On the heels of the release of a new Pew Research Center poll that found more than half of Americans — 56 percent — now believe it’s not necessary “to believe in God to be moral and have good values,” two pastors debated the biblical issue on a recent episode of Fox News’ “Spirited Debate.”
Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, was the first to dive into his perspective on whether a person can truly be “good without God,” arguing that true “goodness” is predicated upon the Almighty.
“How do you gauge good? You gauge good by morality. If there’s a good, there’s an evil,” he said. “You have to have God in the equation to properly define good.”
While Idleman said he believes it’s possible to do good deeds without God, he said “you can’t divorce what actually is good from God when we look at the biblical defintion of ‘good.'” He also added that he believes American culture is drifting further from God.
“From a biblical perspective … I don’t think we’re inherently good,” he said. “I think we’re inherently predispositioned to evil, sin.”
But Pastor Stan Mitchell of GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee — the church where country star Carrie Underwood once attended — had a totally different view on the matter.
“I think, biblically, people are created in the image of God, and whatever your theology is concerning a fall or depravity, I think those are only layers on an inherent goodness. So, from a more progressive Christian position I believe in inherent union with God,” Mitchell said, though believes there is a moral, objective truth. “I don’t think people are ever good without God, because people are always with God, created in God’s image.”
Watch the debate unfold below: