Objections to the Faith–1


My previous posts mentioned the Barna Research Group report that a majority of the 20/30s who grew up in Christian homes have turned their backs on the faith. The Barna studies showed that Christians are partly to blame for this turning away (See my previous postings for details.). However, I believe the primary influences in this drift away from Christianity are: 1) as expected, television, which mocks Christians and Christian beliefs as it revels in violence and explicit sex; and 2) perhaps a surprise to some, most university campuses have created an environment where it’s considered outrageous to make exclusive religious claims. Faculties that are overwhelmingly anti-Christian have engaged in systematic brainwashing of our young people, undermining their religious beliefs.

The exclusivity of Christianity is a major sticking point. The idea of a single “right” belief system flies against politically correct views of tolerance and “fairness.” A Christian friend takes these egalitarian notions too far. He says, “We have atomic weapons; why shouldn’t the Iranians or North Koreans likewise have weapons of mass destruction?” Oh, yeah, and while we’re at it, since our police have automatic weapons, why shouldn’t felons have grenade launchers and C4 explosives? Just to be fair, of course.

Outsiders object to Christian claims as the only true faith, superior to all other religions. They call this “arrogant and narrow … intolerant.”

Recently, a close friend, who is a Christian, complained that I offended others because I “talked religion too much.” He believes that religion should be kept private. There’s an appropriate time for everything but to prohibit the open discussion of religion and
spirituality denies us a forum for the deepest part of our existence.

For their part, atheists don’t expect religion can be outlawed. Instead, they mock Christians, the Bible, and religious practices, hoping that Christianity will be condemned or marginalized in the public square. My friend is an unwitting accomplice to the atheists and agnostics who signed “A Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism,” which aims to keep religion entirely private.

One of the signatories is Peter Singer, who took abortion a step further. Before he came from Australia in 1999 to take the post of bioethics professor at Princeton, crowds demonstrated against his hiring because of his position that parents should have the right to kill their infant children up to 28 days old who have severe disabilities. He said it would be justified because at that age, children don’t understand what it means to be alive and their handicaps would make them a burden on society.

Singer was hired anyway. To even entertain such monstrous ideas at the highest levels of learning in our universities should be sufficient reason why religion should be more than a private matter. Religious ideas and Christianity in particular–because our nation was founded on Christian principles–should have free access to the public forum.

 

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Risking change/changing the risk and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Objections to the Faith–1

  1. Jerry says:

    Sam, the following two quotes from “The Great Thoughts” book compiled by George Seddes might be pertinent to the discussion:

    C. Vann Woodward (1908 – ?), American historian

    “The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily deprives others of the right to listen to those views.”

    Voltaire (Francois-Marie Alouet) (1694-1778), French philosopher

    “Of all religions, Christianity is without doubt the one that should inspire tolerance most, although, up to now, the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.”

  2. Jerry says:

    You suggest, Sam, that currently the television is what was once called the “work of the Devil.” When I was a child, it was the movies and television. Prior to that, it was the radio. The computer should now be replacing the television, don’t you think? Maybe the latest form of available information/entertainment is the real threat. The following excerpt from my recently purchased “Great Thoughts” book illustrates a threat from the 19th century:

    Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), American orator, abolitionist

    “It is momentous, yes a fearful truth, that the millions have no literature, no school and almost no pulpit but the press. Not one in ten reads books….But every one of us, except a few helpless poor, poisons himself every day with a newspaper. It is parent, school, college, pulpit, theatre, example, counselor, all in one. Every drop of our blood is colored by it.”

    “Let me make the newspapers and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress.”

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Jerry, for your thoughts. You must have grown up in a sheltered/restrictive environment. I recall movies of my youth as clean and lots of fun. And radio–what memories–The Shadow, Mr. & Mrs. North, You Bet Your Life, The Grand Ol’ Opry, even pro wrestling! Lou Thesz was my mother’s favorite. When television came out to the prairie, there were the westerns, Lawrence Welk, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, you know the list.
      You misunderstand; television didn’t make my hit list because it’s the latest form of info/entertainment. No, the problem with contemporary TV is the loosening of standards which has contributed to the coarsening of our culture. On a relatively small segment of shows, vulgarity is presented as humor and that which is noble is demeaned. I don’t get it. But then I do. It’s called tolerance.
      Being intolerant (having standards) is often seen as mean-spirited. So the foul-mouthed trollops and well-dressed savages who spout so-called social commentary have made, among other things, Christianity and Christians the targets of their clevah wit. It’s just a rotten few but they’ve dirtied the medium. Look at it this way: if you put 1/2 cup of excrement in a one-gallon mix of home-made ice cream, that’s only a 1/32 ratio, ~ 3% of the total, but it ruins the mix.
      I’m not saying all TV is bad, but elevating tolerance and unrestrained free speech to a virtue has demeaned all of us.

  3. Julia Sumrall says:

    Very well said. I hope we would never be willing to sell out because we are faced with adversity. Thanks for your thoughts Sam.

  4. Lloyd Lowry says:

    Sam – a practicing Christian can no more keep his/her faith private than a friendly yellow lab can stop wagging its tail. We are commanded to “go and make disciples”, in an ever-expanding circle, that Jesus Christ indicated extended “to the uttermost parts of the earth”. This includes the market place, the work place and the classroom. We must fight with every breath within us any attempt to limit our freedom to speak the truth in love. We must also defend the equal rights of others to disagree, but we should be careful not to bend to the intolerant standard of tolerance for every other belief but Christianity. I have some of the internal struggles that you bring forward in your posts, including how I resolve areas where my own beliefs might be more “liberal” than the clear teaching provided in Scripture. Ultimately, I have chosen to follow Christ, which includes following the teaching of the old Testament which pointed to Him, and the new Testament, which testifies of His life, death, resurrection and the requirements of following Him. I know that honest and sincere believers disagree on what this means, but my life’s goal is to understand it to the best of my ability, through study and meditation, and then to apply the principles in my daily life. This includes sharing the Gospel through actions and when necessary, using words. No changes in societal norms or popular culture should sway me from this path, although at times I’m sure it does.

    • samuelehall says:

      Lloyd (my 3rd attempt to input a response–will it show up elsewhere?), thanks for your transparency.
      It seems to me that your faith overview would be acceptable to the 20/30s. But then I see your mention of “liberal beliefs.” That’s possibly where Tim’s “status quo church” fails to adequately address the social issues that so turn off today’s 20/30s–thoughtful, caring responses from the Christian community to homosexuality, abortion, the needy, etc.

  5. Tim Gilman says:

    Did Barna’s research suggest that the next generation is “leaving faith” or simply leaving “religion and regular church attendance” . . .

    There is a huge difference. As a whole, Christianity has failed to engage society in a meaningful way . . . something other than rules, regulations, damnation, and judgment . . . people are looking for something / someone, ie. God to believe in and not for a deity to rule over them.

    I find exactly the opposite to be true . . . the next generation is searching desperately for something to believe in . . . something of substance . . . something more than the status quo that they have been raised with . . .

    As someone whose faith has “survived” organized religion I think the next generation is in a much healthier place than mine was . . .

    Those who truly seek, will find.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Glen and Alan; your encouraging thoughts indicate you see a problem that needs fleshing out.

      Thanks, Tim; you raise a significant question about the Barna report. I believe it’s been addressed in my earlier postings–the 20/30s are leaving and have left the Christian church in droves because of their aversion to Christian attitudes, social positions, and political involvement. To your deeper question–have they left the faith? I didn’t see it directly addressed in the Barna report but let’s look at a couple of possible markers (you can probably think of other, better, criteria):
      * Has this generation formed new religious affiliations? By and large, I’d say not in significant numbers.
      * The burgeoning numbers of cohabitating couples, fatherless children, and children born out of wedlock reflect no faith focus.
      Tim, some questions for you:
      a) What kind of God could they believe in that wouldn’t “rule over” them but still be considered “God”? That seems like no god.
      b) What “substance” are they searching for? As we know, God is Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
      c) Surely, there is much in the present church that needs to grow/transform. Each generation deals more or less with this. Why do you think the 20/30s choose to leave rather than work to change the status quo? I’m thinking that dropping out is copping out if you don’t engage. I don’t see the desperation of which you speak.
      Help us out here; I think you’ve tapped into some of the dissatisfaction but we need to identify the parts.

  6. This is what we are really up against today.

  7. Glen Kirkendall says:

    Your thoughts are clearly and very well stated as usual, Sam. Thank You!

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