Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riots or Revelation: the only real options

The version best known by Christians of an older generation is...
Where there is no vision, the people perish: Prov 29:18 KJV
It has been a favourite with many a preacher. The general interpretation was that unless we have a God-given goal, usually held by the leader, the work of God will fade and vanish. The New King James Version corrects this misunderstanding...
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. Prov 29:18 NKJV
This is referring to a quite different Biblical concept. When there is no revelation of God's will people will live lives which are without restraint.

In the UK we have been experiencing a time of civil disorder and mob activity. We have generations now who have never been taught that God has placed limits on human freedom and that he will hold us accountable when we cross those lines. We have generations who are experts on their 'rights' and who could hardly name a 'responsibility'. Sooner or later the behaviour that we have seen on our streets is inevitable to a society which has 'no revelation'; they will simply, as the wise man told us 3000 years ago, throw off restraint.

Why not? Atheistic evolution has no reason for the requirement for a man or woman to 'love their neighbour as they love themselves'. Dawkins and others struggle to create the notion that 'collectively' we have evolved into communities which realise that survival is a better prospect when we 'stick together' but it is an empty logic.

If there is no God, and the fool lives his life on that presumption, why not cast off all restraint?
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. Psa 14:1 NKJV
This famous verse is actually telling us the mind-set of certain people. God is not in their thoughts; 'in their thoughts/heart' they are working on the assumption that 'there is no God'. In the UK our TV screens have been taken up with experts from one field or another who 'explain' why thousands of youngsters have taken to the streets in looting and destruction. The real answer is much more simple than those we constantly hear. The cause of the riots? practical atheism. The 'fool' has the mind-set that there is no God; There will be no 'repercussions'. The only fault is in getting caught. The 'atheist' will produce 'abominable works' because there is no logical, ultimate, restraint upon his behaviour. His mind-set is a personal pragmatism; if it suits 'me' that's a good enough reason.

Are riots and looting wrong? Why are they wrong? If we are the simple product of an atheistic evolution how can anything be wrong? Right and wrong are redundant categories; all that really matters is 'what do I get out of it?' If there is no God and no future judgment, why is rioting 'wrong'? Unless there is a revelation of a God who requires his creatures to behave in certain ways that he has ordered, why not 'cast off restraint'.

So how should those who believe in a God who has revealed 'right and wrong' respond in the face of riots? We must be active agents of a 'revelation' of the will of God and we must point men and women to one who took on his own shoulders the 'lawless-nesses' of a whole world and made a way back to God. Ultimately relationships between one person and another can never be on a right foundation until those persons are themselves rightly related to God; the horizontal relationship can never be truly 'right' until the vertical relationship is mended.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:18–21 NKJV

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