Richard Dawkins on Abortion

I’m quite glad that Richard Dawkins is refreshingly honest in issues of abortion, pedophilia, and rape. I find this sort of honestly admirable for one simple reason: it doesn’t cloak itself in nobility. Instead, it is cold, calculated logic for him to simply express one extremely common reason why women abort (among many others). While I disagree completely with that logic, I appreciate it simply because it displays the logical outcome of a man who views morality in a completely twisted manner.

In reading replies to his initial Tweets, you see only three different outcomes:

  1. His logic is sound. Aborting Down syndrome fetuses is kind, charitable, and morally correct. The person with Down syndrome simply suffers, having little quality of life, and will be a burden to those whom have to continuously cater to a perpetual child.
  2. Richard Dawkins is correct in his logic, however, he should have used a more neutral term than “immoral” in regard to those whom decide to raise a child with Down syndrome. The reason being, it is inherently their choice to raise a child – yet it would also be perfectly acceptable to terminate the pregnancy based on the fetus’ poor mental and physical health.
  3. Richard Dawkins is completely incorrect in his logic and is trying to play God. A fetus is life, life is precious, and thus, whatever quality of life one is given is not contingent upon the value of that life.

When looking at these things, we must understand the framework Dawkins operates under. I am not specifically speaking of the framework of his atheism, though that is inseparable from how he formulates his worldview. I am speaking of identifying his terminology and his definitions of those terms.

  • Fetus/it: Dawkins will use the term fetus over and again. It will not be referred to “life,” though it is living. The more impersonal you can make it (even abandoning impersonal pronouns, such as he/she – and using “it” instead) the better.
  • Non-essentialist: A non-essentialist believes that the substance (the properties that make something what it is, without which, it would not be that thing) does not imply virtue. Thus, it is then easy to say, biologically, a fetus is not human because humanity goes beyond a simple bundle of cells that will one day develop into the substance of a human being (i.e. logic, emotion, etc.).
  • Suffer: In the terms of an adult, low quality of life (specifically, what qualitatively substantiates a normal life style that is not inhibited by intellectual malady). In the terms of an unborn infant, will they be capable of reasoning in the womb that they are being destroyed? Though the infant may feel such pain, it is not cognitively responding to that pain except on the basis of bodily reaction. There is no emotional response, mental recognition, nor is there fear (beyond naturalistic primal fear).
  • Moral/immoral: subjective to the person’s desires (i.e. – not necessarily pertaining to social norms, but inherently built in societal structure and benefit of said society and individual).
  • Logic: devoid of emotional reasoning in any sense. What this specifically means is that it represents factual basis without an appeal to rational emotion. This is used in his integration of the sciences within what he would deem a philosophical question, such as abortion rights.

This is obviously not a treatment on the fullness of Dawkins’ vocabulary and his presupposed definitions – but it is helpful to understand nonetheless. On the basis of using these terms, he neatly defines his parameters and contains the argument where he desires it would go. Thus, any person in disagreement is disqualified as a rational thinker, as they substantiate their claims with emotive responses rather than based off of what is factually represented and naturally observed or tested.

He further claims that only in “intellectual dishonesty” can one substantiate claims against him. The sciences and philosophy of applied sciences will undoubtedly back him up. Essentially, what proponents of this worldview are saying is that you are stupid for believing otherwise due to an appeal to sources, which cannot be empirically tested or validated. This causes problematic reasoning in that we cannot ascertain what is morally acceptable beyond what develops consensus in subjection to each individual. Thus, each man does what is right in his own eyes – but as a collective sect.

Though there are societal constraints in defining moral evil (we see this in respect to laws governing the states) – we cannot possibly define moral evil in the basis where there is no law. Thus, it is problematic for a man like Dawkins to say that cannibalism in a third world tribe is truly evil, though it would be considered morally evil within his own society. This can be qualified by saying, “if you think that this is an endorsement of cannibalism, go away and learn how to think.”

This appeals to autonomous, societal rule, yet simultaneously, self-rule for the individual; freedom to make whatever choices they desire, be it through sexual expression, the governed right to abort, euthanasia, tribal practices, etc. All of these imply a personal, subjective value so long as they do not become matters of legality – yet the issue at hand is in regard to disagreeing with Dawkins. Though he “would never dream of imposing his views on anyone,” it is illogical and immoral to make the choice of keeping an unborn child who was screened positively for Downs. His apology is not one of sincerity in offending a position, but of one where he is seen as totalitarian.

So why do I find anything to appreciate out of all of this? I find Dawkins to be much more candid than most others who hold the same conviction. I find these convictions to be horribly atrocious – but he doesn’t cloak it with feigned dignity. He is ignoble, a downright fool, contradicts his own rules of logic, and a hater of God and His people – yet he is completely open in expression, even if he has to qualify his statements.

He is willing to go where his argument takes him. Most others simply will not because they either don’t have the fortitude or the foresight to see where it fully leads. For these likes, they simply bow down to the intellectual giants of their field and feign nobility, walking around in blissful ignorance to the true conclusion of their belief system.

Everyone is a worshiper; the difference simply comes in what they worship.


Evolution and the Bible

It should be noted that this post was spurred from a Facebook discussion and will not follow the brevity clause of blogdom. I opted to share a term paper with fellow brothers in Christ and any others who were part of that discussion. Though my views may be different on this matter, it is important to recognize that this is in no means meant to downplay their faith, convictions, spirituality, or devotion to Christ. Nor is it in any respect intended to downplay the seriousness with which those who do not believe the gospel approach this subject. This paper was partially completed for my undergraduate studies; I say partially because two days before it was due, my father passed away and I was in no frame of mind to continue. If there are grammatical mistakes, poor sentence construction, and the like – please forgive me. It is a long read, as it was a term paper – so don’t say the warning was not presented.


In 1859, the already well-reputed scientist, Charles Darwin, released his extensive work known as “On the Origin of Species” for publication. Since this time, few topics have been so hotly debated among secularists and the church. The initial response by many within the church was to ignore the scientific validity of any evolutionary theory, claiming ignorantly, that God and science are separate entities and the two should not be co-mingled or interpreted in light of one another. Due to this, many within the church remained naïve to the claims of evolutionary theory and were slowly indoctrinated to many of them. Some within the church wholly embraced this new teaching, seeing that it posed no threat to the Christian faith. However, many others vehemently opposed evolution and the study of science in general, feeling that the two were mutually exclusive and could not be related.

In response to this and many other scientific advances, the Christian Science Journal was conceived in 1875, teaching proponent’s views to a Christian audience. However, the major challenge against this was that doctrine was seen subsidiary to scientific advances. Rather than engaging the conflicting interests in the pursuit of truth in both science and religion, the scriptures often took a second seat. They did not meet direct attack from this magazine, but conflicting theories in the realm of science greatly influenced editorial thought, resulting in liberalized approach and steady abandonment of conservative theology. At this same time period, many existentialist philosophers and liberal Western theologians came on the scene.

As a result of both liberal and existential thought, scientific theories contradicting the scriptures received little notable push back; the church moved toward a progressive approach to biblical theology. However, some did not see this purely as a Christian debate, and to be sure, Darwin was not the only notable scholar proposing evolutionary theory. The hot bedded debate would rage more silently though in these early years because of the lack of legitimately founded reason in approach to the sciences. Most arguments against evolutionary theory were simply met with hostility, rarely even involving an in depth study of the science behind Darwin’s thought. In more recent times (from the 1940’s on) we have seen a more balanced approach to the fundamental science behind the theory of evolution and its flaws.

The most notable work done in recent years, and considerably, the most criticized by the scientific community, has been through the study of Intelligent Design. Largely, it is ridiculed for its overly “religious” approach to science and is often labeled as pursuing a rock-ribbed fundamentalist Christian approach to the sciences. Furthermore, many of the brightest intellectuals on the side of Darwinian thought meet the proponents of I.D. with great hostility, often resorting to blatant disrespect in regard to the intellectual ability of the persons involved. However, many within this same field of thought are not taking this approach; they view the study of science as a pursuit of truth. There are meritorious arguments from both sides, and some evolutionary scientists are not ruling out the holes within evolutionary theory. In large, an integrated approach to science is being re-evaluated academically and theologically, yet there is much groundwork left to accomplish in order to reach any sort of consensus.

Though most of the attention is accredited to Darwin, other notable scientists before, during, and after his time contributed to evolutionary theory. Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon (1707-1788) proposed a non-biblical approach to the Earth’s history, accounting for the creation of earth based on Newtonian Physics (Berkley, The History of Evolutionary Thought).

In this, Buffon argued that over the time period of 70,000 years, debris from the sun broke off to form planets after a collision with a massive comet. Over time, the Earth being one of these large pieces of debris, eventually cooled from the scorching hot molten rock, and rain came down from clouds to inevitably form oceans. He also argued that under the ideal conditions (i.e. a hot ocean and the right organic materials) that life could form spontaneously. Through a series of events, these organisms and large animals would migrate across the land and eventually adapt to their surroundings, thus losing or gaining certain qualities that would identify it as a new subspecies.

Though largely, almost all of Buffon’s ideas were inevitably disputed and shut down – he contributed much to the field of study and has underscored some of the most important ground work that evolutionary theorists have built off of (Berkley, The History of Evolutionary Thought). There are many other notable contributors to evolutionary theory, yet for the sake of expediency, we will address the more pertinent issues concerning modern evolutionary thought.

In evolutionary theory, there are many approaches that define the main basis for evolutionary thought – yet we will consider three of the main articles in debate currently, the first of which being vestigial organs. Vestigial organs are features that serve no useful function whatsoever within the species. The second issue we will address is biochemical evidence remnant within DNA structures of a species. This plays a rather large role in evolutionary thought due to the complexity of each species, yet the remarkably similar DNA structure they resemble among what would be considered common ancestry. The final issue we will call into question will be fossil records. Again, this ties in with the notion of common ancestry and even greater evidence of the sequence of gradual changes in a given species. In each of these evidences, we will consider the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the counterarguments against them.

Vestigial organs have demonstrated remarkably how species are related to one another, and has given solid ground for the idea of common descent to stand on. From common descent, it is predicted that organisms should retain these vestigial organs as structural remnants of lost functions. It is only because of macro-evolutionary theory, or evolution that takes place over very long periods of time, that these vestiges appear” (Miller, 1).

Vestigial organs have played an important role among scientists both for and against evolutionary theory. Though Darwin received the large amount of public attention for his views on vestigial organs, Jean Baptiste Lamarck proposed this notion through his theory on “change through use and disuse” in 1793 (Berkley, The History of Evolutionary Thought). Lamarck argued that as a species will stretch its limitations further and further, the offspring of said species would continue to adapt and evolve in its abilities.

Furthermore, he argued that as a species no longer uses certain organs or traits, these would inevitably either disappear, or lose their original function. In his proposition, Lamarck noted that flightless birds, though retaining their wings, had no vital function or role for them. In this, they were counted as vestigial organs that supplied no function whatsoever to the bird, yet were retained as a result of previous necessity. Though Lamarck was ostracized from the scientific community before his death because of his views, his ideas did not die with him.

Currently, the vestigial organs are simply regarded in the same notion that Lamarck originally proposed, and Darwin built off of; they are organs that once served a function in our common evolutionary ancestry, though currently, they provide no real reason for known existence. In humans alone, such things as the appendix, wisdom teeth, the coccyx (tailbone), Goosebumps, Darwin’s point, and the Vomeronasal organ are listed as vestigial organs. The problem with much of the study behind vestigial organs in regard to evolutionary theory is that often, the study stops there.

Once an organ or reaction is deemed to have no function within the body, evolution is often seen as the science stopper that proves the lack of functionality. Creationists and proponents of intelligent design do not disavow the evidence showing an organ to be vestigial, rather, they refute that these are as a result from the evolutionary process (DeWitt, Vestigial Organs). Furthermore, in evolutionary theory, is it assumed that these vestigial organs are a result of the evolutionary process, rather than scientifically revealed; in other words, the presupposition of evolution must be made to account for the lack of functionality within vestigial organs. The major split within this realm of thought between evolutionists and creationists would seem to be in terminology and semantics, which indeed, does make all the difference in the interpretation of evidence.

In the process of adaptation, an organism will undergo what is called microevolution. In this, gene mutation, or gene loss, takes place and the species or organism in question undergoes a process of change to adapt to its surrounding environment and needs. This differs greatly from macroevolution, which is the process we can put flesh to in respect to the origin of man (ape to man). The evolutionist would argue that vestigial organs (and the respective evidence shown in biological change and fossil records) indicate change into a new subspecies. This would be attributed mainly to differences in common ancestry, such as the link between man and ape. However, creationists would propose that this is evidence of simple microevolution (i.e. small change over a small amount of time) rather than macroevolution. This process is shown evidently in the retention of these organisms, yet the loss of their respective function. For this simple reason, the terminology used can greatly affect the presupposition behind it.

As DeWitt notes in his article, “At best, evidence of vestigial organs in man demonstrates deterioration and loss of information since the Fall. They are evolutionary relics of common ancestors with animals only if you begin with evolutionary presuppositions.”

However, another great mass of influence to evolutionary theory is built upon biochemical evidence, that is, the structural basis of a species’ DNA and how it correlates to corresponding species’ and common ancestors. The surge of thought from Darwin and the like has produced voluminous works completely devoted to this study, and inherently, it is developed systematically in organizing DNA structures that are most similar. For example, in Darwin’s studies, he devotes considerable time to expounding upon the structural relations between differing species of finches in the Galapagos, zebras in Africa, honeycreepers in Hawaii, and other species as well. Darwin noted that despite their differences in climate choices, food sources, or geographical conditions, these species all spawned from the same common ancestor.

“Why should ‘closely allied’ species inhabit neighboring patches of habitat? And why should similar habitat on different continents be occupied by species that aren’t so closely allied? ‘We see in these facts some deep organic bond, prevailing throughout space and time,’ Darwin wrote. ‘This bond, on my theory, is simply inheritance.’ Similar species occur nearby in space because they have descended from common ancestors” (Quammen, Nat. Geo. Online Extra Nov. 2004).

Another vital argument based from biochemical evidence is the notion of gene mutation that shows the proposal for biochemical advancement. Most notably, evolutionary theory proposes this on the basis of species change; one particular example we will use again will be the evolutionary process from ape to man. In this, through both migration and simple bio molecular mutation, the species changed from one to the next. The common ancestor is a primitive ape-like species, yet the organic representation of that change is man. However, most evidence shown from this species change is not shown to be literal macroevolution of the given species, but microevolution. Other evidences of this simple adaptation of the species has been shown in moths in Eastern Europe that lost certain genetic traits to better camouflage with their changing environment.

The simple, yet profound flaw in identifying the adaptation as an evolutionary process is that this concept involves one of change outside of a given family of a species rather than that particular family. In respect to this, one could argue that dogs evolved from another distinctly differing mammal. The major issue with this is that though we share the same chemical breakdown as an ape and have remarkably similar genetics as them, they are still distinct. The DNA found in humans, the amount of chromosomes, and the genetic adaptations are all still different than that of apes. One may validly argue for the adaptation of a species, such as the genome differences found in Europeans when compared to Africans in the ability to process milk, yet this doesn’t necessarily indicate a change of species.

Converse to evolution, one can argue that through dietary restrictions, climate changes, and geographical conditions, the species has simply adapted, rather than form a distinctly new species of human. Scientists would agree with this sentiment, yet still indicate that the larger change over time, i.e. the distinct ramifications of diet, climate, and geography, led to a large-scale change rather than a minor genetic difference. Yet in this same token, the adaptation of a given species is seen to be the footprint to the evolutionary process. Inherently, the flaw comes in assuming that since the genetic composition is made from the same fundamental elements to sustain life, the cell structure and function of mammals to other mammals (and plant life, arthropods, & etc. respectively), and the general composition of chromosomes, life itself is based from a single, common ancestry.

The overarching argument against this is that each individual organism, even a single celled organism, is so remarkably complex and different in nature, function, and genetic makeup, that it seems irrational to assume that they are based from a common ancestor. Furthermore, the rationality that life as we know it formed from a chaotic series of evolutionary processes just doesn’t add up, as we will see now in the fossil evidence.

Darwin originally proposed that fossil records show a gradual process of evolution of a given species – and due to this, further resulting paleontology should reveal this same process between other, intermediary steps in the evolution of any given species. In some distinct cases, there have been documented fossil records displaying the “evolutionary process” of one species into another. Yet in retrospect to the evidence, there are two huge problems in respect to the fossil record.

It must be noted that this argument is often dismissed through two lines of reasoning: 1) the lack of a complete fossil record and 2) the problems inherent in identifying what is transitional. However, this does not diminish the problem, as some evolutionists suppose, since the types of changes evolution requires to give rise to the various animal kinds over millions of years would be expected to provide ample examples in virtually every layer of the geologic record. This is not the case” (Unknown, Answers in Genesis).

It would seem that corollary evidence shown in the fossil records is at best, inadequate to create a dogmatic approach to the sciences. Many times, the fossils found by paleontologists are incomplete skeletal systems and cannot represent a distinct change in the species if found in this manner. Even down on a cellular level, fossil records will only bear so much evidence for the simple reason of the given species being extinct, the adaptation of the species, or it being an unrefined specimen. Further evidence of the vast incompleteness of the fossil record we do have, is contained within the beginning of the Cambrian Period, when many separate organisms appeared without clear precursors (Meyer,

The remarkable nature of this sudden burst of new species doesn’t necessarily hint toward creation without the preconceived notion, yet it certainly doesn’t support an evolutionary stance either. The problem with having an incomplete fossil record and proposing evolutionary evidence off of it is that there is a great lack of intermediary steps of these species-to-species evolutions. If one species were to develop into another completely different species (let’s entertain the notion of a single celled organism into a multicellular based sea dwelling creature) there ought to be at least partial representations of this somewhere. While debate has circulated in this issue as well, it largely still remains a major point of contention for people on either side.

Another large problem with the fossil record is found distinctly in how we find fossils. Often, fossils are not found in the singularly defined sedimentary levels as broken down per period, but in two to three differing periods. In this, the hard evidence would show that this fossil record would not belong in a distinctly differing evolutionary time period. In this, the distinct possibility remains that within a short period of time, each sedimentary level was formed and compacted to produce this fossil record, thus showing it was not necessarily a process over the span of millions of years.

The fossilization process could very well take much less time than is widely proposed (and has even been evidenced by some leading scientists using carbon-14 dating or radiometric dating [though this is also under considerable debate]), and for this reason, could differentiate between distinct time periods in which these evolutionary processes would have occurred.  As to why this would pose such a large problem to the theory of evolution, again, is that the grand species-to-species change advocates a positional process that takes millions of years to happen. In this, if there are found two distinct species in the same sedimentary levels that are believed to be part of the same evolutionary process, and we do not find a complete fossil record indicating the intermediate processes, we can rule this possibility out. Furthermore, if a given fossil is excavated in multiple layers of sediment presumably spanning millions of years, this too can be ruled out.

As Christians, we can safely wrap up our own beliefs in the sufficiency of scripture and it’s revelation to us, yet this does an injustice to the field of science. Ultimately, God is Lord over all things and the author of all true wisdom; He has revealed Himself in all of life and shows this truth to be evident. The matter at hand is not simply one in which we can ignore the sciences and simply discuss the scriptures. To be sure, scripture should always form our first precedent in how we study any field of science. Naturally, we will always be met with opposition in how we approach most things – however; it would damnable if we left it at that. There is an inherent responsibility not only for Christians to take a deeper look at the science behind creation, but unbelieving scientists as well. For each side of this debate, these evidences (among many others) respectively build off of and hinge upon each other. Largely, the reason based approach to each respective stance yields to the other proposed notions they believe the science leads it to.

Some evolutionists will admit the flaws within the theory itself, yet the large consensus in those with a soapbox, ultimately squash this in favor of an approach without the possibility of God, using Occam’s Razor to substantiate this reasoning. Considerable attention needs to be devoted to this field of study by Christians. This debate has been met with vehement outrage or the ignorant embrace of one side or the other since it began. The science is not fully conclusive on either side; though the Christian should know with certitude based from the scriptures that science can be approached rationally.

Largely, evolution is meeting criticism for its weaknesses – and though intelligent design meets its fair share of flak for its own, general science is being forced to grow. As intellectual beings, we must decide whether or not we will give due study where it needs to be afforded – or if we will remain painfully ignorant and unbalanced in our apologetics and understanding of God, or respectively, our understanding of science. Furthermore, if the quest is for the truth (here we recognize the term “truth” not in a subjective, relativistic sense – but in an objective, qualitative and substantive truth from the lens of scripture), how could one be construed as prudent if the individual does not devote time to develop a rationalized and informed approach to such a growing issue?

For the one claiming to be Christian, one cannot hold to a literal rendering of Genesis in order to defend evolution – yet it should also be noted that theistic evolution is generally seen as an equally laughable notion to the scientific community as creationism. Evolution is a completely unassisted, naturalistic process. Remember the reference above to Occam’s Razor? In favor of a complex philosophical issue, such as the existence of God, adherents accommodate through utilizing the simplest answer: there is no God.

In the scriptures, readers don’t necessarily find the prescription to treat this text so freely. In other words, persons reading the text don’t assume literary command over narrative style as they would with prose or proverbial texts. If one takes these same literary rules and apply them to narrative, they will quickly find that the rules do not appropriately engage the text. Narrative is simply meant to employ the task of story telling; thus, the story is either true and in accordance to how an omnipotent God created the earth, or it is a fable meant to employ concepts of His nature. But if this is true – can narrative exposing His attributes be representing of His true nature – or are such things subjective to interpretation? In more clear language, does this positional narrative develop and reveal actual characteristics of God, or simply ascribe to Him something similar to what He is like?

To what end though do we apply this rule within the stylistic boundaries of literature to scripture? Are all points of narrative simply meant to engender patriarchal sentiments for God, though they don’t account for what literally took place in time and space? Do we account for most of the Old Testament narrative in this same manner (i.e. Jonah, Noah, Job, or any of the incredibly long life spans found in Genesis)? Are the synoptic gospels and the book of Acts in this same rule? Can we dismiss the healings and miracles of Christ and the Apostles? Do we dismiss demonology? Can we dismiss Christ’s death on the cross (as the Gnostics did), His deity (as Arius did), or his bodily resurrection or ascension?

Surely, these are seen as more problematic doctrines to deny for the Christian, but it must be asked: to what end do we decide what to do with biblical narrative? Can one legitimately substantiate dealing with one piece of narrative in a loose manner without presupposing the remaining articles of narrative to that same framework – and if so, what is the criteria?

There are more substantial things at risk here then simply the origin of man. For example, one could easily adopt the view that Adam was not the first man, but a figurative representation of man; therefore, the sin imputed to man because of him would not necessarily be literal, but metaphorical, representing a figurative fall of man. While the slippery-slope argument is not necessarily the most winsome, it is used on either side of this debate. Interpretation of the scriptures, and specifically in this case, the data, makes a radical difference. We find in either case a presupposition based ideologically within the convictions of those divided on this topic. Though the aim is to be objective, this does not necessarily take place.

A further understanding of God’s character should yield a greater sense of awe of His divine attributes, His raw power, and His ability to create and sustain. Yet a further understanding of how He has exercised His attributes, demonstrated that power, and how He has wrought the cosmos and all within it – and sustains it, should respectively increase our awe and reverence toward Him. Surely, science is an organism that continues to evolve. It is only when one remains stagnant and willfully unlearned (especially in regard to the scriptures) that they fail to grow in respect to salvation and glorify the Lord.


Satanist Monument in Oklahoma and the Church

I always find articles like these to be incredibly interesting. On a political basis, they are absolutely correct in showing no partiality among religions, as we technically aren’t a theocratic country. Though this may show contradiction to God’s higher judgment, it shouldn’t surprise us that this isn’t a concern to those who aren’t in Christ.

None of these things should shock us or cause us to waiver in our allegiance to the faith. Generally speaking, through church history we see a pattern emerge:

  • The true church is persecuted
  • The gospel flourishes and vast numbers come to genuine faith
  • The church cries out against this persecution
  • The state softens and even embraces the church
  • The church becomes dominant in a theocratic way
  • The culture cries out for tolerance of belief
  • The church softens and even embraces culture
  • The culture becomes dominant in a theocratic way
  • The true church cries out for tolerance of belief
  • The true church is persecuted

While we are not currently in a country that allows persecution to the point of death, look to the global church. Our nation doesn’t exactly stick up for the martyred or persecuted, and they are mocked and scorned by all for their stupidity. But it isn’t a matter of having a recognized Christendom in politics; that’s the church’s job, in and through whatever political system they may find themselves.

The question posed to the Christian is not whether this is an affront to God, nor if it is something that provokes His wrath. The question is not whether we will be able to change the nation politically. That doesn’t matter. Not in the grand scheme of things. Generally, unbelievers will always push back and Christians will always fight for God to be honored in the political system. But even in a theocratic society where one religion becomes the law, this hardly does anything to cause effectual, genuine salvation in a nation.

We aren’t aiming to cause the nation to be a “Christian” nation within moral standards that adhere to scripture. We are aiming at a more radical notion for the whole of humanity: belief in Christ as Savior and submission to Him as Lord. Wherever the church is present, the message remains the same: “…Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

We don’t have a realized eschatology, meaning, we are presently waiting for Christ’s return. He will demolish all political parties in favor of a new heavens and new earth, specifically because His Kingdom is not flawed and open to discussion. The seemingly rhetorical questions posed in 1 Peter 4:17-18 don’t alleviate the condemnation that is coming upon the unbeliever, but they aren’t necessarily devised to show only that point. The context shows that in light of suffering for the sake of the gospel (even unto death), the Christian’s suffering will not compare to that of the unbeliever who hangs by the slender thread of unbelief over the pits of hell.

Instead, in verse 19, Peter reveals that those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue in doing good. In other words, focus on living in obedience to the scriptures, and entrust yourself to the one who has dominion over all creation. Focus on delighting in and honoring the God of all creation standing sovereignly above it, dictating to the stars when they should burn up and perish; ordering the moon when it should draw the tide; causing the rising of the sun and rain to fall on both the just and the unjust.

Focus on growing in all godliness in respect to the salvation you have been so graciously given, and growing in all wisdom by the very same Word which ordered the cosmos. Focus on fulfilling the Great Commission, that we might see the ends of the earth having the gospel preached, and the ushering in of His glorious return. Focus on these things, and persevere in the faith so that you might be given a crown of righteousness, only to cast that crown to the ground as you prostrate yourself before Him in the new heavens, singing forth praises that are not tainted with sin and corruption. Run the race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith, my brethren, so that your efforts are not in vain and that you might be awarded on that day, along with all who have loved His appearing.