where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Christianity in a Post-Christian West: a response to Christianity Today

It panged me to read several of the articles in Christianity Today (November) about the relationship of the church and the culture.  They gave me the sense that Christians should feel fortunate to have lived in a country that gave them such generous and unusual religious freedoms and that they shouldn’t have been surprised or alarmed that the culture turned against them.

On the contrary, our country was ‘fortunate’ to have been founded by Christians who created a new kind of government that guaranteed all kinds of freedoms for its people.  I know there is disagreement over the exact nature of the faith of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, but the facts remain that the First Congress among its first acts proclaimed a day of prayer and thanksgiving for our nation, it published Bibles to be used in all the public schools, the Capitol building itself was used as a church for a hundred years after our nation’s founding, and Thomas Jefferson asked Congress for funds to help evangelize the Indians.

Religion, specifically Christianity, and morality were considered by our Founders as essential for the health and happiness of our nation.

The culture in America changed basically because of the government.  The court called supreme ruled that government cannot aid religion (1947) and later removed the Bible and prayer from our public schools (the 1960s), undoing practices in place since well before our nation’s founding, hundreds of years.  This morphed into the removal of all mention of God in schools and public life essentially establishing our country as a secular nation and basically changed the definition of religion from a description of truth and reality to a person’s private beliefs, along the lines of a person’s taste in music or food.

Few people anymore question what the First Amendment actually means by “the establishment of religion.’   (Answer: the creation of a state church as still exists in most of Europe.)  Christians and everybody else blithely accepted the expansion of this principle to include essentially prohibiting any and all mention of God in our public schools and public places and discourse. 

This new definition, or view, of religion removed the idea of religion as a worldview, so nobody questioned that secularism is as much of a religion as Christianity, where government replaces God as the ultimate authority, the people’s lawgiver, benefactor, protector, and savior.  The government is now responsible for solving everybody’s problems and ensuring their welfare and happiness. 

Where were the Christians while all this was going on?  In 1954, Congress passed the Johnson (as in LBJ) Amendment, a little attachment to another entirely unrelated bill that linked tax exempt status and political involvement, and churches afraid of losing their tax exempt status stopped most or all of their political activity, something they had been doing since well before our nation’s founding.

What the early Christians in our country knew that Christians today don’t think of is that we don’t have rulers, kings, or Caesars in our country; we have representatives.  The rules about submitting to our leaders don’t apply here, at least in the way described in the Bible.  Like an employer who hires and fires people according to how the employees contribute to the interests of his company or someone who may hire a lawyer to oversee one’s affairs, government officials essentially work for us.  And discussions public and private about their policies and practices is what responsible people do.  Forbidding tax exempt status to churches who discuss politics and political candidates is a practice that the Church should have challenged and demanded to be changed.

The articles discouraged Christians from thinking that electing the right people will solve their problems.  But Christians more than anybody should know the value of leadership.  Those who know Biblical history know that how the leaders go, so goes the nation.  Moses appointed Joshua, who led the people into the Promised Land.  Joshua didn’t appoint a leader, and the nation couldn’t follow through. 

The pattern is seen over and over through the stories of the kings.  A godly king brought about a revival in the nation.  An ungodly king turned the nation away from God.  It was only when President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage that the courts and the media showed strong support for it, leading to the overturning of 30 State Constitutions prohibiting it and the eventual supreme court [sic] ruling legalizing it.  If he had not done that, gay marriage would still not be legal in our country.  Yes, the institution of marriage had been breaking down for decades, but there was still a public consensus supporting it. 

The Book of Acts seems to paint a new paradigm, where society changes from the bottom up as people turn to God.  Yet even today, as Christians well know, churches thrive or die depending on their leadership.  If Christians won’t lead the United States, we leave it in the hands of the ungodly, and we shouldn’t be surprised by the outcome.

The culture war should be a wake-up call to the Church that it has become irrelevant in a society that for the first time in history was put together in a way that gave it every advantage.  Maybe the Church was unprepared for a political fight or considered it unfitting for the Church, forgetting that our government is not our rulers but our representatives. 
The Church in America sees politics as distractions outside of its area of concern and influence, yet every member of the Church has locks on their doors and fences around their property to protect themselves from theft and intrusion.  And they wouldn’t hesitate to hire a lawyer or call the police when their material property rights were violated.  If their bank was skimming from their accounts every month, they would be in an uproar.  

Loss of rights and freedoms are not as obvious as property encroachments; and, since they happen incrementally, they are often not noted or they are accepted as necessary compromises.
Christians are careful to give their ten percent to the Church as good stewards of what God has given them.  And then they are supposed to let the government take another 50% (add up all the federal, payroll, medicare, state, local, sales, property, gasoline taxes and fees), and they are not supposed to have a say on how that money is spent?

The Church is losing the cultural war in the West, and that is seen as a good thing.  Ooh, now we get to be persecuted! 

But the Church is losing the cultural war in the West, because it failed the culture it lived in.  It showed itself as poor examples, as powerless to help people in their problems, and unable to answer the challenges presented to it, like evolution or moral and cultural relativism. 


It doesn’t make sense to think that we as a Church can and should only help people with their spiritual problems or material problems on a personal basis.  If we are not involved in our school boards and our public policies, we will be presenting ourselves to the world, not as conveyors of the truth, but like a commercial product just trying to increase its market share just to make a name for itself.

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