The Idea of Salvation Reduces Responsibility


I believe that humans beings want to do the right thing. Even in a world full of ISIS and Mike Huckabee, I think that, in general, people would like to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, many Christians would not agree with me on this core point.

It’s a strange thought, especially when surrounded by people who seem to prove the contrary every day. But it’s a good thought, and I apply it as broadly as possible, because I think that it’s true.

I remember going to college, where tuition costs rose every single year thousands of dollars, and the bookstore robbed us of all the money we had to sign up at the financial aid office to get. On our conservative Christian campus, gay students had to lay down low in many senses, worship was mandatory, and some of the buildings looked quite a bit nicer than the others.

But I never thought that the administration was evil.

I never thought that President Andreasen fantasized about ways to increase my tuition and bring me to financial ruin. I never thought that his driving purpose was screwing the average Andrews student more today than he had the day before.

It doesn’t work like that. People don’t work like that.

I also feel the same about Presidents. I don’t think Obama wakes up in the morning maniacally evil, and I don’t think George Bush did, either. And it all comes back to one of my core truths.

People want to do the right thing.

The Justification of Salvation

Human beings want to be justified. The story of salvation is that one day, we’ll finally KNOW whether or not what we did was right, and I just don’t think that’s the way it works. I don’t think we get a nice summary of how this went down. I think that rejects the ambiguity that is the truth of the human experience/condition, which is that each of us does our best, based on a number of factors, to do what we think is best, but in the end we don’t know. So often, and by “so often” I mean “basically every time we’re forced to make a choice”, we are forced to make it with all available knowledge, and absent of factors and options we cannot currently see.

It’s a strange thought, especially when surrounded by people who seem to prove the contrary every day.

And we just have to do things anyway. At the end of the day, we have to be comfortable saying, “This is who I am. These are the decisions I’ve made.” And I think that the idea of God telling us we’re right or wrong at the end of time eases that responsibility, takes the weight off of the depth of the choices we have to make in the dark, and lessens the duty that we have to think carefully about whether we’re right now.

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3 thoughts on “The Idea of Salvation Reduces Responsibility”

  1. I personally do not need any justification for myself. I choose to make the best decision on the knowledge that I have out of love for the living God, who created the heaven and the earth. I do it to be pleasing to him. To glorify him.
    I am married, and I also give all I can to my husband. I do this not out of duty but out of love and respect. I do not do it because it takes away my responsibility. I have to answer for all my decisions in this life and the life after.


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