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Why be good?

Thought for the Day on Radio 4 suddenly grabbed my attention this morning. The guy was arguing very convincingly that spontaneous acts of kindness towards people miles away in Nepal suffering the consequences of the earthquake had no explanation in evolutionary biology.

One by one he demolished the various arguments that have been put forward such as personal or social benefit or protection of the race or species.

But then sadly and to my complete surprise he then demolished his own argument in the last couple of sentences by saying that we don’t need a God to explain this. We should keep overcoming our biological instincts and do good things. Apparently he agrees with Richard Dawkins on this.

Err… why?

Why do we need to be good?

Why do we need to encourage acts of altruism that have no evolutionary benefit?

For most of us, these people in Nepal are not our family, they are not our race, they are not a threat or likely to bring us any benefit – yet we want to help them and we ought to help them.

God has put in our hearts that sense of ought. We really should love our neighbour because that’s what God wants – and our hearts know it.

Thank God that the selfish gene will not have the last word. The selfless sacrificial spontaneously loving Son of God gave himself for me. Not for evolutionary advantage. Not because I deserved it. Just because he chose to, and through it he showed that his self-sacrificing love is the only model worth following.

Please Lord show us why we need to be good, and show us how to be good.

See if you can donate to the various agencies seeking to bring relief – it’s what Jesus would want us to do.

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