A Look at Jonathan Isaac and why some don’t see any connection between his faith and public life

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.


In case you don’t keep up with current events, most recently, a basketball player for the Orlando Magic named Jonathan Issac created a firestorm in the media for not taking a knee as well as not wearing a Black Lives Matter t shirt. Naturally, in a press conference afterwards, Isaac’s explained why he did this. You can see it here.

Sadly, in response to Isaacs, a journalist for yahoo news wrote an article that said the following:

” Stating “we all fall short of God’s glory,” which in essence states no human is perfect, is true but again, there are levels to this.

What if it were taken further? If someone asked him what did the gospel have to do with a killing on video, a man having his neck being kneeled on for eight minutes, 46 seconds, or a woman being shot multiple times on a no-knock warrant? 

He was given grace in that setting that his words didn’t deserve. Using religion to avoid an intellectual conversation, a practical one or even common sense is an area nobody should have time or room for. There should be no “other side” to racism, no “other side” to police brutality given the obvious examples we’ve seen over the last several years.

He’s 22, so there should be space for grace and growth, should he seek it. It’s not necessarily a youthful indiscretion, like using illegal drugs or being caught driving while intoxicated, but it is a learning moment because his line of thinking is dangerous.”

Why does our culture sees religion as a compartment in one’s life and not something as part of an intellectual discussion?

Sadly, the journalist doesn’t see any relationship between the Gospel and how our worldview answers the big questions of life. Perhaps he views our faith as a private, or personal belief that has no bearing on the issues of public life. In my opinion, we need to present how the Gospels is more than a relationship with him. Yes, our faith is a relationship with God though his Son, the Messiah. But our faith is a gateway to all of reality. Thus, or faith can’t be separated from our worldview. All of the following worldview questions play a huge role in how we view justice, equality, human rights, etc.

Some of the fundamental questions that make up a worldview are the following:

• Origins: How did it all begin? Where did we come from?
• Fall: What went wrong? What is the source of evil and suffering?
• Redemption: What can we do about it? How can the world be set right again?
• Morality: What is the basis for morality? In other words, how do we know what is right and wrong?
• History: What is the meaning of history? Where is history going?
• Death: What happens to a person at death?
• Epistemology: Why is it possible to know anything at all?
• Ontology: What is reality? What is the nature of the external reality around us?
• Purpose: What is man’s purpose in the world? (3)

In addition to these primary questions, there are three major narratives :

  1. Identity: You have to be true to yourself.
  2. Freedom: I should be free to live any way I want as long as I’m not harming anyone else.
  3. Happiness: You’ve got to do what makes you happy in the end. Morality: No one has the right to tell anyone else what is  right or wrong for him or her.

Let’s look at some worldview questions and provide some comparisons here:

  1. Origins
    1. Are we simply further evolved animals that came about through the interplay of matter, time, and chance?
    2. Are we created in the image and likeness of a personal God?
  2. What is the nature of humanity?
    1. Is humanity a highly complex meat machine, or a person made in the image of God?
    2. Are we created in the image and likeness of a personal God?
  3. Morality
    1. What’s wrong with the human condition?
    2. Is God the foundation of moral values and moral duties, or do humans/society create their own moral values and moral duties?
  4. Purpose
    1. Is there any objective meaning and purpose in life, or are we simply random creatures in a purposeless, meaningless universe?
    2. Do we create our own purpose and meaning?
  5. Identity/What Defines Us
    1. Being an Image Bearer of God?
    2. What I own? Where I live? My career? My sexuality? My political position?
  6. Destiny 
    1.What is our end? The Greek word ‘telos’ carries connotations of purpose, end, goal, and destination.2. Personal extinction, transformation to a higher state, reincarnation, or resurrection?
  7. History: Does history have a beginning and an end?
    1.Does history begin with God’s creation of the world and end with the return of Jesus?
    2. Is history headed in a specific direction?

Why do humans matter? 

These worldview issues are all related to the issue of social justice. But back to the issue of fighting for humans.  Why humans matter so much if all of reality is reducible to matter, chance, and the laws of nature? Biological reductionism, metaphysical materialism, and psychological behaviorism say that impersonal, physical, and valueless processes cause valuable, rights-bearing persons to be.

Humans, therefore, can assign value to fellow humans by sheer choice. However, this assignment of value to human life is subjective, not objective. Assigning value to people based on personal choice leads us to ask, “What if someone doesn’t think a group of people are valuable?” Rights, it seems, are linked to personhood. The Bible, for example, says that humans are made in the likeness and image of God, and that they are therefore intrinsically valuable. Rights come by virtue of who human beings are by nature, as opposed to function, productivity, or ‘usefulness. One thing is for sure: the concern over such a topic demonstrates that people live as if they care about justice, equality, and human rights. But to atheist and skeptics, why do humans matter so much and why would they be outraged over all the mistreatment of their fellow humans? Why fight so hard for humans?

In the end, while I think Issac’s did a fine job in explaining the significance of the Gospel, I do think we have plenty of work to do in showing why our faith does speak to the intellectual conversation about the current racial divide.

Comments are closed.