Why is England burning?
Published: 13 August 2011(GMT+10)
Firefighters douse a store and apartments destroyed by an arson attack during the initial rioting in Tottenham, North London.
Few will have missed the shocking reports of the riots seen recently throughout England. Gangs of young adults and teenagers have been on the rampage, smashing windows, looting shops, and burning cars and warehouses. Even large deployments of police have been unable to contain them.
Many have been asking why all this is happening. Some reply that it is due to deep anger and frustration amongst youth, who feel they have no future, no possibility of getting a job and no stake in society. Others claim it is simply rebellion against authority and wanton criminality. Conservatives point to the disruption of family life, the promotion of single motherhood, the lack of discipline in schools and the ‘rights culture’. Liberals blame the lack of equality in society and say the answer lies in providing the young with more opportunities and better education. While there is some truth in all these views, they all fail to address the deeper issues and the true root cause of Britain’s moral and social decline.
What is happening in England is the inevitable consequence of a nation rejecting God and His Word. Instead of believing what God has said, people readily believe the modern academics and politicians, who assure us that the Bible is no more than a book of myths and that we can forge a better society based on secularism. Accepting this view has led to there being no final authority, no absolute basis for morality and no clarity about who or what we are.
Instead of believing what God has said, people readily believe the modern academics and politicians, who assure us that the Bible is no more than a book of myths and that we can forge a better society based on secularism.
When I was at school in the 1960s and 1970s, the Christian thinking and values of previous generations were still evident. General behaviour, truthfulness and respect were still considered more important than academic or material success. This was based on the view that we were made in the image of God, and good character was necessary to preserve this. Children who were brought up properly were understood to have better prospects of a stable, useful and fulfilling life. Back then, many parents and teachers understood that they had God-given authority and God-given responsibility to raise children rightly. They generally heeded the exhortation of Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life”, and many were diligent in instructing their young charges in wholesome living. In society at large, responsibilities were emphasized rather than rights, reflecting Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that the blessed are not those demanding their rights, but the poor in spirit, who understand that in their Creator’s eyes, they have no ‘rights’ (Matt 5:3).1 The doctrine of original sin made clear that children were not born good; they needed to be taught right from wrong, and the discipline we received instilled a sense that wrong-doing had consequences.
In contrast to all this, much of today’s educational system places little if any value on such biblical ideas. This is not surprising; if even many church leaders claim Genesis is not real history, then original sin is but a myth. In fact, it is quite likely that the ‘progressive’ educationist will take a different view simply because they think that, if the Bible teaches something, it is probably wrong. The teachers know that they themselves lie, and the head teacher lies—so why should they expect their pupils not to lie? Indeed, a recent New Scientist article actually argued, from an evolutionary standpoint, that lying in our personal, professional and social lives is a strategy for survival! The objective of education is no longer to equip young people to serve in the community, but to maximize their ‘potential for self-fulfillment’. The great heroes of the modern age are not those who have sacrificially given themselves for others, but those who have fought for themselves and their ‘rights’. Humanists, in defiance of the true history in Genesis 3, assert the doctrine of the intrinsic goodness of humanity and see no need to teach right and wrong. The logical consequence of the ‘evolutionisation’ of society over the last century has been to undermine the truth and authority of the Bible, inevitably leading to the relentless undermining of all vestiges of the worldview based on Christianity. In many schools, it is frowned upon or even forbidden to teach morality as it is considered inappropriate for adults to impose their views on children. Moreover, disciplining them is said to be wrong because it infringes their ‘human rights’.
In the secular view, crime is more of an aberration rather than a moral failing (a view, incidentally, shared by Charles Darwin who wrote that, “wickedness is no more a man’s fault than bodily disease.”)2 Criminals need to be treated rather than punished, we’re told. The UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced on television that the perpetrators of all this looting and arson over the last few days would “face the full force of the law.” This, of course, is not true as all vandals and thieves know. They are far more likely to get a caution or receive a suspended sentence. Moreover, shop owners will have to take great care when confronting those seeking to destroy their property, lest the police deem the shop owners’ actions ‘disproportionate’ and arrest them. Children know that they can swear and hurl abuse at their teachers, and it is very unlikely that anything very bad will happen to them—indeed, if anything at all. What reason, then, do they have to respect God or any other authority?
God provided the answers from the beginning
Unless the British people turn back to God soon, the latest riots may well turn out to be just a foretaste of what’s to come.
At a time when many ordinary people are in shock over the level of social unrest and the devastation wreaked in England’s cities, there’s a deep irony that seems lost on the majority. That is, the answers to the problems that have given rise to the latest riots can be found in the book of the Bible which secularists most disparage—Genesis. This tells us that each one of us was created by God and for God.3 Hence, whether we are employed or unemployed, rich or poor, we can know a clear sense of purpose—life need never be meaningless.
Genesis tells us that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27). Hence, whether we are educated or uneducated, one of the ‘in crowd’ or a loner, we can know that we have value. Despite all our sinfulness, and our being objects of wrath, the image of God in us is faint but still visible, and on account of God’s amazing grace, we are the objects of God’s love (John 3:16).
Genesis also makes it clear that God is the lawgiver (Gen 2:16, 17) and that there is absolute truth and absolute morality. It insists that God is judge and that there are serious consequences when we disobey Him (Gen 3:17). It also gives us hope, as it teaches the compassion and mercy of God: no sooner had man sinned, God promised a saviour (Gen 3:15).
A stark warning
The warnings in the Bible about the consequences of ignoring God are sobering. In the days of Noah, the whole world had become so wicked that “every inclination of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil all the time” (Gen 6:5)—the ugliness and gross immorality of society today is somewhat reminiscent of that bygone age. The ‘justification’ provided by evolutionary ‘science’ for rejecting the truth and authority of God’s Word brings to mind the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 1:21–23 that “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” Further in the chapter (vv. 28,29), Paul describes those who “did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God” as having “become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity”. Unless the British people turn back to God soon, the latest riots may well turn out to be just a foretaste of what’s to come.
- I know of only one exception to this, that being the right of those who receive Christ to become children of God (John 1:12). [The Creator-ordained “unalienable rights” forming part of the US Declaration of Independence are in fact restraints on human sin, and not in the same category as the humanist ‘rights’ demanded today. The ‘right’ to life, for example, flows out of the commandment not to murder—Ed.] Return to text.
- Darwin, C, Old and USELESS Notes about the moral sense & some metaphysical points written about the year 1837 & earlier, p. 409; accessed at darwin-online.org.uk 12 August 2011. Return to text.
- See also Colossians 1:15–16 which makes clear that “All things were created through [Christ] and for [Christ]”. Return to text.
I was blessed by this artical, and what the Apostle Paul had to say.
The world we live in is self, self, self, kids have lost the value of disapline to do gooders in high places who have no regard for biblical truths, we are clearly told in our bible ‘Gods word’ He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly:Proverbs 13:v24 As we read our bible’s we can clearly see that the end times are at our door steps, Let us Pray for more oppertunities to plant the seeds of Salvation into the lost Amen and the truth will set them free to love the Lord and shine the light for others to follow Amen, be blessed Paul :-)x
Thanks for your feedback on my article.
We must indeed preach the word, while there is still some light and we still can. You may be interested in this excellent article by Melanie Phillips:
One agnostic commentator wrote,
“And take away a religion to awe them, punishments to scare them, shame to shrivel them, examples to inspire them, traditions to bind them, families to train them and a shared history to make them loyal, and … well, London’s ferals have shown you what comes next.” (Revolt of the ferals.)
May His blessing be on you too.
Always so thankful when someone steps up to the plate and says the truth in love-it is CMI that is batting 1.000 as the you folks do not hesitate to use the opportunities provided and speak up–wisely, confidently, with the full assurance of God in Christ Jesus–it is greatly appreciated and I am so very thankful for CMI and all the folks associated with the organization for taking the stand on the word of God and not backing down.
The Word of God is still standing and is not going anywhere.
PS it actually brings tears of joy and overwhelming thanks when I read such articles as this–and the fact that I am provided with CMI as a home page too–God is so gracious and provides so very very much, and it did cost Him, but the gift is free.
What a timely and excellent article, once again showing that a biblical basis enables a clear examination of any problem. Well done!
Well I hope Richard Dawkins is happy with himself after what’s been going on. Thanks to successive governments, innocent children have been brainwashed into being taught that humanity is the cause of a cosmic accident and that we are just thinking monkeys.
Thankfully I do see young people waking up and converting to Christianity and that websites like this one exists and seeks to prove the real truth of our heritage and where we came from.
There is hope for Christianity and Creation Science and hope there will be an end to the Evolution nonsense.
The was predicted by Francis Schaeffer in the 1980’s. We are following the same pattern of a civilization in decline. Unfortunately the only one to take the western civilizations place is the brutal Islamic civilization. Perhaps this will be the ten toes (10 caliphates) of Daniel 2 destroyed by the kingdom of God yet to come.
Great article. Romans 3 gives a great description of the reason for the destructive acts of the English youth. "There is no fear of God before their eyes".
Powerful, Precise and to the point diagnosis of England’s ailments. That is why I support Creation Ministries, you have the correct perspective on events. Praise God!
What bemuses me is the way society has become schizophrenic. The cry from many in society at the time when all these young people were running amok was “Where are the parents of these ‘children’ and why aren’t they keeping their kids under control”
Stupid society-have they forgotten that over the years they have progressively taken away from parents the right to discipline their own children as they see fit?
Now in their own interests of self protection society wants the parents of those children to break the law that they themselves put in place. Idiots!
To society-enjoy what these young people are doing. Hold a nice big party celebrating what these rioters have done. Show everybody how joyful you are about their actions. You wanted it. You’re the ones who took away from parents the right to control their children and now you get to enjoy the results.
We met a while ago when you kindly ministered to us at Penn Free Methodist Church, where I am the Pastor. I wanted to thank you for this excellent article bringing home the truth which the world just cannot see, namely that the God-rejecting nature of the human heart is the root cause of England’s tragic national decline. I was particularly struck by the quotation from Darwin stating that wickedness is not man’s fault. How our nation needs to return to the authority of Scripture alone.
Every blessing to you in your ongoing work for Biblical truth.
I’d have thought the looters were doing the lords work by following the example of Yahweh at Jericho. The only difference being that Yahweh got to keep all of his loot and nobody locked him up for it. Oh yeah, there was no systematic murdering of men, women, children and animals in London.
Thank you for your feedback to my article.
We live in a period of unprecedented grace, when God is showing remarkable restraint in dealing with man’s wickedness and evil. This restraint takes two forms. Firstly, God appoints people to positions of authority who will impose a degree of law and order. Secondly, He stays His hand and does not bring the calamites upon people that their sins certainly merit. From time to time, however, God lifts his restraining hand and we glimpse the true nature of man in sin. A good example is the rise of Nazi Germany and all that brought, including a world war and the holocaust. Many, many other examples could be cited.
Because, today, God is showing such restraint (I think primarily to facilitate the spread of the Gospel) it is easy to lose sight of how bad people can be. In the days of Noah, for example, things had become unbelievably bad. Gen. 6:5 tells us that, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” The Bible and other historical documents record how violent and cruel nations could be, with child sacrifice, ruthless slavery etc, etc. I remember watching a very informative television documentary about one ancient people living around the Middle East whose whole raison d’etre appeared to be to make war.
One characteristic of these kinds of societies is their utter determination to reject God and His ways. God has revealed Himself to be holy—that is absolutely perfect in moral purity—and people hate Him for it. Jesus was utterly perfect and, in love, had come to save people from their sins, and yet they hated Him “without reason” (John 15:25).
In order to demonstrate the true nature of man without God, God will sometimes delay judgement (e.g. Genesis 15:16), allowing sin to mature and its dreadfulness to be made undeniably clear. Then, in order to demonstrate His righteous and just nature, He judges, as He did at Jericho, through the Israelites destroying the city and its inhabitants. The vandals and looters of the last week were committing sin and encouraging others to do so. God’s act of judgement at Jericho destroyed that which causes sin. God here is not committing murder or any other crime. He is the creator and the judge and He did what was right.
Such passages in the Bible are warnings to us today. God does and will judge sin. The world will not just go on and on as it is today. Jesus told us that, one day, He will return to the earth and will judge all men. Only those who have received the free gift of salvation, which Christ offered to all, and have heeded His to command to repent, will escape.
But what should be the response of Christians to the people today who reject God? The answer is that we should follow the example of Christ. In John 1:17, we are told that though “the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Despite people showing unveiled hatred of Him, he continued to love them. He even forgave those who nailed him to the cross (Luke 23:34). He ‘turned the other cheek’ and commanded His followers to do the same. The apostle Peter instructed Christians to contend for the faith, but “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). In this time of grace, Christians are called to show patience and love—indeed as God is. Anyone claiming to be Christian and doing otherwise is just showing they are not really Christian.
The article states:
“The great heroes of the modern age are not those who have sacrificially given themselves for others, but those who have fought for themselves and their ‘rights’.”
It occurs to me that some Christians have both given themselves sacrificially AND fought for their rights. The work of Dr Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement would be an example.
It is not just humanists that speak up for human rights, but also devout Christians inspired by the calls for social justice in the scriptures and led by the Holy Spirit who has often mobilised believers to resist oppression and evil.
Thanks for your feedback.
I am increasingly uneasy with Christians’ use of the word ‘rights’ and, particularly, the phrase, ‘human rights’—that is, in the sense I used it in the sentence you quote. According to Christ, the blessed are those who are poor in spirit. Acknowledging their moral bankruptcy, that outside of Christ they have no worth or moral standing, they know that they do not have any ‘human rights’; rather they become acutely aware of their many ‘human responsibilities’, towards God and their fellow man. They focus not on themselves but on others, and discover the freedom that comes from abandoning ‘self’. Conversely, encouraging people to demand their ‘rights’ fosters selfishness and leads to unhappiness, as people make a god of themselves, and angry frustration when they don’t get what they want.
It seems to me that the very word ‘right’ suggests something quite different from that of its contemporary meaning. Surely, a ‘right’ is something that it is ‘rightful’; it is right to do it or right to allow it and reflects an obligation. A right, in this sense, is not something that someone possesses and demands, but an inference of responsibility on another. In a Christian sense, the appropriateness of the Welfare State, for example, might be justified not by asserting that people have a right to it and are deserving of it, but by arguing that the wealthy have a responsibility to provide it because they are no more deserving and what they have was gratuitously provided by God.
An editor of my article added to one of the footnotes, “The Creator-ordained “unalienable rights” forming part of the US Declaration of Independence are in fact restraints on human sin, and not in the same category as the humanist ‘rights’ demanded today. The ‘right’ to life, for example, flows out of the commandment not to murder—Ed.” Many would argue that Martin Luther King’s work fell into this category too.
Joe S. replies:
Thanks for your thoughts Dominic.
What has concerned me the most is the lack of readiness on the part of the church to stand up for justice in society. This is the case in Britain where I live. King Josiah defended the cause of the poor and powerless, and it was accredited to him as knowing the character of God (Jeremiah 22:16). So I often wonder how this impacts on our claim to being in relationship with God when congregations have little or no desire to uphold justice in their surrounding communities.
It occurs to me that we can make a distinction between our expectations from God and our expectations from our fellow man. Although we, as created beings and as sinners, have no legitimate basis to claim rights from God, the scriptures indicate that we have the right to take issue with our fellow man over unfair treatment. After all, Jesus said that if we have anything against our fellow man, we can take it up with him. If that fails, we can seek support from our faith leaders.
It follows that we have rights and responsibilities in society to ensure that justice is promoted and that people can elicit support when they are treated unjustly. The scriptures show people asking for rights in the pursuit of justice. For example, the daughters of Zelophelad approached their nation’s leaders over their rights of inheritance and the preservation of their father’s name, and God supported their case (Numbers 27).
Ultimately I suppose it depends what kinds of rights are claimed, and whether they are consistent with the moral framework and the principles of love and justice which characterise God’s Kingdom. Some ‘human rights’ are ungodly but God also hates it when injustices go unaddressed. By supporting communities to secure justice, we can obey the scriptures, give good Christian witness and help unbelievers to gain a sense of God’s intervention in the world.
I enjoyed the first section of this article which showed various points of view on the British riots. However to suggest that the riots were caused by a lack of God in society is just ridiculous, this entire article is just a attempt to smear the good name of atheism.
It fits the theme of our reality.
We are going from a perfect creation to a sinful destruction on all levels. Physically/geographically, financially, socially, morally… we’re acquiring the promised wages of sin.
Its only going to get worse.
Very good article. to the point and of course quite correct i its situational assessment quality. We need to make sure that we, on a personal basis, see to it that the truth is constantly being affirmed by us at every opportunity. the problem is many Christians do not understand the beginning of the created order. I have to thank Chuck Missler, founder of Koinoia House for teaching to who-so-ever wants to hear, the more in depth explanations of the beginning of man’s history.
This sounds so nice and fits what Christians want to hear. I acknowledge that there is a spiritual element to this. However, having lived through these riots (in Wolverhampton) and having visited many countries, this cannot be the answer. It is true that England (to a much less extent Wales and Scotland) has big time rejected the Christian teaching, but to say that this is the reason for the riots is far too convenient. Look at other countries such as Japan, Qatar, Singapore and other countries*. Though England is in a sorry spiritual state, these countries never acknowledged the King of the Universe to be their god.
I have no idea why these riots started. It is true that young folk are the second or third generation of those who have little or no respect for parents and authority. However to blame it on rejecting God flies in the face of evidence of those countries that have never accepted Him in the first place, and are far more peaceful.
* (According to Global Peace Index 2011-05-25 and endorsed by archbishop Desmond Tutu and economist Jeffrey Sachs)
The article deals with Britain, rather than the other countries you mention. Britain is a country where we received the light and have now turned away from it. According to Jesus, this puts us in a worse state than if we had never embraced Christianity in the first place (Luke 11:24-26). The apostle Peter taught something similar in 2 Peter 2:20-22, and spoke of the dog that returns to its vomit and the sow that is washed going back to wallow in the mud.
Also, God judges sovereignly, and we cannot always second-guess how or when he will act. However, we are told that “righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34), and we can be confident that sin will do the opposite.
David H. replies:
From the way you speak it seems you are English, is this correct?
I understand what you are saying, however I don’t agree with you. Yes the countries I quoted did once have the light of the Gospel. I quoted the countries that hadn’t to show that not having God in their view is not the cause of Britain’s problems today. It certainly doesn’t help, but I think your approach is too simple for the reality our country faces today. I also don’t agree that the problem you refer to is British. It seems to me that most of the problems are only English and do not hit the rest of Britain. You will note in the riots you refer to, only English cities were involved, many of which I have lived in, and all of which I have visited. The same is not true of other non-English British cities. A small correction, Britain is not a country, it is a nation consisting of four countries and several dependencies. Your article only dealt with England, and that is rightly so, the troubles you spoke of were only in England.
I agree with your comments from Scripture, but not how you apply them in this situation. I’m sure it’s far more complex that you infer.
I think the reason for the riots, which you address specifically, is much more complicated. There are other countries that also once had the light and yet do not have the problems we see today, such as Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. This is evidence to falsify your premise.
I ask that you don’t just dismiss contrary evidence. No opinion worth propounding is without contrary evidence. Goodness me, we don’t even have all the evidence on things that are clear and without question, such as Creation for instance. On balance you feel that turning from God is the source of the problem. On balance I see that the evidence shows otherwise. Allow me to disagree with you without feeling you must convince me of your position. I understand your position, I just don’t agree with it.
At the same time it is a terrible tragedy that England has turned from it’s religious heritage and the special favour it had in the Lord’s sight. It seems that to some extent England is pulling down the rest of Britain with it, though they are not so turned away as England.
We face many problems here that much of the English speaking world faces in terms of disrespect of elders and authorities, at the second and third generation level. I see that this is a result of the turn to secularism. However I cannot see that this directly results in the riots. I have no idea why this month’s riots occurred, but I bet it’s far more complex than you suggest.
Allow me to have a differing opinion to you. After all, you must admit you do not have the definitive uncontested answer to the source of the riots. It is your (and many other folks I agree) opinion on the matter. I just happen not to share your opinion. It’s not like we differ significantly over who the Creator is, how and when He created, the story of salvation or anything. It’s just this particular event that I disagree with you on.
Dominic Statham responds:
Yes, I’m English.
I realise that the issues are complex—and acknowledged, at the beginning of the article, that there were other factors at work. However, I have no doubt, that had we stuck to the Christian thinking of the nineteenth century, and continued to base our laws, judicial system and educational system on this, we would not have seen the riots we have.
One of the most ‘brilliant’ designs of the ongoing brazen evolutionary subversion of our society is that we are not meant to see and understand any link between underlying cause and effect in history, nor in any other issue or event at hand. All are supposed to be only free and separate floating spontaneous events that just happen to surface at a certain time.
And why is that? Because these riots-among other things-are by careful design and not at all spontaneous. And if recognized as by design, then there must also be designers with a vested interest who will risk being exposed, which must not happen.
From before the French Revolution this has been a favorite way of manipulating ‘the masses’ to a certain manner of thinking, and that way we are safely ‘protected’ from anything that may teach us anything from previous mistakes or events. Generally it only takes less than ten years to teach a population in order to perpetrate the same thing all over on them again, and everyone is wondering how come such a terrible thing ever could have happened.
Indeed these UK events is a natural effect of a subverted society in general, and a foretaste of what is to come.
Thanks for a good article.
Great article, but we really need to look back a little further, to look at where the roots of the riots lie. I have had a go at covering some of this in my article at http://bible-matters.com/welcome-to-my-world/.
I agree very strongly with this article as a whole however it is worth me mentioning, that the author is wrong on the consequences the rioters are facing…
Actually against the trend of what Britain normally sees is a swathe of very harsh sentencing. So contrary to the author statement, “the full force of the law” has been used … and in fact in two case 4year sentences have been handed out for crimes that would on a ‘normal’ day only get community service.
I wanted to point that out as it’s a easy point to contradict the arguments presented.
While it is true that some of the sentences are harsher than normal, it seems that other sentences, particularly for minors, are as lenient as ever. However, when the rioting started, there had been a track record of great leniency, which would have been in the minds of the rioters when they started their looting and vandalism.
Thanks for your article. These things need to be said loud and clear and repeatedly.
One thing I would like to add. The riots have gone. Is all well? No it isn’t because the root causes of the rioting are still in people’s hearts. And it is not only the young, I find all ages are involved in these attitudes of alienation, frustration and anger. And it involves all classes too.
Our gods of luxury, power, money, sex lure us on to ever greater madness.
C.S.Lewis voiced the fear that if Britain followed these idols, at some point the “dark gods of the blood” would be aroused.
It seems to me that we might well be witnessing this in our day.
Not only do we need to take heed of Genesis, but also the rest of the Sacred Scriptures; the law, the prophets, our Lord Jesus and his Apostles.
There we will find the causes of our maladies laid bare and the cure for them in a return to God in repentance and humility.
Let us preach the Word in season and out of season, clearly, directly speaking to the situation we find ourselves in.
When the riots started I had just completed a study of the spiritual state of Britain over the centuries; it is called ‘Britain in Danger’ (see http://www.seekingtruth.co.uk/britain.pdf). It seems Britain’s leaders, secular and spiritual, led Britain away from biblical principles from the mid 20th century onwards, and what has happened to Britain since closely reflects the judgements of Deut 28! I believe God is looking to the true church to pray and seek God’s mercy on Britain. There are in fact many intercessor groups if you seek them out. Join one!
From Switzerlands own website:
Membership of Christian churches has shrunk in recent years. In a wide ranging poll of Swiss attitudes taken in 2000, only 16% of Swiss people said religion was “very important” to them, far below their families, their jobs, sport or culture. Another survey published the same year showed the number of regular church goers had dropped by 10% in 10 years. Among Catholics, 38.5% said they did not go to church, while among Protestants the figure was 50.7%. Only 71% of the total of those asked said they believed in God at all. The demand for church baptisms, weddings and funerals has fallen sharply in the last 30 years. The 2000 census showed that the Roman Catholic and the mainstream Protestant church (the Reformed-Evangelical) had lost in both absolute terms (the number of members) and in relative terms (their share of the total population.)
Why is it not on fire …. ?
Can God only punish one at a time now?
You ask a good question. As I know very little about Switzerland, it is difficult for me to comment. But, as I wrote in response to a feedback above, God judges sovereignly, and we cannot always second-guess how or when he will act. However, we are told that “righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34), and we can be confident that sin will do the opposite.
Would not the following be part of the answer to the recent riots?
Perhaps we are neglecting an underlying cause of the upheavals we have recently seen in English cities—Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Today this theory permeates science, dominates culture, and is accepted as the normal explanation of origins in schools, universities, museums, and the media. But what does it teach? Natural selection involves brutal competition, rewarding the strong and destroying the weak. There are no absolutes of right and wrong. Idealism is merely enlightened self-interest and religion a mistaken bypath.
Were not the rioters simply fulfilling the natural consequences of this belief, showing its practical outworking in society? Why obey a teacher or parent? Why stick with an unwanted partner in life? Why not follow the natural logic of the theory, battle constraint and grab all you want? Is it not significant that England, a source of the theory, has now been a victim of its outworking?
Whilst I doubt you will publish this comment I will write it anyway. Whilst I agree that the bible teaches some good morals that many could learn from, with or without a belief in God, your suggestion that christian morals are unanimous are surprisingly naive. I am sure you would argue that there is no disagreement between people who follow the Bible literally but there various groups that claim to do so with drastic differences of belief. Humans do have a natural moral sense, the vast majority do not enjoy causing suffering to others and almost everyone can recognise when something is morally good or bad. The issue is whether an individual chooses to continue with a behaviour.
The power of the Bible to influence people’s behaviour (often but not always morally positive acts) relies heavily on the reward of heaven and punishment of hell. However as I’m sure many christians and non-christians (such as myself) have realised being a morally good person is rewarding in its own right which would suggest we are ‘hard-wired’ with morals.
Darwinian principles favour co-operative and altruistic behaviours amongst social creatures for the simple fact that groups are more powerful than individuals. This same principle explains why multi-cellular life would rise from single-cellular in an evolutionary system.
-I would like to point out that I do not consider ‘evolution by natural selection’ to be fact, but having spoken to Dominic Statham in person there is no disagreement that natural selection is a biological driving force even if no speciation occurs. Therefore the principles remain valid whatever your spiritual beliefs are.-
I believe the reward/punishment method of teaching morals is fundamentally flawed. As a child, parents and teachers would often tell me not to do something ‘Because they said so’. This leads to moral reasoning based around the probability of being caught. (Theist beliefs overcome this hurdle by teaching that their deity exists everywhere and can see everything). A more effective method requires explanation. I do not believe that the riots were caused by ‘sheer criminality’ or Godlessness, but rather the natural desire we all have for material goods and the lack of visible consequences. It’s a ‘No-ones looking’ situation. Someone with moral wisdom would have been taught to consider potential feelings of others and the long-term consequences for community.
I think your understanding of the Christian incentive for rightful living (reward/punishment) is very inadequate. Christ certainly taught that those who reject him and cling to evil will be punished and that those who live selflessly for him and others will be rewarded. However, the emphasis, here, should be on the word ‘selflessly’. If I do something for reward it is not selfless. Jesus said, “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me” (John 14:21). In other words, the real motive for obeying God is love. And why does the Christian love God? The apostle John gave the answer: “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Despite our turning away from God and preferring to sin, God sent his son to pay the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. So God first loved us and we love in response to him loving us.
The evolutionary explanation for altruism does not appear very strong. Would a process of evolution based on survival of the fittest really bring about selflessness? Philip Skell, who was Professor of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, commented:
“Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.”
Law might help if there were two principles observed. First, “if a man will not work neither let him eat”. Second, that perpetrators of crime ought to compensate their victims. Both these are to be found in the law. Adam was told that he had to work and to live “by the sweat of his brow”. Compensation plus a fifth is also in the torah.
However I also agree that the moral absolutes of the Law of God, once lost are difficult to regain. We have a problem.
Added to that problem is the limp attitude of Christians. They go to Creation conferences but do not challenge their fellows. Certainly they do not challenge the BHA and the Nat. Sec. Soc. Why not? Is it because we are afraid? Is it because we do not read our Bibles and therefore are ill-equipped, however many speakers we hear and conferences we attend. Thirdly are we too scared to ‘stand up for Jesus’ and have become soldiers who lay down their weapons at the first challenge from Dawkins and Attenborough. If we lose the democratic ‘right’ to free speech then whose fault will that be. Our culture has been based on the Judeo-Christian ethic. Now we are letting it go. What would Wycliffe be thinking who took on the might of the roman religion? What of the martyrs of Mary’s reign who were burned alive? What of Wilberforce, Clarkson, Hannah More and others and those hundreds of women’s groups who succeeded in freeing the slaves? What of William Booth and the work of the Salvation Army? Are we in their mould or are we feebly saying to ourselves that God will somehow save us from the nastiness, from the death camps and from the secret police. Why should He when martyrs aplenty have gone on triumphantly before. Or will we cave in and accept that we are not allowed to teach our children creation and so allow the secular state to have its own way and subvert them as they are subverting them now. Let us ask ourselves, how many of our children are saved? How many do we weep over because they have followed the world’s secular war and bought riches and honours in this world’s vanity fair.
We must note Ezekiel and take those instructions to sound the trumpet of warning as addressed to us.