by Jerry Richardson
Christian people are often angry and surprised when people of the world declare them to be mentally unbalanced. Many of us are concerned that persecution of Christians around the world is on the rise; and that criticism and hostility toward Christians in America continues to increase. Perhaps what is most annoying is the presumptuous way that critical remarks are made about Christians in the media. For example:
Slipped ever so casually into a New York Times profile on Dr. Francis Collins, the new director of the National Institutes of Health, is this stunning and not-so-objective example of reporting:
"First, there is the God issue. Dr. Collins believes in him. Passionately. And he preaches about his belief in churches and a best-selling book. For some presidential appointees, that might not be a problem, but many scientists view such outspoken religious commitment as a sign of mild dementia."
Excuse me. Rewind the tape, please. Did the New York Times just say that people who believe in God and talk about it have dementia?
In an otherwise unremarkable profile, this offhand remark, which is never backed up by anything that could even remotely be considered "evidence," is included as part of a discussion on whether Dr. Collins, who happens to be Christian, could possibly handle the reins of NIH and believe in God at the same time. "
– Reference (1) at bottom.
Anger (the righteous kind) at "this sort of ideologically-biased reporting is appropriate. But surprise? Christians who have even superficially read and studied the Bible should never be surprised when the world thinks we are odd. Why?
[The world will despise Christians.]
"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."
– John 15:18-19 [NASB]
[Jesus was called insane and said to be demon possessed.]
"Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?""
– John 10:20 [NASB]
[Christians who are insulted and persecuted because of Jesus.]
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
– Matthew 5:11-12 [NASB]
To the world, we are odd. Get over it. Spend just a few moments reflecting on the secular-progressive world's Weltanschauung (the original German word for worldview), and you will have to agree. From the secular-progressive world's perspective Christians are very odd.
Thumbnail sketch of the secular-progressive world's current naturalistic-materialistic Weltanschauung:
There is no spiritual reality; only physical reality.
There is no afterlife. This life is all there is.
There is no God. Hence, of course, no Jesus. No Salvation. No Heaven. No Hell.
There is no objective good and evil. Good and evil are man made conventions.
There is no absolute moral truth. Morals are relative to time and culture.
Science is the only real source of truth. The Bible is a book of fairy tales and myths, written by deluded, religious fanatics.
Traditional notions of morality (such as marriage being between one man and one woman) are passé and outdated.
What should we do in the face of such biased mentality? I think at least five things:
1) Endeavor to insure that if the world despises us, it is because we follow Jesus, not because we have committed acts that are worthy of censor or punishment.
2) Do not be dismayed about the world’s animosity; but do not cultivate a paranoid expectation of it. Remember that Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves."
– Matthew 10:16 [NASB]
3) Study and know what the Bible actually says, not what worldly people want it to say.
4) Study, know, and exert your rights as a citizen (The Apostle Paul did, Acts 21:37-40).
5) Make vigorous use of your 1st Amendment rights to freedom of worship and freedom of speech.
Item one through four above can all be effectively exercised in a solitary fashion. So can item five, but in addition it needs to be exercised through collective action. Obviously many of us are accustomed to exercising our freedom of worship collectively. The Bible commands us to “...let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another...” [Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)].
But many of us are unaccustomed to collectively exercising our freedom of speech. Why is that?
There are numerous possible reasons. But, I think the two most likely reasons are the facts that most of us have been reared in a culture that places high value on individual accomplishment and on individualism (self-reliance and personal independence). Also, for most of our lives, and probably for our parents during their lives, collective free speech activity has often been associated with radical (often Marxist), political activity. Hence, collective free speech activity has taken on an unspoken characterization of a less-than-desirable activity. It is here that some of us may need to explore and rethink a vague feeling that could possibly arise from an unexamined, ingrained assumption.
I suggest that you give serious thought to becoming involved with some organization or organizations that provide venues for serious collective expressions of free speech, especially applied in the political, social, and cultural realms.
I would be derelict if I didn't recommend the American Family Association (AFA) for this type of activity...so I do.
(1) Labeling Belief as 'Dementia'