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August 1, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Karma Will Serve Them Right

As human beings, justice as we know it is built around the idea of conditionality. We do something and we expect something in return. We do well, we expect rewards.

We act badly, we expect punishment. If somebody avoids these conditions, we resent them and believe it to be unfair and an injustice—for there is no such thing as a free lunch, right?

I once heard a saying, “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” Now, I admit I eat a lot of meat, but I bet a wild pig in the savannah doesn’t consider whether it is fair that a lion eats it because that fat cat is further up the food chain. Nor do I think the plant meditates about the just or unjust implications when your nose rejects the pollen it is trying to use to reproduce in those schnoz hairs. In fact, justice or a lack of it seems only to be understood by people, our superior intelligence rendering it a distinctly human concept. However, if there is so much manmade injustice in the world—corruption, war crimes, inequality based upon race and sexual orientation and wealth—is there a way in which justice can truly ever be served?

I think there is, and if you give me but five minutes of your precious procrastinating time, I will tell you. I am a new believer in God. No, this is not the time for me to tell you my story on how I got “saved”, nor is it my goal to try to “convert” you. However it is relevant to know I came to know God less than three months ago, previously considering myself to be a strong atheist who held all the questions that would stump theologians and disprove Christianity. Half of the student population may have stopped reading this the moment I confessed to being a Christian, so thank you to those who give my words justice by reading them.

In coming to faith, I was faced with some of the biggest questions humans will ever have to ponder: Was Jesus a real guy who performed miracles? Where is the compelling evidence for that? Will my perception of reality be altered if I do believe? And perhaps most personally threatening, why should all this religion stuff affect me? If I am a rational person who likes to delve into science and history and base my beliefs upon solid facts, why should I give the time of day to something that looks supernatural and irrational? Or why should I have to pick one religion when so many people seem satisfied with taking a bit of every spiritual belief and chucking them together without boxing themselves into a rigid category?

This idea of justice through conditionality (good works = reward/evil works = punishment) is one that sits well with us animals who possess the gift of morality. And that seems to me to be precisely why Christianity causes us such discomfort, such disdain. In reformed Christianity, you or I do not receive worth through the actions we take. Instead, we are justified by believing in the actions Jesus Christ took. This concept within Christianity is important to grasp as it is different from the modern-day, media-hyperbolised view that Christianity is, in essence, corrupt or all about the money or anything else negative that I always assumed in my stance as a media-influenced atheist.

What I am first and foremost hoping you are questioning is this idea of justice in Christianity. If we are living as humans in the prison of conditionality, how does Christianity affect us? In order to answer that, I’m going to give you a word-economical run down of the need-to-knows of Christianity. Here is the essence of it. If you cannot be certain of how the universe and everything came to be (which nobody’s belief can account for 100 per cent accurately, including mine), then you should accept that there is a possibility, however small in your mind, that God created this universe. If He did that entirely unsurpassable action, He is capable of doing anything supernatural, from raising Christ from the dead to creating us in His own image. In believing this, we are said to have been first created perfect and holy like God. In His delight to give us good things, He gave us free will, which we used to satisfy our own selfish pleasures and began to sin. When we sinned first (as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden), we fell from the image of perfection that God had made us in, so we became separated from him and were cast out from the garden.

As our Father, He loves us so much that He gave us a way to get back to Him. Our selfish and fickle hearts meant we wanted to walk in our own glory instead of seeing God for the amazing things He has done. Now, we try to make our own lives satisfied by worldly pleasures. God so loved us that He sent his son Jesus so that we could understand the love of God in the only form we can understand (human form). Jesus was persecuted because we could not stand to see our own glory being nullified by our Creator’s glory. Christ was crucified, and on the cross, He took the burden of our sins. He, in so much love for us, took every bad thing that every human has ever done, and all that sin died with Him. So, the love of God was shown by Him sacrificing His only son so that we could find a way to get back to God’s perfection and sit at His right hand. This is the way to believing in Christ’s finished work for us on the cross. In bearing the full brunt of our horrible trespasses against the only being who unconditionally loves us until the end of time, Jesus becomes the mediator to God’s love and we have a share in that not through our own works, but purely by resting in the faith of what He did for us.

Keeping in mind that this is all the word space I can possibly use for a much larger and more scientifically and historically evidential version of these events, we can now look at justice in God’s light. Now, justice can truly be served because humans’ redeeming qualities do not come from helping old ladies across the street or giving money to churches. If you are an Afghani prostitute who is stuck in a terrible situation in this life, you can trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross to be assured of a place in heaven for eternity through faith in this work alone. This is the ultimate flip from the human prison of conditionality in which we try to earn our worth. This justice is terrifying because it cannot be bought with promises or bribed by tears, and we have to be dependent on someone else’s works. That fearful reliance on Christ can only be a legit, solid standing because He was sent sinless and perfect, and we are fallen from this standard.

As I said earlier, I am not here to convert you. I am writing this so you can make an informed decision to look into something that, if true, is life-changing and freeing beyond any means of worldly satisfaction you have ever tried to obtain! If “fairness” has the means to be achieved beyond that proposed by William Shatner or Lord Denning, I hope you and I can see the way we are so graciously served up a plate of deliciously hot justice. Now that’s something to get your mouth watering

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  1. Guy says:

    Cool article Harriet . Gutsy. Honest. Surprising. Do it again.

  2. Richard says:

    Christianity is a sick and twisted religion and the fact that you can sincerely spout this garbage shows just how good at warping minds and morals it is. How can you possibly believe in a God (Who is supposedly good) that despite possessing the power to do anything chose to redeem humanity of it’s supposed “sins” by sending his own son to earth to be tortured and killed? What kind of twisted omnipotent god chooses human sacrifice as the method from which to redeem humanity of the sins that are his fault anyway, as we are “made in his image”? On another point, on what grounds does Jesus have to take the burden of MY sins? The only people capable of forgiving me for the wrongs I have committed are the people I have wronged.

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