The column’s thesis is that we sometimes spiritualize Christian values to the point we think of them only as a means to inner peace or worship or emotional wellbeing or religious expression. If we take this to an extreme, which I believe some do, we miss the fact or forget that Christian values rightly understood and applied can also make an enormous practical impact.
The idea is that Christian values were providentially designed to make our lives run more smoothly, more enjoyably, more fruitfully. I make no case, for the Bible doesn’t, that individuals who live lives characterized by Christian values miraculously escape all problems. No, I’m simply saying that persons who embrace and live out Christian values live lives closer to what God intended in the first place, i.e. reality, when he brought us into Creation and defined his values in the Scriptures. When we live aligned with God's reality we're better off.
Think about these examples of the practical impact of living based on Christian values:
--If more people were honest and did not steal, we could tak e the locks off doors and wouldn’t need to fund costly criminal justice systems of police, courts, jails, and counseling centers.
--If people did not behave in sexually immoral ways, we would not need to fear AIDs or fund medical research pertaining to AIDs and other STDs, or even abortion.
--If people did not lie or cheat, we could avoid contracts, lawsuits, and the expensive attorneys who go with them.
--If married individuals loved their spouses, stayed committed for life to their marriages, did not covet another’s spouse or commit adultery, divorce, alimony, child support, prenuptials, and a lot more would diminish or disappear.
--If people were not greedy, did not hate, and loved their neighbor, armies, wars, rumors of wars, low and high tech ammunitions, security systems, and the intelligence community would not be draining the federal treasury.
--If people did not commit people-on-people crimes of assault, battery, and murder, we could take long walks in the dark without fear, avoid incarcerating and supporting criminals at tens of thousands of dollars per person per year, and stop buying weapons for protection.
--If people exercised good stewardship and conservation of the natural environment and its resources, we would not face costly oil spill eco-damage and cleanups, contend with smog or other air and water pollutants, or debate global warming; nor would the Passenger Pigeon be extinct.
This is a short list of ways Christian values could leverage truly positive and extensive practical impact upon our daily lives if simply enough people actually applied them. It’s amazing really, and it’s not rocket science.
An old adage (long but erroneously attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville) suggests “America is great because America is good.” Insofar as this observation has been arguably true, it is disconcerting to think of the implications of its reverse: “America is no longer (or, not) great because America is no longer (or, not) good.” Christian values, though not embraced by all, have historically played a role in the good to greatness of this nation. I hope we don’t forget the practicality of those values and thus lose a shot at continuing greatness.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.