Since Steve Harvey is recently in the news, let’s talk about him. He was last seen messing up the winner of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant (and if that kind of thing ever happens to Leonardo DiCaprio, I will burn Kodak theater to the ground), but Harvey has had some gnarly things to say about the non-religious in the past.
Joy Behar: “Do you believe that only people who are religious are ethical and moral?”
Harvey: “No, I just believe that if you don’t believe in God, where’s your moral barometer?”
We’re going to skip over the part where this is really dumb and offensive, because we all know that it is. Let’s instead go to the part where Harvey’s comments highlight one of Christianity’s most sacred tenets:
Goodness comes from God.
For this illustration, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Grinch.
The Grinch is one of my favorite antiheroes. Throughout the whole book/movie, it is set up that he does not like Christmas. He doesn’t like the music, or the gifts, and especially not the rare Who Roast Beast. He decides that because he hates Christmas soooooo much, he’s going to fix it the only way he knows how: grand larceny.
The Grinch sees all the presents that the Who have built up over the Christmas season, and concocts a dastardly plan to steal them all, and with them, Christmas itself. He does just this, and on Christmas morning, as he listens out over Mount Crumpit to hear the muffled tears of the children and parents devastated by the lack of Christmas, he instead hears singing. This leads him to my favorite line in the whole shebang:
It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
The whole emotional pull of the Grinch is in this moment, where he realizes that there is nothing he could do to stop Christmas, because it wasn’t dependent on material things in the least.
So, Steve Harvey thinks that you have to believe in God to have some kind of moral barometer, but it sounds to me like he needs to learn the same lesson as the Grinch.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?
Here’s my idea: How beautiful could life be if you realized that God, Jesus, and the Bible don’t make you good? What if Christians understood that they don’t have to be afraid that they can’t be good without God, because their goodness is not dependent on any book, idea, or philosopher, but on whether or not they decide to be good?
That kind of freedom sounds like a very merry Christmas present.
For more on Harvey’s comments on atheists, check out this link.
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