A friend of mine accused Christians of only doing good because there is a reward attached to it. It raises the question, “What prompts someone to serve another at remarkable levels of sacrifice—even to the point of surrendering their lives so others may live?”
Some secular thinkers have trouble with this because they assume there is nothing beyond us, so how can we motivate others to embrace moral goodness? The philosopher Loyal Rue suggests we can tell a noble lie to convince people it’s worth being good, since science has proven religion is bunk and no one can take the Bible seriously. Therefore, we need to invent a new myth so people will fall for it.
Rue’s words presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “The illusion must be so imaginative it can’t be resisted. A noble lie that compels us beyond self-interest and will deceive us into the view that our moral discourse must serve the interests not only of ourselves and each other, but those of the earth.”
Rue acknowledges life is unlivable unless there is a story that makes sense of everything. We need something to convince us life is not only worth living, but worth preserving at the cost of our own comfort and security–a story so remarkable it has the power to trick us into being better humans.
Instead, why not reconsider the biblical account? The Bible narrative has three main points: The world is good, the word is fallen and the world can be redeemed.
God has revealed Himself to this world by becoming one of us. We can personally become part of His history-changing initiative to heal whatever is broken. That story, more than any other, has shaped western culture. For 20 centuries it has helped explain why loving others, especially the poor and vulnerable who could never pay us back, makes all the sense in the world.
God has left clues that this is not a fairy tale—not something people dreamed up. The Bible’s invitation to every generation is the same: follow the clues and search yourself to see if this is the story of God. It would be a pity to tell a lie if the truth is staring us in the face.
-Rev Dr William Lewis