St. Hilary continues with his discussion of the ungodly:
There are, besides, other counsels of the ungodly, i.e., of those who have fallen into heresy, unrestrained by the laws of either the New Testament or the Old. Their reasoning ever takes the course of a vicious circle; without grasp or foothold to stay them they tread their interminable round of endless indecision. Their ungodliness consists in measuring God, not by His own revelation, but by a standard of their choosing; they forget that it is as godless to make a God as to deny Him; if you ask them what effect these opinions have on their faith and hope, they are perplexed and confused, they wander from the point and wilfully avoid the real issue of the debate. Happy is the man then who hath not walked in this kind of counsel of the ungodly, nay, who has not even entertained the wish to walk therein, for it is a sin even to think for a moment of things that are ungodly.
In our modern context, St. Hilary’s complaint that there are ungodly people who “have fallen into heresy unrestrained by the laws of either the New Testament or the Old” might seem to be no longer relevant; however, his criticism that they measure God “by a standard of their choosing” is as accurate today as it was in any age. Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, the twentieth century should stand as a warning to us all about wandering down the path of the kind of ungodliness that St. Hilary describes here.
When one measures God by any standard other than God’s (especially in the case of secularism and atheism), that means that the arbiter of morality and ethical behavior is humanity, not God. Since humanity is fallible and changeable, so, too, then is morality and ethical behavior. When a society starts down this road, tyranny is inevitable.
This may seem an outrageous statement, but when human beings are the ones who decide what is moral and ethical and this morality and these ethics are malleable, then the one who ultimately decides what is moral and ethical is the person who has the most power and is willing to use it. The twentieth century saw this made manifest, with figures like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Moa Tse Tung who were perfectly comfortable killing people who disagreed with them and who justified these murders through the morality and ethics of the political philosophies that the adhered to.
This same pattern is inevitable. It may take a few generations, but once God — the external, eternal and unchanging source of morality and ethics — is removed from our discussions of proper behavior, someone somewhere will arise who is willing to use force to impose their own version of what is moral and ethical. Indeed, the twentieth century has demonstrated the the truth of Psalm 1 — Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.