Strange Bedfellows—Social Justice and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

protest sign reading We Demand Climate Justice

How could any nice person oppose social justice? Folks oppose social justice when it either (1) attaches judgment to common sense or (2) opposes their own best interest. Which means, it’s either demonstrably wrong or considered an opinion that offends our sense of self.

Social justice is also a deceptively pleasant phrase concocted by the Enemy to gaslight Christians to inspire doubt about God’s omnipotence and omnipresence.

Did God actually say...?

Moral Therapeutic Deism — the path to nice

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) describes an apostate offshoot of Christianity that preaches the Gospel of Nice. According to MTD, the fruits of sanctification are perfectly nice people.

Kenda Creasy Dean’s 2010 book, Almost Christian, introduced me to MTD. Dean gives credit to an earlier work in her Amazon book description,

“In Soul Searching, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton found that American teenagers have embraced a “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” a hodgepodge of banal, self serving, feel good beliefs that bears little resemblance to traditional Christianity.”

How can you know if you’re nice?

Nice has no actionable definition

NICE isn’t a thing, like kindness, because it doesn’t describe any particular behavior or purpose. A polysemous word, nice has multiple, conflicting definitions.

From the Latin word nescius (ignorant), nice can mean:

  • Pleasant or unpleasant.
  • Virtuous or lewd.
  • Modest or indecent.

Just be nice” is as meaningless as, “Just be abstract” or “Just be pineapple.”

Justice and Truth are 100% defined by God, not by social agreement. If that doesn’t work for you, cool. But it seems to place you in the camp that tells Jehovah God to stifle himself.

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Social Justice is as useless as the gospel of Nice

A 2023 Yeshiva University review notes climate change as first on most lists of pressing social justice concerns.

Was Jesus born of a virgin? Did He die on a Roman cross and then take up His life again three days later?

Is man-made climate change negatively affecting the world?

The answer to these questions depends on what you believe to be true. Religions disagree on who Jesus is and whether His story holds water.

Scientists disagree on whether climate change is a bad thing and whether man has the power to materially affect it.

Let’s remember that no one knows what they don’t know and that the willingness to engage others with goodwill is in desperately short supply.

Climate change is both scriptural and objectively observable. Before people had any cumulative power whatsoever, deserts displaced oceans.

Before man identified the first element, there was an ice age and then there wasn’t. There were times of bountiful harvest, famine, then a return to bounty.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

God created climate. It’s been changing since dry land first appeared in Genesis 1. However, unlike climate itself, the social justice mania concerning climate change is neither scriptural nor settled science.

But it may be an emerging global religion. 


Nice isn’t in the Bible

Major Bible translations never mention nice at all, but include 200 +/- references to kind or kindness (or lovingkindness.) No matter what scale you use, 200–0 is a blowout.

Since nice is useless, consider instead what it means to be kind.

What is desired in a man is kindness.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

God’s justice is eternal

God’s justice applies to every person, era, society, and culture. Mankind’s justice is self-serving and relative when it veers from God’s word.

Social justice must be God’s justice. And, since God hasn’t ceded control over climate change to mankind, we can stop obsessing. Being kind to God’s creatures and the planet He expects us to steward is important, but we don’t have to power to disturb His plan or power.

And nice is just silly.

Let’s strive for kindness. If we get that right and let God be God, social justice will take care of itself.

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

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Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

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