Today, as I was reading The Reason for God by Tim Keller I was forced to slow down and meditate on his answer to one of the most disturbing realities in the history of the Church. In chapter four which bears the title, The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice, Keller points out that the injustice done throughout history, while heavily weighted in the direction of religious communities, is not exclusive to religious societies.
He goes on to cite communist Russia, China and Cambodia as examples of social oppression in the twentieth century which occurred under the leadership of governing bodies which had rejected all religion and belief in God. He cites the French revolution as a forerunner to these on account of the fact that the French leaders had rejected traditional religious beliefs in lieu of reason, and it was the French Revolution that introduced the world to the guillotine in the name of liberty.
We can only conclude that there is some violent impulse so deeply rooted in the human heart that it expresses itself regardless of what the beliefs of a particular society might be – whether socialist or capitalist, whether religious or irreligious, whether individualistic or hierarchical. Ultimately then, the fact of violence and warfare in a society is no necessary refutation of the prevailing beliefs of that society.
The point he is making is simply that violence is rooted in the human heart not in the beliefs of one religion or another. But the point that made me sit up and think was his answer to the question regarding the Church’s involvement in injustice. His answer is that this wicked and unjust behavior is not based on the fact that Christians are too committed to the gospel, but that they are not committed enough.
They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathetic, forgiving, or understanding – as Christ was.
What fresh words! It is easier for a professing Christian to point a finger at sin and immorality, than it is to lovingly fight off those who condemn sinful and immoral people (John 8:1-11). The call for those who love Christ and confess Him as Lord is to be totally committed to following Him on the narrow path, not partially on account of convenience.
May God grant ours to be the generation that embraces the fullness of following Christ, while foregoing the traditions and precepts of men which neglect the weightier “matters of the law – justive, mercy and faithfullness (Matt 23:23).”