Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our Sound-Bite Culture

We are more educated by movies, T.V. shows, comedians, and radio talk show hosts than by books, bibles, or brains. We can't hold a civilized conversation about politics, religion, or philosophy anymore — nor can we have an intelligent conversation at all. Our premise for any discussion is either sans-God or pro-Naturalistic. Therefore, the results are absurd discussions (or foolish talk) that amount to nothing (Ephesians 5:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:16; Titus 3:9). We have an unhealthy interest in controversies or observing anything that contradicts the Word of God — like the desire to stare at a car wreck.

But why is that? Is this a new phenomenon?

No, it isn't new. In fact, it is the primary problem of mankind. We not only do not seek God, we actively oppose Him at every turn. (Romans 3:9-18) God's testimony against all of mankind is that we love the darkness. We seek it, and find comfort in it. Anything that exposes light on us, is rejected. (John 3:19-21) That is why any alternative to Christ is acceptable, even if it is absurd.

Case in point: I've had several conversations lately with people who have an intellectual objection (so they say) to the idea of the Christian God. They each have a different objection, but it isn't consistent with how they live their lives. For instance, one person says that he doesn't believe in Christ because he doesn't like the right-wing Christian's stand on various issues. So he maintains that he is an agnostic.

The problem with approaching faith this way is that it isn't consistent. The fact is that he doesn't agree with other agnostics either! In some cases, other agnostics, and atheist, are even jerks (in his own words). So, wouldn't it make sense not to be an agnostic either, since his fellow agnostics are disagreeable?

In another conversation a woman said that she would never step into a church, because it is so full of hypocrites. So, I asked her if there are hypocrites at her job. She said, yes.

"What about on the highway as you drive?"


"What about any clubs or organizations you are a part of? Do they contain some hypocrites?"

"Yes. What's your point?"

"Why do you still work where you work, drive the highway you drive, or remain a member of that organization if they are full of hypocrites?"

"That's not a fair question."

You get what I mean. It is easier to know what we don't believe than to affirm genuine convictions.

God says that sinners really want to go their own way. They will create excuses to worship anything other than God. They will add nice sounding arguments, and pontificate about the abuses done by those who hold to the Christian viewpoint. But, they refuse to willingly bend the knee, and accept God's testimony.

I admit it. I was one of them, and at times, no different than they are. I can wax eloquent in justifying my sin and rebellion. But, deep down, I know that I do not measure up to the perfect standard, and I depend on God's grace alone. I have to admit, on a daily basis, that I stand because God condescends to stand me up. God doesn't need me, nor does He run around to make sure I am happy. But, I need God, and happiness is a by-product of God's kindness to me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Decaffinated Faith

The Washington Post has published a couple of articles today discussing the role of faith in the lives of modern-day parents. They discuss how parents are looking to give their children a spiritual upbringing without the God-thing. They can have their children receive moral and psychological comfort without being tied to a particular religion or guilt-induced belief in God.

Just think! Religion without all the God! Isn't that great! Now we can teach our kids to create gods of their own choosing. Basically, a faith without the caffeine. It doesn't keep us up at night.

What's going on here? We don't want to retain the knowledge of God. We want to feel connected to spiritual things, and feel better about ourselves in the process. The idea of a real God will interfere with that, because we may have to come to realization of our sin. And we can't afford to believe that we are bad in any way. We don't want to have to need God. We want to create a god that approves of whatever we do, and that we can control. This is nothing new.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cliché Driven Society

If you've lived in the United States these last ten years or so, you are being bombarded with messages every day, in an ever-increasing deluge. We are constantly being told what to think and how to think from an array of disparate sources. Discernment is on the decline, but style is definitely in. The one who delivers the most clever sound bite, or loudest catch phrase is the truth for today. You've heard these sayings probably a thousand times:
  • I feel you.
  • Whatever!
  • Support our troops.
  • Protect our environment.
  • Make love, not war.
  • Give peace a chance.
  • Do something good. Feel something real.
  • Save the whales.
  • Bring our troops home.
  • All religions teach love.
  • Separation of church and state.
  • Equal rights.
  • Stop racism.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Stay in school.
  • Don't take drugs.
  • Keeping it real.
Of course I've left out a whole lot, because there are too many. (If you want to leave a comment about some other catch phrases and sound bites I missed, please do so.) These phrases have become cliché. They are so familiar that they don't require much thinking to interpret. In fact, they are designed to direct our thinking towards whatever political or social slants that they advocate.

But what about the Christian? Are we no different than the rest of society? Sadly, often we are not. We may even repeat, and are trained by, cliché's more than the words of Christ. But what did Christ say,
"I know my sheep and my sheep know me. They..will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
The good news: Only One Voice Required.