Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Threat of Unbelief

Richard Mouw on Princeton ethicist Paul Ramsey:
One of my favorite stories along those lines was about a time that Ramsey was asked to address a gathering of denominational officials on peacemaking in the nuclear age. Throughout his presentation he regularly referred to the nuclear arms race as “the second biggest threat to the human race.” In the question and answer period that followed, a bishop who was known for his liberal theological views posed the obvious question to Professor Ramsey: “You kept referring to the arms race as the second biggest threat to the human race, but I don’t think I heard you tell us what the first biggest threat is.” “Oh, yes,” Professor Ramsey replied. “The first biggest threat. Well, it is something that you probably don’t know anything about. It is the problem of unbelief!”
Mouw writes:
On many occasions I have joined others in speaking out about peace in the Middle East, global warming, torture, the war in Iraq, and racism–to name some of more obvious topics.

These are important issues to address. Working to promote justice and peace is a high priority for followers of Christ. But as urgent as these issues are for the health of the societies in which we live, we need to be clear about the fact that they are symptoms of a deeper problem–the unbelief that is in turn an expression of a rebellious spirit that permeates all of our lives, including the systemic dimensions of human interaction.

(HT: Lee Irons)