Last week, I ran into a local acquaintance. We worked together about 35 years ago. Nice lady. Somehow the conversation got into the Apocalypse, and she was convinced it was just around the corner. I mentioned how I kind of fell for a book called “The Late Great Planet Earth. I mentioned since the Bible has been set out, various charlatans have laid claim to “the end is near.” And statistically speaking, the current charlatan is likely to be wrong. She didn’t think so, but then she asked me if I believe in Jesus. “Not in the way of most Christians” was my response. “You mean you don’t believe Jesus is the son of God and died on the cross for our sins?”
“That Christian theology did not make sense to me when I was 15 — and it doesn’t make any sense to me now.”
Then she got real preachy on me. I finished the conversation with: “If you want to hear an interesting perspective on Christian theology, I can spend some time with you. But there is not much sense in preaching to me. I’ve heard this all before many times”. As I said: FINISHED CONVERSATION.
If someone is motivated not to steal because he will lose his place in heaven, then all the people around this person benefit from him adjusting his behavior in this way. If someone is motivated not to steal because he understands that society cannot function with constant theft, this a higher level of understanding. If someone is motivated not to steal because he understands how hurtful stealing is to his victims, the understanding becomes even higher.
Regardless, all three understandings help society function better. And most of the people are not stealing, that reinforces the value that stealing is bad.
If we take away that primitive understanding, some of those people will not reach the higher levels. Instead they will see value in stealing — and society will have a lot more theft than we have today. And stealing will become more socially acceptable.
We should not belittle someone who has a primitive understanding of “the rules”. At least that person is going in the right direction.
But to get back to your previous post, most Christian churches are not doing enough to move their people forward. The people want to be told that whatever they are doing, it is alright because they are still going to heaven. Not much personal progress while on this plain of existence, I would say.