Christianity represents the highest moral and ethical standards. Not only did Jesus Christ stand for the highest standards, the God of the Bible calls His followers to an amazing level of goodness. God calls us to be holy, not just to our own standards, but to God’s standards of holiness.
“You are to be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2
God’s commandments focus on honesty, fidelity, honour, self-denial, right motives, sexual purity, respect for private property, truthfulness and sanctity of human life.
“Honour your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness.” Numbers 20:12-16
Not only are we called to right actions but also to holy attitudes in our heart. Reverence for God and His name and refusing to lust after other people’s assets are attitudinal matters.
Jesus built on the internal aspect of holiness by telling us that hatred equates with murder and lust equates with adultery.
“You have heard that it was said to the ancients, Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, You fool! will be liable to hell fire.” Matthew 5:21,22
“Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Anyone schooled in Christian values should be expected to be responsible, respectful, obedient, helpful, caring, faithful, exemplary, truthful, restrained, good, self-sacrificing, non-exploitative, fair, just, righteous, reliable and the like.
So, why do so many people despise Christianity?
In western democracies, built on a foundation of Christian values, there are rising tides of opposition and contempt toward Christianity.
What is it that these people object to? What do they want in place of Christianity?
What part of the list of Christian qualities is objectionable?
Do these people have a problem with holiness? Or do they despise truth? Maybe they can’t stand responsibility. Or is it justice that they object to? What do they find offensive about being self-sacrificing, or reliable?
If they remove Christian values, what foundational values will they put in place of holiness, purity, faithfulness, caring, honesty and integrity?
Do they want a world that is full of selfish contempt and aggressive exploitation? Do they want some licence to use and abuse others without accountability? Do they want to lie and cheat their way through a world of liars and cheats? Do they want themselves and their descendants living in a human jungle of hatred, violence, abuse, exploitation, contempt, unfaithfulness, mockery, shame and strife?
The lowering of standards is never done to aid those of good will and good intent. Lowering of standards and opposing the higher values is a concession to those who object to those standards. It is a concession to those who want to do evil with impunity.
Sadly, over the past half century, western societies have moved away from Christian values. When I was a lad at primary school and into my high school years, up to the late 1960’s, Christian material was built into the school curriculum. Now it is effectively banned.
Why? What could be so damaging about teaching people of the highest values ever espoused? What does the system want our children to anchor themselves on?
Some might suggest that Christian values empower people to take personal responsibility for their thoughts, actions and lives, and so that empowers people to be citizens in their own right. Such personal power might be a problem for those who want to make people the property of the state. A powerless people, with no personal foundation and no internal capacity for self-control, need to be corralled and controlled like animals.
Maybe Christian values not only inspire the highest standards in behaviour but they create people who will uphold standards and call others to account. Maybe those values will enable people to see and object to processes and systems meant to subvert them.
Maybe. Maybe not.
What remains as a serious question for us to contend with in western societies is why in the world would political parties, social groups, lobby groups, communities, cultural groups and other elements of society ever rise up against The Christian Benchmark.