Last summer, I was sitting by the pool with a friend I will call Scott. We were at a wedding in Dallas and were staying at the Crescent Hotel on the same floor with the Phoenix Suns. We spent most of our time at the pool, which had nothing to do with the fact that Steve Nash’s wife also spent most of her time there in a bikini. Fortunately, though, our conversation did eventually center on issues of personal morality and ethics.
Scott told me he had raised his kids in the church and believed in God although he had not been to church regularly in a number of years. He said he felt no guilt over his absence from church. After all, it was a weekend business that kept him from attending. And, besides that, he said he was leading a “moral life” without going to church.
Immediately, I asked myself the crucial question: “How does one know he lives a moral life if he does not ever attend church?” I also thought about some other people I had known who thought their lives were moral either without church or without God altogether.
One was an atheist I dated in college when I was also an atheist. When asked about God she would frankly tell people “I don’t believe in all that s**t. But if there is a God, I will be saved because of my willingness to help others in need.” To her credit, she did help others in need. In fact, she gave her friend $400 when she became pregnant unexpectedly and “needed” an abortion.
Interestingly, my atheist girlfriend claimed to have been a victim of moral wrongdoing when her friend refused to pay her back after the abortion. It would be years later – after I converted to Christianity – that I realized why her friend never paid her back. She was doing everything she could to forget about the abortion. And she resented my girlfriend for funding the biggest mistake of her life.
From time to time, I also think of one of my former colleagues at UNC-Wilmington. Shortly after I overcame atheism and joined a church I asked her what her religious affiliation was. She said “I’m not anything.” She added that she lived her life according to the principle of helping others.
Like my former girlfriend, she was staunchly pro-choice. She was also a big advocate for gay rights. She was involved extensively in helping young people “come to terms” with their sexuality. She even believed that minors should be allowed to have sex changes if that is what they wanted.