When religion becomes the cause of corruption
Religion traditionally has been one of the sources of conscience for culture, a cure for the problem of sin and a guide to the soul. But when religion is complicit in its allegiance to fiscal and political factions that treasure its authority but ignore its moral obligations, religion fails in its role as a protectorate for our souls . A faith that lends itself to sins of power becomes part of the problem or even worse, a possible cause.
To avoid this corruption in faith or purpose, we turn to Galatians 6 for guidance: “And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Galatians 6 reads like a manifesto of liberal faith, encouraging us to invest in the spirit as well as good works, and to avoid political or selfish aims. We must remember that the ultimate message of Christian faith is expressed through compassion for others, humility, charity and an abiding belief in the principle of equal souls as manifested in the grace of God.
It can be difficult to sustain these principles in the face of political competition and business where the harsh reality of bottom line ethics is known to override the best intentions of the faithful. Yet Galatians 6 maintains that human beings should do good works and that Christian principles can be applied to business. Through this example will other people be drawn to the merits of faith, one affirms and welcomes all into to the “household” of grace appreciated.
This blog entry by Christopher Cudworth is an excerpt from the book The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age published in 2007. The book in an edited version by the title Sustainable Faith will be re-issued in 2015.