Beliefs and Actions
A recent editorial in the Guardian newspaper sought to imagine an end to Christianity in Western Europe. It predicted:
A post-Christian Europe will of course have a morality but it won’t be Christian morality … The idea that people have some rights just because they are human, and entirely irrespective of merit, certainly isn’t derived from observation of the world. It arose out of Christianity.
This is not an especially controversial view. The secular humanist Philosopher Luc Ferry writes:
It's quite clear that without this Christian re-evaluation of the human person, the philosophy of human rights to which we subscribe today would never have established itself.
Such comments simply support the fairly evident idea that beliefs have consequences. The massive transformation of culture which arose out of Christianity came about because of belief in things such as:
* A God who made all people in his image, and who therefore loves all.
* A Saviour who encounters people in their distress – not to judge, but to heal, restore and renew, and even to suffer and die for us.
* The Holy Spirit, who breathes life into the world and empowers God’s people to bear fruit in their lives.
* A coming Kingdom, in which all injustice will be finally done away with, and God will dwell with his people forever.
* A Church, which is to be a community which, in its words and deeds, gives testimony to this coming Kingdom.
Obviously people do not need to believe these things to live caring lives. But when communities reflect deeply on truths such as these, transformation should be inevitable.
As we celebrate 25 years of St John’s Care, we are celebrating one area in which Christian beliefs have sought and found expression in the most tangible of ways, and at the front-line of human need.
Not all people are able to give time to an organisation like St John’s Care, but we would all do well to ask ourselves whether our beliefs are revealed in our actions.