There seems to be a prevailing argument that the world would be just as well off without Christianity – that the best in humanity will save us from the worst in humanity. Yet, if you have spent much time studying history, you will quickly realize that humanity has failed to make Heaven on earth every single time we’ve tried. But just for the sake of argument, l’d like to consider some of the things we lose when we abandon our faith in Christ.
1) Without Christ’s vision of sacrificial love, the earliest Judaic law (also known as the Ten Commandments) appears to be little more than a series of harsh impositions that can be twisted into Pharisaic, mind numbing, heart stopping prisons. Only in light of Christ’s definitive love do the Ten Commandments become encounters with something that ennobles and raises us up toward an ideal. If God isn’t God – no one is – or everyone is.
2) Christ’s example of perfect love, insisting that we love even our enemies, draws us toward a supernatural reality far above the natural give and take of secular encounters. A God without love is a God without mercy.
3) When we abandon our faith in Christianity, expect the Ten Commandments to no longer hold any sway with the general public because, after all, God’s presence devolves into mere interference or harsh dictates. His laws become straight jackets not sign posts toward humanity’s deepest truth. No Christ, no mercy, no truth, no hope.
4) When we abandon our highest calling toward sacrificial love, then we can choose who we love and who we hate. Choice is God’s gift to us. But He does not choose to hate us. He chooses to love us – even to his death. When we abandon a God like that – a God who comes to us in daily encounters with all that is good and right in the world – we do not have anything better to offer. Life without Christ leads to death without meaning.
5) Imagine for a moment, living in a world where those in positions of power, or with the biggest weapon, decide who should live, who should die, who should be free and who should be a slave, who should serve and who should rule… Sounds kind of familiar? Merit, truth, and basic human dignity have no forum in such situations. The absence of Christ is an invitation to hell.
Humanity cannot bring Heaven to earth. Only God can do that. But people can cooperate with God’s hope for us. We can encounter Him in prayer and in our actions toward others. There are many notable organizations that are trying to sustain the flickering flame of Christ’s love in the Middle East and many of them are suffering for their choice. It is hard to see the faces of the innocent at the mercy of those who do not believe in Christ’s love. But if we forget Christ and His message, if we close our eyes to the suffering poor; humanity loses more than our history, we lose our noblest selves, and our best hope.