kill and steal; to glorify themselves before the altars of pleasure and greed; or to simply think that such is good, and you’ve already got one.