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Are We Hard-Wired for Works Theology?

John on September 8, 2006 at 11:39 pm

ABC reports a new study showing that cleanliness really is next to Godliness:

Scientists have finally put that concept to the test and have found that physical and moral purity are indeed psychologically intertwined — and sometimes even interchangeable.

This bit in particular I found interesting:

Bad deeds made students feel dirty, but researchers found that the reverse was also true.

Feeling dirty made students feel bad.

Students who felt physically dirty were more likely to help another student in need.

It was as if they were trying to behave morally in an effort to get physically clean, the researchers said.

Read the whole thing. It’s not too hard to read into this study a suggestion that we are in some way hard-wired for works based morality. Assuming for the moment that this study is accurate, I find it very — what’s the word here — very telling that the core of the Christian faith turns out to be so contrary to man’s own nature. Sort of suggests to the honest observer that it wasn’t man’s idea.

Anyone who has read the Gospels will recognize that Jesus was always at odds with pratitioners of work-based theology. His was a message of grace, God’s undeserved favor offered to all men. Faith in Christ is the only route to this grace. In essence it means trusting God to remove the stains that we can not wash out. It is doing the opposite, as this study suggests, of what comes natural.

Finally, I can’t help but think about Jesus command to baptize all new believers. If this study is true, baptism would be more than just a symbol, it would in fact be a deeply personal way of understanding a spiritual truth. From my perspective of faith, I don’t think that was a coincidence.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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