Man has a purpose related to his nature as a being created in God's image. The book of Job and Ephesians 3:9 – 11 and 6:12 make our purpose in the struggle between good and evil clear, and show that our conduct is of paramount importance in this struggle. The unique makeup of human beings is defined in terms not of the natural, material body, but in terms of a spiritual body no longer limited by the physical world in which we live.
Hopefully I have grown to the point where I do not want to disappoint my heavenly Father, and I am not living morally just because I do not want to get zapped. Fear only goes so far in motivating people to change their behavior. The fact is that if I commit an immoral act I am doing so in violation of the standard that I have chosen to live by. I have no rationalization I can go through to justify the act I committed. My moral standards do not change, because the biblical standards are very clear and have not changed down through the ages. Humans may try to rationalize away what God has told us, but our conduct and our choices are clearly defined if we really follow the Christian system.
My father was an atheist, and he was a very moral man. I asked my father one time why he was so moral, realizing that he was an atheist and a follower of secular humanism, having studied under John Dewey at Columbia University in getting his Ph.D. He thought about it for a while and finally said “I guess it was the way I was raised.” He was raised by parents who were godly people. In fact, his biological father was a minister. In essence it was his religious indoctrination as a child that caused him to be uncomfortable with the philosophy that he had verbally taken on as an adult. His actual behavior was shaped primarily by his childhood association with God's word. Many atheists live moral lives. Many religious people do not. The question is not whether someone is a good person or a bad person. The question is one of world views, and what we can logically defend as a relevant, working guide to how we live.
Atheism has no such guide. Common sense and study show us the truism of 2 Timothy 3:16 –17 which tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for life.
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