Last week I talked about “naturalism” as a driving force behind beliefs and biases against Christianity. There is another “ism” driving such bias. It’s “moralism.”
Many are dead set against Christianity because of the moral code. Now there are different sides to this. The most obvious one is that worldly people love doing worldly things – they make their own rules that suit their pleasures. Secularists, as well as Christians who adhere to liberal theology, love to tell us that one cannot legislate morality. Of course, that’s nonsense because every law on the books legislates morality!
Non-Christians often suffer the brunt of Christian judgmentalism. Yikes! Another “ism”! It shouldn’t escape your attention that this is a snake that’s coming around to bite us in the hindquarters! Yes, the unbelievers who are now filling political seats and judges’ benches are now getting to turn the tables and be judgmental against Christians. For far too long, too many Christians out there have condemned and pushed away non-Christians for being immoral. Jesus didn’t do this, but plenty of churchgoers do. Of course, the non-Christian world loves to point this out, and it brings Christians to shame.
But another side of this moralism issue is present in the camp of “Christians.” If you’ve grown up in church, in particular, it’s easy to develop a perspective that could be summed up in, “We don’t do [bad] things like that because we’re Christians.” It seems harmless, I know, but it expresses a moralistic worldview instead of a Christian one.
Paul wrote For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2.8-9 ESV)
But we DO boast all the time! Many churchgoers go to church and live out their morality either out of fear or pride, or both. They’ll behave in accordance with their moral code, drawn from Scripture because they fear not doing so would displease God and prevent them from being blessed or getting them into heaven.
Others adhere to the moral code out of pride. “I’m not like those people who cuss, drink, smoke, won’t go to church, …” Moralistic perspectives such as these (and it’s usually a combination, not just one or the other) breed expectations of blessings and feelings of superiority over others who do not behave so. It’s this superiority that leads us to condemn and push others away.
Bearing such fruit could be viewed in light of what Jesus says in Matthew 7.18-20 (and following) and demonstrate that many are not actually followers of Christ, but mere moralists who have wrapped their identity up in the moral code rather than in Jesus Christ. We have nothing to boast except in the cross (so Galatians 6.14). It wipes out our fear and pride to daily face the truth that we were so bad Jesus had to suffer the horrors of the cross to save us. It’s crucial to understand that true faith in Jesus will, of course, result in behaving morally, but moralism drives beliefs and biases contrary to Jesus and his teachings.