Scientists Discover Godliness Works
Many secular researchers deny God, but sometimes have to admit his principles fit human behavior.
Free will liberated: One prerequisite for moral behavior is freedom to choose. The Bible assumes people are responsible for their actions because they can choose good or evil; Joshua called out, “Choose you this day whom you will serve… As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Moses cried out, “Choose life” over against the judgments that would come from disobedience (Deuteronomy 30:19). Jesus told his disciples to proclaim, “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Indeed, all the admonitions of Scripture would be meaningless if people had no power to choose. Some previous psychology tests had supposedly disproved free will by showing actions preceded thoughts. According to Medical Xpress, experiments by psychologists in Berlin showed otherwise. Theologians’ ears may perk up at the last sentence here:
“A person’s decisions are not at the mercy of unconscious and early brain waves. They are able to actively intervene in the decision-making process and interrupt a movement,” says Prof. Haynes. “Previously people have used the preparatory brain signals to argue against free will. Our study now shows that the freedom is much less limited than previously thought. However, there is a ‘point of no return’ in the decision-making process, after which cancellation of movement is no longer possible.”
The God’s-eye view: The psychologists who wrote a paper in PNAS were probably not intending to turn people to God’s word, but the title of their paper reveals what their interviews with real people found: “Thinking from God’s perspective decreases biased valuation of the life of a nonbeliever.” This was true, they found, regardless of the religion of the participant. Even people filled with hate would moderate their feelings when asked to think from God’s perspective. “We find that although Muslim Palestinian participants valued Palestinian over Jewish Israeli lives when making difficult moral choices, they believed that Allah preferred them to make moral decisions that valued the lives of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis more equally,” the summary says. “Beliefs about God may promote more equal valuation of human life regardless of religious identity, encouraging application of universal moral rules to believers and nonbelievers alike.” They seem to be claiming that even atheists live better when imagining would God would think.
Moral indignation: Surprisingly, PhysOrg announced that “Moral anger is a force for good at work.” Millennia ago, King David said, “Be angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your anger” (Psalm 4:4). This indicates that one can be angry without sinning. A management expert from the University of Liverpool says, “In seeking to supress [sic] or eradicate anger all together, employers are missing out on the emotion’s ‘more socially-functional, adaptive and fairness-enhancing components.'” He wasn’t talking about selfish or immoral anger. “Allowing morally-motivated anger to be expressed can serve as a tool of organisational diagnosis to better our individual and collective behaviours.”
Holy health: It makes sense that a righteous Creator would make purposeful behavior the best option for his creatures. Science Daily says, “Sense of purpose in life linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular risk.” They’re not speaking of just any purpose (like purposing to kill others), but a purpose exhibiting “positive psychosocial factors,” presumably cooperation, love, and constructive involvement with others. My, where have all the investigators been on this intuitive idea?
“Of note, having a strong sense of life purpose has long been postulated to be an important dimension of life, providing people with a sense of vitality motivation and resilience,” Dr. Rozanski comments. “Nevertheless, the medical implications of living with a high or low sense of life purpose have only recently caught the attention of investigators. The current findings are important because they may open up new potential interventions for helping people to promote their health and sense of well-being.”
Healthy giving: “Can charitable giving improve your health?” PhysOrg asks. Answer: yes, of course. Research shows it relieves stress, improves the immune system, and is likely to prevent “health-related problems including high blood pressure, cancer, heart attack, and obesity.” More givers than non-givers reported being in excellent health. But doing it for those reasons is not really charity, which is focused on the well-being of others. This implies that altruism is something innate in human nature, a perennial puzzle for Darwinians to explain (2/08/15).
Holy voting: Atheists will not like this one, but findings are findings. Science Daily announces, “We trust in those who believe in God, study finds: Voters view religious candidates favorably, atheists not likely to win votes.” Researchers found that Democrats often have to feign religiousness to avoid scaring voters away. They noted there is only one openly atheist Congressman.
“Our findings suggest that not demonstrating religiousness is a significant roadblock for winning public office in the United States, and being perceived as religious increases the level of trust instilled in politicians by voters,” Clifford said. “For Republicans (showing religiousness) will reinforce their existing support, but Democrats can expand appeal to moderates and conservatives with displays of religiousness.“
As everyone knows, politicians can be experts at pretense, and will often pander to whatever group they are speaking to. The researchers were not asking if the “religiousness” is genuine. They also failed to distinguish the effects of different religions. In America, most politicians would claim some kind of Christian affiliation, or perhaps Jewish—a Biblical religion that upholds the Ten Commandments at least. By contrast, it’s not hard to imagine the negative effects on an audience if a politician proclaimed allegiance to Islamic jihad or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Is morality defined by the community? Another article on Science Daily claims that religious decline does not equal moral decline. Yet the researcher claiming this, Dr. Ingrid Storm, sets down her own moral standards: (1) It’s morally good to buck tradition and support abortion and homosexuality, and (2) It’s morality bad to break the law, hurt others or act in a self-interested way. By what authority does she judge these things? Anyone could play that game and produce their own findings. “To be effective, religious norms need to be validated by a moral community of other religious friends and family and social and political institutions,” she says. That’s moral relativism, judged by the shifting winds of majority opinion.
Millennium fall con: PhysOrg purports to tell its readers “Why millennials are leaving religion but embracing spirituality.” According to this article, “leaving religion” means leaving church; that’s an empirical fact, especially in Europe where church attendance is pathetically low. Hear, for instance, Albert Mohler discuss the implosion of the Anglican church in its home country, where the bishops steadfastly refuse to consider the lead of the only branch that is growing: the Evangelicals, who continue to preach the authority of Scripture. But back to this article. It lets an academic expert jawbone about the reasons for the trend. One takeaway line: “Spirituality is what consumer capitalism does to religion.” If consumer religion is what millennials are after, they have not meditated on Isaiah 66:1-2:
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.”
Academia and Big Science are so thoroughly impregnated with secular Darwinian thinking, it’s hard to trust anything they say about “religion” and “morality.” It’s none of their business, anyway. Humans are not lab rats. But some things are so plainly obvious, they would have to deny their senses to disbelieve them. One is that belief in God promotes healthy societies and healthy individuals. Another is that humans have innate yearnings for God and meaning in life.
Darwinian secularism cannot fill the void in man’s soul. Only Jesus Christ can. He is the Creator, Redeemer, and Great Physician. Knowing our nature intimately, he can give that purpose in life that mends hearts and minds. Stop trusting in mortals who don’t know what they’re talking about because they do not tremble at the Creator’s word. Read the Operator’s Manual given by the Creator himself. At the very least, follow the observable evidence where it leads—from nature’s intricate complexity, to the patently good fruits of righteousness, to the tuggings of your own conscience. The trail signs lead to Christ.