A Good Person
By Alf Cengia
I’m a good person. And so are you. You just have to find the love inside and set it free.
Huffington Post recently featured a column by Christine Horner. It took the form of a letter to Pope Francis to end the religious ritual that devalues human life. I didn’t know the pope read Huff Post. He seems to have a busy schedule. But perhaps she e-mailed him a copy.
Now the pope is an avowed social justice advocate. Also, as an ex-Catholic I wondered what “ritual” Horner could have possibly had an issue with. So the article grabbed my attention.
The context of her gripe is the preparation for the Lord’s Supper – or, for Catholics, Holy Communion. Specifically, Paul warns his audience in 1 Cor 11:27-29:
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Note that I’m not addressing the symbolism of the bread and wine versus the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation in this article. I’m focusing on the contention that we’re all inherently good. Horner claims that the idea of personal unworthiness is at the “root of all evil” and “divisiveness personified.”
In another article she writes:
Discovering the meaning and purpose of your life is the heart and soul of becoming the person who would inspire you the most. The good news is we are evolving exponentially. What once took generations or even a century to discern as useful or not is becoming discernable literally in just days. Social media allows us to engage in open dialogue with our peers without waiting for outside authority to tell us what to think. (Emphases mine)
Ironically the column meticulously avoids the devaluation of human life by terrorism. She omitted recent shootings, explosions, machete and other violent attacks in the name of Islam. These people seem to have an over-inflated sense of self worthiness, in contrast to how they regard their victims.
There wasn’t a mention of the devaluation of human life in Iran, Turkey or North Korea. Nor did it address rape, murder, famine, abortion or euthanasia. In fact, what should be apparent to any objective person checking social or news media is how exponentially this world is devolving into chaos. Carnage is now occurring globally, almost on a daily basis.
That Horner went after the Christian view of guilt and unworthiness is significant.
In fact we feel guilty because we know we are. Her views align with the “New Age” concept of spiritual evolution. This system teaches that people are essentially good. People experience earth life so that they can either evolve, or recall their innate divinity.
Personally I never experienced any semblance of “spiritual evolution” as a New Ager. And I really tried hard. All the books and lectures did were to provide me with an array of excuses as to why sin wasn’t really sin. I can affirm that the delusion that one’s indulgences aren’t sinful is very seductive. But it’s also a snare. Despite all that, deep down I knew I was a sinner.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Rom 1:18-19
Speaking of delusion, at least three NA gurus commended Adolf Hitler: Edgar Cayce, Paramahansa Yogananda and more recently, Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God). If a supposedly evolved spiritual teacher (or even a self-professing Christian like Rob Bell) can excuse or laud a Hitler, then what’s next? How about someone who promises to solve all the world’s problems?
Looking back, most of the leading lights of that system left a long wake of depravity. Observers have catalogued the list of abuses, sex, drugs and money scandals of these teachers. They were sinners just like everyone else. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was one of many examples. I bet he knew he was sinning all along too.
The idea of basic personal goodness is ingrained in so many people’s minds. They assume by default that heaven may be accessed via a few good works, and by avoiding certain activities like rape and murder. Someone recently remarked that I would go to heaven because of some good (and rare) deed I’d just performed.
We’ve all had conversations where you’re told by someone that they’re a good person. They can’t believe in a God who sends people to hell just because they don’t have faith in Christ. In other words, if God doesn’t act the way they think He should, then He can’t exist.
Yet the same biblical source from which the very idea of heaven is derived, also teaches death as the outcome of sin (Rom 6:23). There is only one antidote (John 3:16-18; 1 Cor 15:3-4). Anyone who contends they can save themselves through good deeds has already committed sins of pride and blasphemy.
At its core all sin is an act of pride. Pride says, “Move over, God, I’m in charge, I’ll do what I want.” Therefore all sin at its core is blasphemy because it attacks God. When we come into this world we love sin, and so we love our rebellion and we love our pride and we love our blasphemy. We delight in it and we seek every opportunity we can to manifest it. ~ Grace to You
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa 64:6
The Hebrew word used for “filthy rags” in that text means soiled menstrual cloths. No one’s own righteousness can ever save them from the consequences of sin.
The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us. This is why we approach it with the reverence and humility it deserves. Far from devaluing human life, it provides the proper perspective for what Christ achieved for us so that we can become children of God (Rom 8:16-17; Eph 1:3-7).
These are glorious promises!
Sadly, Horner and billions of others deny the existence of sin. This lie can be traced back to the Garden of Eden. It’s no wonder that so much effort has been expended by the serpent to debunk the literal history of Genesis 1-3.
How about you? Do you believe you’re without sin?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18
If you’ve just read that, it’s not too late for you.