Arthur F. Holmes once wrote, "But what of those who believe no such God exists? Are they then freed from all moral obligation? Indeed not." What is your reaction?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the statement reflects Holmes' fundamental belief that an integration of Christian ethics and spiritual understanding permeates all social interactions and levels.  For Holmes, the power of Christian theology in understanding an ethical construction of the universe is not halted simply by a non-believer or by an individual who refuses to give their assent to the power of the divine.  Holmes actively believed that there can be a successful integration between ethical conduct and Christian identity.  He believed that Christian theology underscores what the very essence of ethical conduct is.  There is an obligation to one another that transcends the individual, ensuring that each individual treats one another as an ends in of themselves as opposed to a means to an end.  When Holmes says, "All truth is God's truth," it is fairly evident that there is an underlying essence to humanity that is absolute, one that does not stop at the denial of an individual.  It is here where Holmes' idea of how "obligation" still exists for any individual involved in a socially collective element is unique.  Holmes does not accept the atomized and withdrawn notion of the individual, seeking instead to broaden horizons and ethical conduct between those of the believer and even the nonbeliever.  Given what happened this past weekend at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, his words about obligation and the person who does not believe seem to have more relevance.