Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

IN WHAT MANNER SHALL I CONDUCT MY LIFE?

I was reading the Geeks site today and he had a post regarding big questions. One he mentioned in particular was "In what manner shall I conduct my life?" I'll let his words speak for him.

I once articulated an answer to the third question in a moment of exasperation. I was talking with a friend, concerning a local problem involving people behaving badly.

Closing my eyes and shaking my head, I went off.


"You know, it's not freaking rocket science. Anyone can do it. Just be a {bleep bleep} decent human being. All you really need is to the best of your ability, be brave, speak truths, be willing to learn, have at least a small dose of humility handy, keep your word, and don't go out of your way to harm anyone. I mean, really, even if you get that half right, a quarter right, you'd be a quantum leap ahead of the sort of nonsense we're talking about. You'd think that after umpteen bazillion years of human civilization this all would be common knowledge, and we'd have it down by now."

My friend opened his mouth to speak. I knew what was coming next. He was a Fundamentalist of some flavor or another, and I hadn't made reference to giving oneself over to his particular Deity of choice, or the inherent imperfection and sinful nature of man.

Being a Secular Jesuslander, I get that every once in a blue. It is sometimes outside of the worldview and experience of some of my religiously observant acquaintances that human decency is possible without immolating oneself in the Deity.


I was pleasantly surprised when he closed his mouth, and acknowledged the simple, clear truth of what I said.


"Yeah, you're right. It's not rocket science."


Speaking from a Christian point of view, I agree with what the Geek has to say here, but only within the limits of his stated parameters. If your only goal is to live a "good life", then the Geeks advice will indeed get you to your goal. Where we differ is in our goal. While it is admirable to strive to live a good life, the question has to be asked, by whose standard are you measuring good? Your own? Your mom's? Your circle of friends? Societies? My goal is not to live a good life because the standard I have accepted as "good" is unattainable, that is the standard set forth in the Bible. My goal is to live a life pleasing to God. Living a life which is pleasing to God means obeying Gods commandments, being humble, loving your neighbor, and loving God. It also means acknowladging your fallen, sinful nature, and seeking forgiveness for your sins. While it's true that the outward behavior of a person who lives as I have described and one who lives as the Geek has described will be quite similar, the difference lies in the heart. For the Christian, it is the heart that matters, because it is the heart that God examines. I do not live my life to please man (including myself), I live my life to please God. Living to please man might earn you respect, but it will not keep you from recieving judgement for your sins. Only Christ can do that.

Paul speaks to this issue in Phillipians 3.

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