religion necessary to live a virtuous life?"
Moral excellence and righteousness
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power…
answer is a tentative no. I think atheists can exhibit moral excellence,
but of course there is the question of how is one measuring their character
- excellent according to whose standards? There is only one standard
that matters, and that's God's.
Jesus' example of the rich young ruler. That was an example of someone living
a virtuous life. But Jesus was able to suggest something to him which resulted
in the man's true lack of selflessness being exposed. Perhaps the young
man was very, very virtuous, but he wasn't perfectly virtuous. He was not
up to God's standards. Don't misunderstand, virtue is commendable, it just
isn't reliable; that is, don't rely on merely a high degree of virtue to
get you into heaven. Our personal standards don't mix well with God
speaking, if you take a pure substance "A" and mix with it any other substance
"non-A", then your resulting mix is no longer pure. Concerning God and us,
God is pure, and we can be very virtuous; but we cannot be perfectly virtuous,
we cannot be perfectly pure. Therefore we cannot be allowed to contaminate
God's presence if he is to remain pure. Unless and until our impurity
is dealt with, we will not be compatible to join God in heaven.
you're living a virtuous life, that does the rest of us much good, really;
but come the judgment it won't be enough to do you sufficient good as to
make Jesus say "You didn't need me." Your virtuous life might make me comfortable
as a citizen of this world; but believing myself to also be a citizen of
the next, I can tell you your virtue won't accomplish for you all that you
expect. If this describes you, may you someday take hold of the inheritance
of virtue and righteousness that is in Christ.
Malice toward none and charity for
What is religion?