The church’s advantage is to free us from relativism

In Tom Hurst’s Sept. 27 column, he made the assertion that “terrorists justified their actions by distorting religious views ” That’s the problem with religious justification: Religious texts are up for interpretation and are therefore a dubious precedent for morality” [“Leave religion out of our morals”].

The truth in this statement is that terrorists do justify their actions by distorting their religious views; however, this is not to be confused with the fallacy that their actions are justified within the framework of their religion. This begets the second fallacy, which claims that religious texts are up for interpretation. While some religious texts may have been created with this allowance, the Bible’s very purpose was to prevent interpretation on moral matters.

Furthermore, unless the laws of a religion explicitly condone such taboo behavior, it cannot be attributed as characteristic of an entire religion. To do so would only perpetuate distortions and would mark the demise or division (essentially synonymous) of that religion in its original form.

The third fallacy is the generalization that religion at large is divisive. Christianity’s whole purpose is to unite everyone through the love of Christ, as asserted in Corinthians 12:12-13. Christ did not come to divide, but he did come to deliver the truth. The easy way out is to claim there is no truth; however, rejecting truth because it is difficult to understand is a narrow-minded cop-out.

The Gospel of John portrays this behavior regarding the disciples’ obstinate reaction to Jesus when he said he is the “bread of life” and that whoever does not eat his flesh and drink his blood will have no life within them: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” This resulted in “many of his disciples returning to their former way of life.” This can be paralleled to today’s thousands of denominations which have appeared in the past 2,000 years.

That being said, I would encourage Hurst, Aaron Urbanski and all those questioning moral truths to do some research. What is the history and motivation behind the development of a religion? Was it the concoction of a human ideal or personal pacification? Was it in response to a social or political injustice? Established by God? When a spirit of humility and openness is coupled with the consideration of Christianity’s historical context, it is impossible to establish the reliability of moral relativism. Only truth will reveal which religion and, thus, which morals have developed from an omniscient God versus from humanity.

Hurst’s column alludes to one more underlying truth: “As long as there are problems in this world, debating the existence and will of a supreme being is trivial.” Indeed, we should be immersing ourselves in prayer for our nation’s times, not dismantling the gift of faith (no matter how small) we have been graciously given by resurrecting the question of God’s existence for the sake of intellectual debate.

As far as Hurst’s reference to Mother Teresa, it is important to note that 1) Time magazine does not constitute an experienced medium of information (its mission is not to communicate theological truths) and 2) the “feeling” of God that Mother Teresa was without for the majority of her life is a grace (i.e. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God) that some may receive, but it is an addition to the love that is an act of the will, that love which is most important and imperative to loving him fully.

What is truly amazing is that while Mother Teresa was not given the consolation of “feelings,” never was her spiritual struggle enough to dismantle what rendered her most profound and admirable loyalty to Christ. To take Mother Teresa’s life of virtue and divorce it from belief in the very source she clung to most throughout her mortification is a weak and ludicrous assertion.

Finally, Hurst’s suggestion that we should “support our morality with secular grounds so we can be united in solving the world’s problems” is self-defeating. Hurst gave the example of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” and explained that because it is merely a subjective statement taken from the Bible, it does not constitute a good reason for the taking of another’s life to be rendered immoral. Interestingly, Hurst claims that by attributing secular reasons to the lawful prohibition of killing, it can be rightfully rendered immoral.

However, to rely on a secular source constantly under amendment for morality does not reduce, but rather perpetuates, the problem of moral relativism, and calls to mind a greater need for a pillar of truth. That’s the beauty of the church: It offers to all a path by which we might be saved of our own sinful nature, a nature we can only be made conscious of by the grace of Christ Jesus.

Angela Wasserman is a junior studying psychology.

Editor’s note: The BG News appreciates all guest column and letter to the editor submissions. However, in the interest of bringing new discussions to Forum, this column is the last that will print about the ongoing religion/science debate for the time being. Please e-mail your questions or concerns to [email protected]