Can We Have Justice without Jesus?

2 Reasons We Wouldn’t Want Justice without Jesus

The real question is whether or not we would want justice without Jesus. And there are two reasons why the answer to that question should be no. The first is that if we look at the history of thought, we'll find that our basic assumptions about what justice even means have come to us from Jesus's teaching.

Confronting Jesus

Rebecca McLaughlin

In this follow-up to Confronting Christianity, Rebecca McLaughlin shares important biblical context to help all readers explore who Jesus really is and understand why the Gospels should be taken seriously as historical documents.

So the assumptions that we and our atheist or agnostic friends might share—for example, that all human beings are equally morally valuable, that men and women are morally equal, that the strong and the rich and the powerful shouldn't trample on the oppressed and the poor and the weak and the marginalized—these things have come to us from Christianity. Without Jesus's teaching, our standards of justice would be entirely different. We wouldn't even know what justice is.

But there's a second reason why we wouldn't want justice without Jesus, because were it not for Jesus's death in our place, justice for us would be the horrifying prospect of eternal death and God's judgment against us. So I, for one, wouldn't want justice without Jesus.

Rebecca McLaughlin is the author of Confronting Jesus: 9 Encounters with the Hero of the Gospels.

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