Viewing religion: Dr. Charles Krauthammer and Rev. Billy Graham, two moral men
FLOWER MOUND, TX: We lost two moral men in 2018. During a time that we need calm, intellectual voices. We have lost Rev. Billy Graham and Dr. Charles Krauthhammer. The popular columnist and political commentator Dr. Charles Krauthammer was laid to rest this last Sunday.
By society’s standards, Dr. Charles Krauthammer was a good man and most who knew him loved him. Dr. Krauthammer considered himself a religous skeptic. He reportedly has said,
“I don’t believe in God, but I fear him greatly. That’s about where I am.”
– Charles Krauthammer
However, Krauthammer would also say that atheism was the least plausible of theologies.
The Rev. Billy Graham
The equally respected evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham, passed away a few months ago. Likewise, society recognized and respected him as a good man. In addition to obeying societies’ laws, Graham submitted to God’s law as it is revealed in the Scriptures.
Graham famously proclaimed,
“We all have sinned and need the Christ of the Bible.” – Rev. Billy Grahm
Two lives, two destinies.
America had a front row seat to these two 21st century icons. Each with different standards of accountability, both coming to grips with a standard of moral values.
It would be a mistake to say the non-religious Charles Krauthammer or American scientist and an atheist/agnostic, Carl Sagan have no morals/ethics. Ethics and morals are necessary for a functioning society. Without societies’ standards chaos rules.
There are ethical values that everyone, except for the “morally bankrupt,” embraces.
Carl Sagan wrote,
“In my writings, I have tried to show how closely related we are to other animals, how cruel it is to gratuitously inflict pain on them, and how morally bankrupt it is to slaughter them, say, to manufacture lipstick.” – Carl Sagan (1)
The universal values of a civil society recognize love is better than hate, courage is better than cowardice, no one acknowledges the murder of infants as a virtue (not referring to the unborn), nor gratitude as a vice. If non-believers violate these standards they are in conflict with society and will face the consequences.
But beyond that, they are free to do anything their conscience allows.
Men like Krauthammer live with a high sense of morality while others live on the edge of morality. Christians like Graham and theists believe that in addition to society’s laws there is a higher law that mankind must acknowledge.
Violation of God’s law, likewise, has consequences the Bible defines.
It would also be a mistake to say Christians’ morals come from a fear of hell or rewards for heaven, a common error.
No biblical passage states good behavior is rewarded with entrance into heaven. Good behavior comes as a result of accepting the biblical teaching that Christ paid for all sin. The result is a life beyond the grave for all regardless of behavior.
Goodness (internal character and external good deeds) comes from gratitude and a willful submission to His teachings.
The issue that, for all mankind, remains
Is there a higher power that controls the universe or did the creation of the universe, including mankind, happen by chance. Is there a law beyond the inner law of the conscience? If by chance, then no accountability to God. However, if God created and has spoken to man via the Scriptures, then mankind must answer to His authority.
If one must choose his own destiny then it would follow that rejecting biblical teaching gives freedom to set his own standard of morality with little accountability. Sexual behavior, personal morals/ethics, and thought life is governed only by the conscience or the fear of getting caught.
The one accepting the authority of the Bible must answer to God for his/her behavior—as revealed in the Sacred Book. Nothing can be done in secret.
Denying the authority of a higher power is the easier path
Behavior in society has minimal consequences with little thought of consequences after death. Accepting God as the author of the universe and the Bible has its rewards both on earth and in eternity. Humanity, never defined as perfection, will violate moral and ethical standards daily and constantly, knowingly and unknowingly.
Atheists, agnostics, and non-practicing Christians often dismiss the Bible as myths or view it with a deep sense of skepticism. They believe that there is no standard of morality, each person chooses what is morally right for himself/herself.
The Bible is simply an option they choose not to follow.
Christians and other religions look to the Scriptures (or their source of authoritative) for a God sanctioned, authoritative morality. The Bible is the center of the Christian’s moral compass, hence an examination of the Bible as the authority is important. Particularly when discussing the relation of scientific evolution to the Bible.
It relates to everyday practical living.
The afterlife destinies of Krauthammer and Graham depend on the ageless question posed by the first-century Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, when he asked, “What is truth?”
The 21st-century answer to that question is: Do we have the truth in the Bible or in a personally constructed belief system?
What drives morality: is it accepting God’s authority or the fear that He might exist