Does the End Justify the Means?
ORTHODOX religions answer that question yes by their deeds, if not by their words. They have a long record of beheading principles with the ax of expediency. Their actions say that they are more concerned with their standing with the world than their standing with God.
The divine principle is: “The friendship with the world is enmity with God,” and, “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world.” But most of Christendom’s religions reject this principle of separateness from the world, preaching in its place: “The end justifies the means.” The clergy seek to justify their entry into politics by saying they will bring in moral law and put God in government. Their centuries-long politicizing has not done this yet, nor will it ever do it.—Jas. 4:4; 1 John 2:15, NW.
They involve themselves in the wars of this world, blessing whichever side they reside with, and end up by approving of Catholics in one country killing Catholics from another country, and similarly Protestants killing Protestants and Jews killing Jews. This bad means, they say, is justified by the end in view.
Science teaches evolution and smears the Bible. Christendom’s religions seek popularity, so they say evolution is true and compromise the Bible by saying God used evolution to create living things. The end of holding on to church members justifies the means of compromise, they argue.
Actually, such religions want the world to be fond of them, and in gaining this fondness from the world they eliminate themselves as Christians. Jesus said: “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”—John 15:19, NW.
False religions do not lead; they follow. They lack the moral strength to lead properly and end up being led improperly. In the days of Emperor Constantine and thereafter the apostate Christians compromised, adopting pagan doctrines into their creeds, and justifying these means on the ground that the end would be many converts from pagan religions.
The Jewish religions in Jesus’ day executed him because they thought it would save their nation under the Romans. The end of saving their nation justified their murder of Jesus, they argued. They said: “If we let him alone this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”—John 11:45-48, NW.
This immoral slogan that puts expediency ahead of principle cannot work. Jesus said that it could not: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit.” Bad means do not bring good ends. Good means, good end; evil means, evil end. To purchase expediency at the expense of principle is the snare of the shortsighted. Only by clinging to divine principle can permanent good come.—Matt. 7:18, NW.