One of the topics I have penned plenty of articles on over the years is the sad reality that so many Christians don’t think, don’t discern, and don’t have a biblical worldview. They just seem to emote their way through life, and they are utterly clueless on so many things, including the crucial debates of the day.
All they do is parrot the world’s wisdom on the hot potato topics, be it abortion, homosexual marriage, or what have you. It is as if they never opened a Bible in their life, and get all of their “Christian” perspective from the editorial pages of the New York Times or the Melbourne Age.
While we expect plenty of non-Christians to fail miserably when it comes to clear thinking, sound reasoning and logical clarity, it is always even more sad to see so many believers also guilty of this. And I find those who are part of the religious left to especially be prone to this.
Their biblical worldview seems to be non-existent, but they are experts at rehashing all the lame agenda items of the secular left. Toss in a few religious words and sprinkle liberally with the latest secular left buzz words, like “compassion,” “tolerance” and “diversity” and there you have it.
The examples of this could fill small libraries – maybe even large ones. As but one example, consider this doozy. Someone had shared a post I had put up on the issue of homosexuality. It was actually a quote from John Piper, making the case for biblical marriage as opposed to fake homosexual marriage.
Yet some guy came along attacking the meme, pushing the standard left-think on all this. He started this way:
Christians & Churches are wasting too much time and energy clinging to the idea that a secular society must conform to God’s laws in order for people to experience God’s blessing.
If we put all of this legislative, lobbying and debating effort ( that drives people from Christ in vast hordes ) into living ( and telling ) the good news about Jesus, into loving as God loved us, people would instead be attracted to him and transformed from the inside. So much time and energy wasted on external conformity…
I’m not saying that Christians must disengage from parliamentary service, but that the patronising pharisaic model counterproductive [sic].
Good grief. What a twisted and confused bit of thinking there. Try telling Wilberforce and the other great Christians who stood up for public righteousness including the abolition of slavery and the “reformation of manners” that they were “clinging to the idea that a secular society must conform to God’s laws in order for people to experience God’s blessing;” were spending “so much time and energy wasted on external conformity;” and were into a “patronising pharisaic model [that was] counterproductive”.
Next thing you know these same critics will insist that non-Christians cannot be expected to not cheat on their taxes or stay faithful to their spouses (‘we can’t push these Christian values on to non-Christians – how Pharisaical, patronising and unproductive that would be!’). And forget all those obviously outdated and useless passages about “righteousness exalting a nation”! The mind boggles.
And notice how he demands that we either be ‘loving’ and ‘Christlike’ (sentiments left undefined), OR fight in the political and legislative arena. As if it is one or the other. How about both-and? He continues this unhelpful approach with these words:
Imagine you’ve got 1 year left to live.
a) win a seat in parliament and work hard at ensuring non christians live by Judeo-Christian principles
b) spend as much time as you can showing people that Jesus loves them. He didn’t ‘pull any punches’, but let’s do as we were shown and exhorted to do.
These various either-or scenarios are simply cases of the logical fallacy known as the false dilemma. In this case, Christians either do political stuff OR love people a lot (whatever that means). Um, why not do both? Why insist on one or the other?
Why not take seriously our biblical responsibility to be salt and light and extend the Lordship of Christ throughout all of society, as well as be a personal witness to both God’s love and his truth? Why this totally unbiblical dichotomy? God never forces us to choose one or the other, so why should we pay any attention to these clueless and worldly Christians who insist that we do?
And he does not even get the two options right anyway. Notice how he talks about externally forcing people, and so on. Indeed, he speaks about “bending people’s wills to a God they are sure is a fiction.” Um, what in the world does that have to do with standing up for the long-standing institutions of marriage and family?
The case for defending marriage can be made on totally secular grounds. I have written whole books doing just this. Yet this rather clueless Christian assumes that if a believer defends real marriage in public, he is somehow cramming Christian morality down the throats of non-Christians.
I expect pagans to push this utterly false idea, but it really bothers me when folks claiming to be Christians also regurgitate this nonsense. Um guess what? As a Christian I have as much right as anyone else to speak out about the vital social issues of the day.
This is called living in a democracy. It is also known as freedom of speech. I have every right to seek to make my case in public for why traditional marriage is important and should be protected. That has absolutely nothing to do with pushing my morality on anyone, or seeking to get non-Christians to externally adopt “Christian” beliefs and practices.
This is all so obvious, but for these clueless wonders it seems to be totally hidden from them. They simply raise the very same objections that the misotheists do. And yet they think they are somehow doing God a favour in doing this. But wait, there’s more.
He went on to make this howler of a statement: “Let’s make the main thing the main thing, because the days are short.” Yeah right, let’s forget about freeing the slaves and affirming the truth that blacks are made in the image of God and deserve fair treatment and basic human rights. Hey, the days are short, so stop wasting time in these side issues like abolition!
Let’s forget about standing up for the most important social institution God ever blessed us with: heterosexual marriage, because the days are short and we must deal with what really matters. Yikes. If God’s desires for human sexuality and family are not important, then nothing is important.
Time To Unthink
I was recently asked by a religious education institution to come and teach their students for a week. The school leaders were concerned that increasingly students coming in each year were not very sharp on some vital basics: how to think, how to assess an argument, how to discern, how to analyse a proposition.
So I came and taught on the importance of using the mind for the glory of God. I taught on the basic laws of logic, as well as logical fallacies. I looked at some of the crucial issues of the day and how important it is to not emote but think carefully about them, and from a thoroughly biblical worldview.
I am not alone in bemoaning the loss of the ability to think, to reason, to evaluate. Consider a recent article penned by an American college professor. He does not deal with Christianity (and I do not know what his religious position is, if any), but he did a terrific job of demonstrating why most folks today simply cannot think straight.
Adam MacLeod begins with these words:
I teach in a law school. For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors.
They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison. This year in my Foundations of Law course for first-year law students, I found my students especially impervious to the ancient wisdom of foundational texts, such as Plato’s Crito and the Code of Hammurabi. Many of them were quick to dismiss unfamiliar ideas as “classist” and “racist,” and thus unable to engage with those ideas on the merits. So, a couple of weeks into the semester, I decided to lay down some ground rules. I gave them these rules just before beginning our annual unit on legal reasoning.
He goes on to share that speech. Here is how it started:
Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking.
Reasoning requires you to understand truth claims, even truth claims that you think are false or bad or just icky. Most of you have been taught to label things with various “isms” which prevent you from understanding claims you find uncomfortable or difficult.
Reasoning requires correct judgment. Judgment involves making distinctions, discriminating. Most of you have been taught how to avoid critical, evaluative judgments by appealing to simplistic terms such as “diversity” and “equality.”
Reasoning requires you to understand the difference between true and false. And reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of you have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. You have learned to associate truth with your subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only yours, and which are constantly changeful.
We will have to pull out all of the weeds in your mind as we come across them. Unfortunately, your mind is full of weeds, and this will be a very painful experience. But it is strictly necessary if anything useful, good, and fruitful is to be planted in your head.
He concludes by offering “three ground rules for the rest of the semester”:
1. The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.
2. If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.
3. If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.
Wow, we sure need a lot more profs like that. We have millions of folks who desperately need to be told this – including all these trendy lefty Christians who simply follow the world and its unbiblical thinking. It is high time for some major unthinking here.