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Why don’t Christians speak up? – a few reasons as if reality mattered

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Wintery Knight asks why intelligent, educated Christians won’t speak up for their views.

Why is this not being addressed by churches?

Do you have an experience where a Christian group stifled apologetics? Tell me about that, and why do you think they would do that, in view of the situation I outlined above? My experience is that atheists (as much as I tease them) are FAR more interested in apologetics than church Christians – they are the ones who borrow books and debates, and try to get their atheist wives to go to church after they becomes interested in going to church. Why is that?

A couple of thoughts:

– Christians confront a deep double standard, to which Darwinism has greatly contributed, by which the atheist position is considered the normal “secular”one and the Christian or other theist position a sort of disloyalty to the public good. Consider all the books written recently promoting the idea that “fundamentalists” ( = Christians who take their faith seriously) pose a danger. Such books are fashionable because their premise is false and therefore the readers are safe, and merely indulging themselves in hostility and prejudice. It’s like going to a scary movie except that the books create a scary situation for their targets (more below).

– Books about the dangers of jihadism are less fashionable because their premise is true, and therefore learning about jihadism imposes a moral responsibility to decide how one will address the actual danger. In Canada and Europe, prominent writers suffer prosecution for writing books about jihadism that “offended”some. And this problem is very difficult to even address, for reasons I explain here. Christians, Jews, and gay or anti-gay activists are special targets of censors. When in recent memory did anyone writing hate literature against Christians face comparable dangers or penalties?

– Secular materialists use fashionable words like “skeptical” to describe themselves, when they are not skeptical at all. That confuses discourse and enables remarkably fatuous people to shape public opinion. While working on The Spiritual Brain, I confronted an astonishing fact: The secular materialist would accept any materialist premise, no matter how implausible, to support his view. In fact, I sometimes ask, is there any proposition fronted in the name of, say, Darwinism (as I did here, that you regard as absurd? I often get blank looks or protests that Darwinism is science and there are no such propositions, and an immediate change of subject. Well, when we hear that, at least we know who we are dealing with.

– The Christian/theist labours under no such disability. He can accept a materialist explanation when it fits the facts, but not otherwise. But by acting this way, he becomes – in the eyes of the secular atheist – untrustworthy. He can’t be relied on to just shout the party line.

The upshot is that, the Christian risks more, speaking out, and is far more responsible for the need to have intelligent ideas. It’s much safer for Christians to bury themselves in fluffy Christian books and sweat off the flab in Christian weight loss programs, and little by little accommodate themselves to the reigning orthodoxy. After a couple of decades, they don’t even know.

How many readers have had this experience: One catches up some years later with a former small prayer group member, now twice divorced and in therapy, dressed like … oh let’s not go there, and talking a mile a minute, dumping all her programs, unsolicited, on her hearer, absolutely convinced that she bears no responsibility for her situation except insofar as she never indulged herself enough?

I am pleased to know you haven’t encountered it. But I have. The main thing to see is that she is now much more in tune with the world around her than she was when she was studying her way through Paul’s Letter to the Romans a decade and more earlier.

She’s not the one who will be standing in the dock; it’ll be her long-ago group study mate who refuses to recite some ridiculous orthodoxy about transvestism, Wicca, or Islam. But who is obviously more sane? And if you are committed Christian or observant Jew, who would you rather be? I mean, if God is watching.

All freedom comes at a cost: Courage. If people are unwilling to pay it, they could at least try to avoid assisting the persecution of those who can. But the problem is, the longer they avoid the conflict with reality, the less the benefits of freedom matter to them anyway. They don’t even understand what the brave are doing or why.

That’s the real risk that Wintery Knight’s silent passive Christian faces. In a few years, she doesn’t notice any conflict because there isn’t one. Instead of reading trashy Christian novels, she is now reading trashy secular ones because she is “free in the Spirit,” … and her therapist says it is good for her. Which settles it.

Thanks Denyse. Yup, it seems as if "the world" is a one-way gate, one can join but rarely leave. On the other hand, there are notable exceptions that reveal how few brave souls it takes to make a difference--Horatio being one example. There almost seems to be a law involved, that courage must be rare to keep salvation precious. "Narrow the gate and few that find it..." But to answer Wintery Knight's question, I have no trouble finding theist apologists and wannabe apologists. You go find yourself a big engineering division or firm, ask around for the Bible study that meets at lunchtime, and set yourself down for major apologetics lessons. And if you are short of engineers in your town (they probably have all moved to mine), you can find yourself a presbyterian church, ask for the elders that grew up in another denomination--catholic, baptist, pentecostal, whathaveyou, and set yourself in their sunday school class. Apologetics is alive and well in the christian church, it just requires (a) a logically-trained mind; and (b) a convert's enthusiasm. Robert Sheldon
Nicely crafted piece sprinkled with unpopular or even forbidden words like courage, responsibility and freedom. There's nothing I could add to this beyond endorsing it. Forrest Mims
Now that Christianity and church membership in general are completely optional in the Western world, a certain selection effect seems to be at work: People who are able/willing to submit to a higher Being can be persuaded to join a church. There is nothing about the nature of the institution that offends them. On the other hand, those who are not of a submissive personality will never set foot inside a church--at least as a rank-and-file member. (Those with leadership qualities are a different matter.) (Note that my use of the term "selection" does not mean "natural selection", but rather refers to the statistical/demographical idea of self-selection.) This has caused the overall personality of the church to shift toward a more passive nature, with the bolder folk being disproportionately represented outside the church. EDTA
"Wintery Knight asks why intelligent, educated Christians won’t speak up " Depends on what part of the world one lives. If if is in a society / culture where Christians are persecuted and ones life is at stake then may I suggest one had better be under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirt ? I seriously doubt anyone would disagree. Now how about the opposite ? Where Christians are NOT persecuted such as western civilization ? (which is the assumed context - however, I included the previous to "make a point" so I beg you to place it on the back burner for the time being. In review of the article a case was presented - "she is now much more in tune with the world around her than she was when she was studying her way through Paul’s Letter to the Romans a decade and more earlier." I would now to bring forward the Christians in the persecuted countries in the world and ask to compare the two and the the HUGE DIFFERENCE ?? May I suggest the reason is the Christian in the USA was presented a gospel that made "NO DEMANDS OF MORAL CHANGE / CHARACTER" while stressing forgiveness / unconditional grace and evangelism ( ie to sum it up - Christianity is a change of place vs. a change of what one is - the goal is vastly different. It can be viewed as transformation into the moral image of the Lord and our pursuit of the fullness of eternal life. It readily can be seen that whether we perceive entrance into Paradise as our goal, or entrance into eternal life and the Kingdom of God as our goal, makes a profound, practical difference on the manner in which we view the importance of serving the Lord Jesus with diligence. So to place any sort of pressure on your average Sunday church goes is crazy - it would make them unpopular and force them to deny themself, follow after Christ and obey the Holy Spirit. To sum it up - the American / European church is in a severe state of apostasy in which it can not save / live as Christian - let alone tell another about it. While the persecuted brethren have a closer walk. In review of Israel / Christian History- the body of Christ has ALWAYS thrived under persecution. mikesinger
OT: Creation-Evolution Headlines has a new 'updated' site up; Check it out here: http://crev.info/ bornagain77
PS: The informal national anthem of Scotland aptly captures the point. There are hills we must be willing to stand and fall on, if we are going to save our civilisation. Horatio at the bridge is of the same ilk. Let's clip:
. . . the Consul's brow was sad, And the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall, And darkly at the foe. "Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge, What hope to save the town?" XXVII Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods, XXVIII "And for the tender mother Who dandled him to rest, And for the wife who nurses His baby at her breast, And for the holy maidens Who feed the eternal flame, To save them from false Sextus That wrought the deed of shame? XXIX "Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul, With all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me, Will hold the foe in play. In yon strait path a thousand May well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand, And keep the bridge with me?"
Mrs O'Leary: You are right to be concerned, and have put your finger on a real sore spot. The issue is deeper than apologetics, though; the root question is the grounding of worldviews and the courage to live by the truth in the face of the manipulated perceptions of a Plato's Cave world, C21 version. (Do watch the vid, it took me years to find one that was really satisfactory.) Especially when many will not face the truth with mortal danger on two main fronts (and a cluster of only slightly less important ones) staring us down, up close and personal. For instance, I ask you: what are the black flag armies from Khorasan? Of what event was 9/11/01 the eve of the 318th anniversary? Similarly, just now I had to go back to anotehr blog of a critic who is no longer with us at UD, and point out that Saul Alinsky was just what I said, a neo-marxist. this commenter was trying to use that en passant reference, to portray me as an ignoramus, when I warned about the spreading influence of his rules for radicals on how all too many issues are tackled by those overly influenced by secularist forces. For instance, consider:
1. "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." 2. "Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat.... [and] the collapse of communication. 3. "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.) 4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity." [And, which of us can claim to be utterly consistent in living up to the standards of right and truth that we profess and know to be right?] 5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage." 6. "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." 7. "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time...." 8. "Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose." 9. "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." 10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign." 11. "If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside... every positive has its negative." 12. "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." 13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
Sound all too familiar? The effect of having ever so many people tanked up on rage and polarising slanders against serious Christians, the scriptures and Christian ethics -- who would have thought that husband and wife or mom and dad would become dirty words in the minds of many -- is that to stand up for the Christian faith is to become a target. And, most of us would rather live a quiet life. Indeed, that is exactly what the radicals exploit: make it painful as possible to object to what they are doing, and most people will grumble a bit privately but will keep out of the way. That is a bigger slice of "mainstreaming" of such radical positions than we would at first be inclined to believe. So, this is a time for courage and for facing unwelcome, painful truth. And a time that requires us to stand up in the face of mortal peril, even if only for the sake of honour, that -- even though one expects to lose -- one will not yield to evil and intimidation to go along with evil quietly. If enough of us make a determination to stand come what may, I think we can still win. Failing that we had better look to building up centres of refuge to stand the storms ahead. I -- reluctantly -- foresee a wild, and sometimes bloody ride ahead for our civilisation. We are going to take some serious losses and casualties before it is over. It won't be easy, and it is definitely not a sure thing. (And, I once thought that things were going to get easier once the Cold War with the threat of nuclear annihilation was gone. Hah!) GEM of TKI kairosfocus
I was just having a conversation about this with my uncle. He was shocked to realize how interested I was in apologetics and how I see it as an intellectual duty of those Reborn in Christ to find out the truths of Christianity. I mean what a joy to discover the solid foundations of our faith: scientific, philosophical, historical, and most importantly biblical. We shouldn't just sit around reading marshmallow theology books and letting folks like Craig, Strobel and Plantinga do all the heavy lifting. I am 29 and was once a voracious student of secular intelligentsia. I am grateful that the LORD has now seen fit to allow that passion for knowledge to be used for His Glory. I just pray I have enough time on this Earth to make a difference, no matter how small. The sad fact is prosperity preaching and Oprah Christianity has done more harm than Nietzsche, Sartre, Darwin, Hawking and Russell combined. MedsRex
These observations are almost too true, especially that bit of finding yourself on the end of the stick labeled "Disloyal to the Public Good". In part, I think some trends in Christian circles - seeker friendly movements - have contributed to this. The direction, in recent years, has been, to move away from any statements that might bother someone, i.e., save that for when they're "in". Now they're in, and in some cases, they lead. They don't make statements that bother people - especially if those statements seem to appear disloyal to the public good. Disagreeing with Darwin,or even appearing to do so, is taken, at large, as tantamount to stopping science and moving medicine back to the days of bleeding, etc. Obvilously, that's neither loyal or good. The church has to take it's role, after all, as a stable leg of society's three legged stool. There's the end of apologetics, and the Christian mind. arkady967

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