Why do we sometimes choose to avoid open dialogue with people who believe that God is necessary to be good? Does this position deserve enough respect to go unquestioned? I argue that it most certainly does not. So the reason might be cordiality, I presume. Personally, I find this position rather insulting, and see much value in questioning any person who believes that their position, and only their position, is necessary for goodness. I’ll explain why. Keep in mind, I do not assume that every single Christian has come to rest in this position. However, for the Christian individuals that do not reside in this position, I argue that this is because they have not given it much thought at all. I do not claim to know why they haven’t thought about it. Perhaps they have, and have become conflicted enough to avoid further inward probing. Perhaps they simply enjoy the idea of being a Christian, without question, and the privileged aura that comes with it. Either way, because of this, I must recognize that this exact notion is implied in the book of rules to which their religion adheres. It would seem to be an unavoidable conundrum, when given any more than a fleeting thought, that any person claiming christianity must, at once, realize that their God is in some way connected with goodness, and that without that particular God, others, perhaps even close friends and family who don’t share the same beliefs, remain in a void. Why else would the religion even be necessary? To be evil? To be benign, simply holding the middle ground? Well, no, these just do not bode well for popularity, and in order for Christianity to thrive, we all realize that it must, at the very least, gain the popular vote. It must be that any thinking Christian needs to hold to the fact, even if they can not openly admit their self-righteousness, that belief in their God is necessary to be good.
In addition, I do not assume that each and every person knows someone who does not believe in their particular God, but I can safely assume that each adult, with some exposure to advanced society, does know that there exist on this earth people who do not believe in any God at all. Do these believers have any right whatsoever to assert that there is no good to be found in these admittedly godless people? By what avenue of thinking are we arriving at the conclusion that there is not even any reason for these atheistic people to do good? Is it not the epitome of arrogance to suggest that these are necessary conclusions to come to?
Alas, how critical it must be for the believer to maintain this position. For what feat of mental gymnastics must be accomplished in order to cling to the notion of the necessity of God for goodness, once a believer accepts that any of their godless friends and family may in fact be able to be good without one? Short of sheer denial, believers observe and know full well, that objective goodness (a thing that we can all, as humans, agree is beneficial to all other humans) is attained on each and every side of this multi-dimensional coin of religious belief (or lack thereof), and is not always credited to their particular version of God. I think that at least part of the reason for this compartmentalization is that, at the moment that any do-goodery by believers becomes detached from the idea that God is necessary to be capable of these actions, all good deeds, in the context of Christianity, are rendered selfish acts. They become, simply, a means of attaining a personal ticket to eternal bliss, in lieu of eternal torture. In short: Do good, or burn. I would assume that believers do not wish to refer to themselves or be referred to as fearful pawns, obeyers of commands (for what atrocities have been committed under those conditions!), but rather as clear-minded soldiers, strongly inspired to action by their righteous commander. Here’s the rub, if I’m not mistaken: If your commander is the righteous one, then what of the other peoples’ commanders? What of the people who claim to have no commander? Is the opposition just as right to claim that they are doing good by operating under their commander’s rule? And the people who claim to operate under no commander, are they just as right to claim goodness, or are they not?
Some final thinking points: If you are a Christian reading this, do you believe that God is necessary to be good? Do you think that believers in God lead better lives than that of others? If not, why do you advocate for this religion that relies on it’s God to inspire goodness if you realize that God is not necessary to be good, or at least better? And if you do not hold this position, or advocate for it, why are you a Christian?