When I introduced myself and this series in Essay 1 I informed you that I would be writing about issues pertaining to religion, science, culture, politics and anything else that interested me. That is the main requirement for a topic to be included in this series – that it interest me. I am surely not talented enough to write about anything else. The only restriction I am placing on myself is that the pursuit of truth must be central to the theme of the piece. Beyond that it could lead anywhere.
We live in a crazy political landscape today. Vague concepts like truth and honesty don’t seem to matter much. This makes debate very difficult as the genuine intentions of our political leaders are often well hidden, and a keen sense of reality and awareness is necessary to find any truth in what they say. You might even suggest that the wealth of media we have today compounds the situation. Amazingly, with so much information available, most of us still seek out echo chambers filled with opinions similar to our own. As I discussed in Essay 4, I believe it is quite acceptable to apply our human reasoning to Biblical verse as we consider its application to real life situations. The same technique is an absolute necessity as we filter through the political noise in our country today.
The racket of political agenda has always had a tendency to drown out the sweet song of truth. And as the saying goes, “Everything is political.” There are more political groups with lobbyists and advocates at every level of government than any of us can probably count. Some divisions are very new. Some are as old as democracy itself. One of the oldest political factions is the Church. Yes, it is political. Again, everything is political.
The Roman Catholic Church has had a contentious and disputed history. Much of what is taught in schools to our children about the Catholic Church is unagreed upon at best by historians. Some of it is out right lies. The story of Galileo Galilei being persecuted by the church because of his scientific discoveries is nothing more than myth. Representations of the Crusades consisting of mercenaries marching across Europe on a plundering mission of Islamic ethnic cleansing would by today’s standards be referred to as fake news. And The Inquisitions are as improperly chronicled with exaggerated mistruths and incorrect assumptions as any events in history. The fallacies cast upon Christianity don’t just cease at the gateway to the present, either. Christianity in all its forms has become the world’s villain in the eyes of many; drawing deceit, deception, and trickery through media, academic, and cultural misrepresentation.
It is no secret, at least to Christians, that the faith is under attack. It always has been and always will be. I have accepted this and know that I can’t change it. I am not even bothered by it that greatly, as we are even warned about it in Scripture. What does bother me though is the fact that it seems to be working.
Take for instance the all too often used separation of church and state argument. This has successfully been used to manipulate the debate or completely silence one side of it more times than we even realize. The fact that the separation of church and state argument works so frequently to silence a certain side in this country is regrettably because too many Christians have no clue what their faith is about! Worse than that, many Christians are willing to allow those that despise the faith to ridicule its relevancy and credibility.
The secularists in the United States have successfully convinced the masses that religious beliefs of any kind can be lumped into one of two categories. The first of these categories is what naysayers consider to be hocus-pocus superstition. These are things like Creationism (both the literal interpretation of Genesis and the more ‘intelligent design’ leaning explanation), the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the afterlife, and the existence of a Heaven and Hell. These are ideas that secularists believe are only accepted out of folly as we carry on through life blindly being led by an imaginary shepherd. To a secularist or atheist, belief in these things shows an inferior intellect and lack of reasoning.
The other category used by secularists in which to lump religious beliefs is the “personal morality” classification. This includes things like abortion, sexuality, drug-use, charity, and any other principle or conduct. Where the first category is made out to be the stuff of fantasy, the second is described as “up to the individual,” a personal preference, or even a social construct. In effect they are saying that if morality actually exists, it is flexible and without constant parameters.
Where I believe Christians let down the Church is when they allow these “categories” to define our reasoning for why we believe and practice the way we do. We accept the notion that anything included in the first category is far fetched and not really “believable”, but just to be swallowed. Then, we give those that don’t believe a pass adjusted for the degree of difficulty in the believability of the doctrine. We allow statements like “You don’t have any proof for that” to change the way we think about and discuss those topics.
As for the second category, we go beyond acknowledging every person’s God given right to exercise their free will, and begin the debate over morality by accepting the wrongheaded premise that it is something that flexes with the times. We give in to this concept of tolerance, which is a thinly veiled disguise for enabling. And we sit quietly and listen as secularists preach to us about acceptance, not of the sinner, but of the sin.
All that is really accomplished in surrendering to these classifications is the reinforcement of the secularist view that members of the faith are hypocrites that don’t really believe what we proclaim to. And maybe they are right. For if we truly believed, why would we sit back quietly and allow ourselves to be pushed out of the political debate? Why would we allow our opinions to be dismissed as though we were a senile old uncle that didn’t know where he was? Why would we let our culture deteriorate as quickly as it has in the last decade? Our actions and demeanor prove as much as anything that we don’t truly believe what we claim to.
What does it mean to believe something? It means to accept as true; to feel sure of the truth of. We must all make ourselves SURE of the Resurrection, the existence of Heaven and Hell, and the fact that everything we see was created and not spontaneous. We must be sure of these things because they are true. To deny or accept any denial would be a lie. And just as I alluded to in previous essays, we have been given the wonderful gift of our natural human reasoning that truly does enable us to understand these concepts in an era of information that offers more truth than ever. Truth is absolute and should be treated as such. Truth, as created by God, would be useless to us if it were outside of our ability to understand it. When it is understood we can explain it. And until we can explain what we believe and why we believe it our cultural and political relevancy will continue to decline. As will the number of lives changed for the better by knowing the truth.
Essay 6 Coming Soon!
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