I’ve written often of my disdain for the belief of the ends justify the means. I have said that the very idea run counter to the teachings of Christ, who cared very much about the means, not just the ends. Many of Jesus’ parables deal with the means being important. Which makes sense – it’s not just salvation that he talked about, it was also how we are to live and to follow him. Those are the means.
The ends justify the means is an ideology based on theology.
The conclusion of the ends justify the means is not pretty. If you take the ends justify the means to their logical conclusion, then you can argue that all laws and morals can be set aside. Laws and morals govern the means – the way we live. But if the ends are what is most important, then there is no need to govern how we get there – the ends justify the means after all.
When the ends justify the means, then murder eventually can be excused. When someone disagrees with you and the ends justify the means, then it makes sense to remove them if they don’t comply. Think that’s an extreme example? If you support the idea of the ends justify the means, then I challenge you to argue murder being wrong but stay within your ideology of belief in the ends justifying the means.
If the ends justify the means, then sexual harassment and abuse are fair game because it is the ends that matter – sexual dominance and gratification. The other person exists to serve the dominant person’s needs – how dare they stand in opposition. The ends justify the means after all.
If the ends justify the means, then there is no need for environmental stewardship – it all exists for our use with no consequences. It is the end – our comfort – that matters.
But this ideology and belief system is wrong and sinful. It is in complete opposition of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. You can’t be a follower of Jesus and believe and practice the ends justifying the means. The ends justifying the means is what killed Jesus, not what brought salvation.
The ends justify the means is a narcissistic theology – a belief that you are god and get to determine what is right and that the rules don’t apply to you. It is the belief that you can cheat on your spouse and there will be no repercussions. It is the belief that we can ravage the planet and there will be no repercussions. It is the belief that you can treat people inhumanely and there will be no repercussions. It is the belief that you can lie and there will be no repercussions.
There are repercussions. There always are. How we live matters just as much, if not more, than just the end result.