Nyonga Fest & Consequentialism- Part 2
Nyonga fest uses consequentialism to vindicate themselves after a series of backlash. Should Christians oppose it or just put up with it? In our private lives, should we tolerate evil around us for the reason that some good might come out of it? Join me as we dissect consequentialism from a biblical standpoint.
Normative ethics defines consequentialism as “a theory where the morality of an action depends entirely on the outcome of it and not on the conditions, its nature or any other thing that takes place before the action.” Sophocles, a dramatist from ancient Greek, wrote in one of his plays Electra (c 409 B.C ), ‘the end excuses any evil.’ Publius Ovidius Naso, or better known as Ovid, asserts in his work Heroides (c. 10 B.C.), ‘The result justifies the deed’ Heroides (c. 10 B.C.). In other words, it is ok for me to steal, kill, and destroy someone else’s property if the outcome is good.
Niccolò Machiavelli seems to promote this idea from his 16th-century political treatise, The Prince: “Moreover, in the actions of all men, and most of all of Princes, where there is no tribunal to which we can appeal, we look to results. Wherefore if a Prince succeeds in establishing and maintaining his authority, the means will always be judged honourable and be approved by everyone (The Prince, The Harvard Classics, 1909-14.)”
Therefore, the above illustration shows that consequentialism is not a new idea but something that has been firmly embedded in our culture ever since. Consequentialism has dominated the world in every way. Nyonga Fest in Kenya is a good case in point.
BIBLICAL VIEW OF CONSEQUENTIALISM
The Roman church argued that if their unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly (Romans 3:5), they should, therefore, do evil so that good may come out of it (Romans 3:8). Paul responded that they would be judged for every action because God will not show favouritism to the Jews even though by their unfaithfulness, they glorify the faithfulness of God (SCRIPTURE).
Consider some other examples of how the goal or intentions of the end may be positive, but the means to get there are just wrong and evil.
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command (Leviticus 10:1). So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord (Leviticus 10:2). Their end goal was righteous, to worship God by offering a sacrifice to God, but the means to achieve this goal was evil.
King Saul fell into the same trap. Before going to war, Samuel was to offer a sacrifice to God. It was the right thing to do. Saul chose to offer a sacrifice on his own after waiting for Samuel for a week (1 Samuel 13:8-9). Saul went against a command from God through Samuel to wait for him to offer the sacrifice before the battle (1 Samuel 10:8). Saul was clearly instructed by Samuel and the Lord to wait for Samuel to offer a sacrifice before going into battle. Still, Saul did not listen to these instructions and just moved forward, showing that he didn’t respect God, but just wanted his blessing (1 Samuel 15:22-23). This act made Saul lose the Kingship (1 Samuel 13:13-14, 1 Samuel 15:23). Saul is another example that even though intentions of the ending are reasonable, it is essential to make sure the steps along the way are also in righteousness.
Uzzah, the priest, died when he reached out his hand to prevent the Ark of the Lord from falling after the oxen stumbled (1st Chronicles 13:9) The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark (1st Chronicles 13:10). Uzzah had great intentions of bringing the ark of the covenant to worship God in Jerusalem with King David; however, he did not follow the Bible’s clear instructions on how to transport the ark of the covenant. He was callous with the word of God, the holiness of God, and it led to his death.
From these few instances, we became conscious of the fact that God looks at our actions and motives and not just the result. God views consequentialism as sin, even if the intentions and results are “positive.” That is why James said that “If we keep the whole law and yet fail just one, we become guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10).” It is not just about looking at the overall result as positive, but the whole of it. You would not eat a sufuria of ugali that had just a little bit of mafi ya mbwa in it. God will not also accept anything, but perfection. This shows us is why we need Jesus in our lives. We look at our lives and sin and feel that they’re generally good, but it is ugali with mafi kidogo and that taints everything making you guilty of the whole law. Consequentialism is a big deal to God; that is why he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins to make the whole and life clean before him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Thus, Nyonga fest must be resisted even if they are seemingly “helping the community.” Additionally, they are openly promoting prostitution and pornography as a legitimate means of financial gain. We must be concerned with every action we take because God does not only look at the results but also what we do to achieve that. God has laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed (Pslam 119:4), and only those who love Jesus Christ will obey Him (John 14:5). So are consider your steps and remember that even the best of intentions of our days will have to answer for every sin even consequentialism sins (Luke 12:2-3, Luke 8:17, Matthew 10:26-33).