Atheists and Goodness
Just be good for goodness sake they tell me. Just listen to your inner voice and let it guide you into a self-fulling state of ooey-gooey bliss. Just listen to the clamoring voices around you and let them decide what is good and right, and just. Just listen to the jingling bells, smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and look for the reindeer flying around ( ever wonder what kind of damage a reindeer bomb would do? ) and the world will be right. Just have a holly-jolly Christmas says the atheists and goodness will surely follow.
But this just makes me wonder a bit…..
How do Atheists celebrate a Holiday sans its namesake?
Christmas. We cannot even say the word without giving some form of honor to the One for which it is named, Jesus Christ. Now, before someone goes off and starts their diatribe on the Roman Catholic origins of Christmas and how we should not celebrate this day because of this, let me just say that is none of my concern right now. That is not the point of this rambling and I don’t want to make it so.
The point of this particular question is how does an atheist celebrate Christmas? I don’t question whether they may or may not give gifts, drink eggnog, hang mistletoe, decorate a tree, or have their kids take pictures with the jolly fat man, but I do question why they continue to hang onto the name. Why do they continue to call it Christmas when they want a world without Christ? Is it tradition? Laziness? There are those who are at least somewhat consistent in wanting to ban every mention of Christmas from the public sphere, but from my personal vantage point they are not the majority, yet. Most are simply content to continue to use the terminology from a dated religion ( according to them ) so long as Christ is not actually present in their celebration.
You can keep Jesus just give me my Silver Bells and Cockle Shells….oh wait that is something else.
How is Goodness defined
I am not going to belabor the obvious, I am a Christian, and as such I have certain presuppositions that form and inform the reality in which I live. We all have them. I just believe that some are more consistent than others and that mine, that I share with other believers, is the most consistent of all. My worldview is based up Scripture and the existence of the God as revealed in Scripture. Therefore, I have a notion of what is good, what is moral, and what is just and this notion is based upon the objective standard of Holy Writ.
I don’t get to make up what I believe is good. For instance, it would be good for me, from a certain point of view, to abscond with all the atheist’s Christmas gifts and use them for my own good will. Why would this not be good? Is it not good simply because it causes them harm? But it would be a bona fide treasure trove for me, a smorgasbord of Christmas cheer, although it would most likely put a damper on their festive spirits.
Can one, whose definition of goodness is based upon subjective experience, public opinion, or the tiny bubble caused by that late night sausage pizza hold me to that same standard? I think not and thankfully most atheists and agnostics recognize ( inconsistently ) that there is a standard of goodness/morality that we all should adhere to.
In the mean time, I will dust off my Bible ( it is not truly dusty as I do occasionally read it ) and point them to why it would be wrong for me to steal their Christmas goodies. It is quite simple though it does take a little reading and some thought while not suppressing the truth ( Romans 1:18 ) in unrighteousness. There is a God ( Genesis 1:1 ), He has created all things ( Genesis 1, Colossians 1:16, John 1:1-5 ), His law is written upon our hearts ( Romans 2:15 ) and in His law He has commanded us not to steal ( Exodus 20:15, Matthew 19:18, Romans 13:9 ).
Just because the unsaved, unregenerate, natural man that is as lost as a ball in high weeds does not admit to this does not negate the truthfulness of these statements and that for most of them they actually do follow certain moral laws to a certain extent.
Who is Goodness and why should I be good for them?
Why should I be good for goodness sake? Goodness, in the atheists worldview as already discussed, is subjective and as such cannot be appealed to as a transcendental truth ( that is a whole ‘nother ball of wax as to how a wholly naturalistic world view gives rise to transcendental realities ). Now if my wife’s name was Goodness I may very well be good for Goodness sake. If Goodness was slot machine where I got something ” good ” by inputting my goodness then I may be good for goodness sake, but for ” goodness sake ” what does being good for goodness sake even mean?
Does it mean I get the warm fuzzies when I pet a puppy, which I like to do, when I take food to the homeless, or carry an elderly lady’s groceries to her car? All those things should make me feel good, but see, that generates something within me that precludes doing it for wholly altruistic reasons. It, at some level, includes a selfish desire to feel good about myself and others. Therefore, even if the selfish quotient is a fraction of one percent, it still is not good for goodness sake. It is nonsensical and should be relegated to the dustbin of trite and worn out sayings.
Good simply because of Christ
I, along with all those separated from Christ, was at one time totally depraved and any good I did in this world was as filthy rags in comparison to the goodness of God. Now I walk in good works not only because I have been told to, but because I am His workmanship created in Him for them ( Ephesians 2:10 ). I follow His commands because I love Him and I am being continually conformed to His image. I am drawn to Him because of His goodness, His love, His sacrifice, and the grace that He has shown me, not only on Christmas day, but everyday of the year.
Now go and have yourself a Merry Christmas
Sola Deo Gloria