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June 07, 2014

Comments

>The great lesson to be learned is one that was
>taught by Richard Weaver decades ago: that “ideas
>have consequences.” Once the British people
>thought there were no good reasons to believe or
>practice Christianity, they stopped.

Change the word thought to realized or understood and re-evaluate the statement.

@TJ

Change the words

"Change the word thought to realized or understood and re-evaluate the statement."

to

"Why do I come to these websites and post orphaned assertions that will be either utterly rejected by those who disagree with me or loudly applauded by those who already do?"

...then stop and re-evaluate how you spend your time.

This generation of young people is the first generation of the modern era that has been more successfully "evangelized" by the secular culture than by the faith. Two generations ago there was no inherent conflict between the dominant culture and faith; today, faith is mostly ridiculed and demonized within the dominant culture. Many young people, who pride themselves on their diversity and openness to ideas, have never even been exposed to positive ideas of faith. Many reading this now are thinking, in a manner of mocking, "What positive ideas?" All that many of them have ever been exposed to with regard to faith and religion is almost exclusively negative.

The modern impulse toward (1) radical individuality, especially in the area of sexual morality, and (2) materialism, finally had little or no resistance from the culture to which most young people were exposed on a continuous basis. No doubt, the consequences of modern communications/information technology have also had a major influence in this area.

This has had a significant, mostly negative effect on young people's attitudes toward religion and faith. It will be very difficult to build or defend faith through this monolithic and pervasive cultural influence.

So how do we deal with the reality of preachers who stand in the pulpit and treat blind faith as not just superior to a faith grounded in reason but as the only real option? Millions of Christians in this country have been taught that they can't even ask if there's a reason for what we believe, so it's no wonder people see it as baseless.

There's hope. God willing those people will start to feel the error of that way and will struggle to shake off the shackles. Political correctness is rampant in the UK - fear has stifled freedom of speech in that country alarmingly. Hopefully they can look to the US where there is a stirring and some people will not give up. A headline last night, Google getting out of the porn business? Praise God!! May our generation destroy the hellish sexual revolution!!

@Christina (and others who agree)

You raise a good question, but as one preacher who will stand in a pulpit tomorrow, I would say that perhaps it is more complicated to capture in a short question like you asked. Yet, in another sense, you have profoundly captured the essence of the problem, what makes faith in something valid? If I, as a preacher, said that real faith is blind faith only, then I would not be teaching my people truth. I am somewhat young (like to think of myself as young, despite the major soreness today after painting a room yesterday), but my sense of the church I grew up in was that we were told to take what the Bible said, in many ways, by blind faith. There was an old song we would sing, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." For generations, that was probably the blind faith of which you refer and validly point out that it is a rather weak position to take.

However, in recent years, as Christianity has been challenged on an intellectual level, more research has been done into the historical validity of the Bible and much positive evidence has been found to support the claims of the Bible. Now, whether one lives by what the Bible teaches is based on whether one believes it to be true from God. As a pastor, I ask my people to listen to and obey God's Word for their lives, beginning with the teaching of the good news of Jesus Christ. I do so based on faith in the truth of God's Word. It is no longer a blind faith, but a faith that is based in sufficient (for me and most pastors) historical evidence.

The difficult question comes when the teachings/findings of other disciplines (science is the most often one cited) conflicts with what the clear teaching of the Bible says. Is it blind faith, then, to choose to believe the Bible's account over what the other discipline is asserting? Perhaps you might say that it is blind faith because it seems to be choosing not to see what appears to be clear evidence. However, I would submit to you that it is nothing different than a trial before a judge. A judge listens to arguments, views evidence, hears testimony and makes a judgment based on which body of evidence has the strongest support. When he makes that judgment, he is putting his faith in that evidence being a reflection of what is truth. So, whether you choose to believe the Bible's teaching on a matter or the other teaching, you are choosing, by faith, the evidence that you feel is stronger. It may seem like blind faith, but in reality, it is faith based in evidence.

No one chooses to become a Christian.

"Faith is a gift of God."

It comes through the hearing of the gospel. Some hear it…but don't really hear it. Others hear it…and come to a living faith in Christ.

This article was actually really encouraging to me... I'm not sure why, but it really brightened my day, thanks Amy Hall!

I know there are scads of armchair prophecy buffs who are sometimes embarrassing as they look for and find signs of the times.

But I do believe that in both Post-millennial and A-Millennial eschatology, something of this nature is to occur just before the end of the world.

That would be when Satan is released from his prison in order to deceive the nations and unite them in opposition to the church. (Re 20:7-9).

The problem with such approaches is that it fails to follow the money trail. Or, to put it another way, it does not consider conspiracy history. Urge consideration of Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope and Bella Dodd's School of Darkness for starters

Perhaps it is not really a battle of blind faith versus evidential faith, but of the content that makes up the life of faith. The church sometimes lapses into the error of allowing worldly conceptions of faith-life to dominate, as if the life of faith is one of building hospitals, adopting all the orphans in sight, or advancing some politically derived ideal of justice and fairness, rather than to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before your God (Micah 6: 8).

Consider the Joseph of Genesis. He was a man of organizational ability who used his gifts of leadership to preserve the nation of Egypt (and his family) from savage drought. He was also the same man who, in time of severe temptation said, "How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God." which is the greater expression of faith? I would say both, but we are in a situation to excise one factor of faith-life, all in a zeal to conform to worldly standards.

This is the content of faith that may turn many off to faith, and the surest proof that faith is supernatural in source. First Peter 4: 4 states, "Unbelievers insult you now because they are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of wild living. (GWT)" If this is the established reason for decline, then dave is truly on to something. Love of God involves self-denial, and such a view of humility seems so out-of-touch with the Age of the Selfie.

But love of God is the sweetest breath of fresh air in a lockstep culture that follows the latest trend. But this could be in itself a manifestation of worse than blind faith -- dead faith.

Not satisfied with the last paragraph. I believe it ambiguous. The "this" of the last sentence is "lockstep culture," not love of God.

Sorry for any confusion.

I can tell you why Christianity died in Great Britain (it's not fully dead by the way). Before, the English people were some of the most daring Christians you'll ever see. They sent missionaries to Africa who sacrificed their lives, heroes like William Wilberforce destroyed slavery, and overall, people sacrificed themselves for the gospel. But then came a generation that got complacent, and quit obeying Jesus and doing what he asked them to do, which is to carry the cross. When that happens, people that aren't Christians start to think, "What is the difference between you and me?" They see no need to be a Christian. The problem in the US that is happening right now (same thing) is that we are not practicing out the gospel in our daily lives. We are not praying and fasting, not selling our possessions and giving them to the poor, and not changing. Therefore, the atheist or non-Christians says, 'What good does this do?' I really don't see a big difference between you and me. Until we can recapture the concept of obedience first, and then thinking, we will get back on track. But not before.

God gave them over....

When was Christianity most popular in Britain? When the Church held sway over education (from the dark ages to the 1960's).

The secularisation of education has killed off Christianity in Britain (Australia and Canada too,) which also explains why it continues to hold sway in many parts of the USA, where the religious right can still determine what can be taught in science classes.

Very few adults convert to any religion. It is the coercive induction of children into your 'faith' which keeps it alive. Just look to the Muslims. They produce more followers these days than the old Catholics used to.


Shawn_1370, your assessment that very few adults become Christians is not based on any facts. Millions of adults as we speak are becoming Christians and in the third world Christianity is growing at exponential rates. The only place where Christianity is not growing by conversion is in the USA, where it is declining. In these countries Christians are a minority and have nothing to do with the education system. Your claims have very little to do with facts and more to do with bitter rhetoric. And the decline of Christianity in Britain is not because of the secularization of education. Secularization was a product of the decline of Christianity, not vice versa.

@JBerr
"the only place where Christianity is not growing by conversion is the USA"...

Now who's not worrying about the facts. The whole premise of the article was how Christianity was declining in Britain which entirely refutes your statement, but here is another fact for you.
Australian Census Data 2006 & 2011
% of population per religion
Catholic 2006 25.8% 2011 25.3%
Anglican 2006 18.7% 2011 17.1%
Uniting 2006 5.7% 2011 5%
Presbyterian & Reformed 2006 3% 2011 2.8%
No Religion 2006 18.7% 2011 22.3%

So the actual data shows that over 5 years in Australia the net effect was people turning away from Christianity to no religion (the other formal religions in Australia don't even register 3% each).

Now if Australian adults were converting to Christianity "at exponential rates" you would expect to see the opposite occur.

I believe if you check the UK and Canadian census data you'd find the same trends.

"The danger when men stop believing in God is not that they will believe in nothing, but that they will believe in anything" - G. K. Chesterton. Our culture has eroded so quickly because our idea of man has been to reduce him to a biological "heap" of material while also reducing the enterprise of knowledge to a philosophy of empiricism - that all knowledge is determined merely by our senses such that we now refer to the "good" as that which is pleasurable and that which is "bad" as painful. This 2-story fact/value split (a motif of Francis Schaeffer's) has resulted in ethics and morality being reduced to nothing but personal preference. So we have Katie Curic (just yesterday) interviewing "trans" people as if their sexual orientation was analogous to trying a new flavor of ice cream. Where did it start? With the enlightenment; rejection of revelation as a source of objective True truth and knowledge. As universities began preaching progressivism (truth is historically contingent) and with the rise of neo-Darwinian evolution, we are now living in a country where not one single institution (other than a handful of Christian schools and colleges) presents a Christian worldview. Every museum preaches evolution, environmentalism, radical feminism, genderism, etc. Public schools, universities, government agencies, Corporations, major media outlets, Hollywood, etc. have all adopted a secular worldview so that we no longer can even trust that one's use of words is any guarantee that they reflect reality as it is (e.g., "marriage" is a description of something that is, not subject to "redefinition"). Reality is now nothing but a social construct and varies from group to group and from person to person leaving us with no unifying understanding of anything. Most Christian para-church organizations have put their efforts into relationships (marriage seminars, raising kids, prayer meetings, Promise Keepers-all good but insufficient) because we have failed at giving the next generation something (truth) and someone (God) to know intimately, to trust, to rely on and to believe in the face of life's challenges. More than ever, do we need believers capable and willing to live out 1Peter 3:15!

@netprophet Thank you for perfectly illustrating my previous argument.

Furthermore, what makes you think that humans are somehow entitled to a 'unified understanding' of everything? Wouldn't that be your God's domain alone?

Nonetheless, so far as humans have been able to make progress (as in 'progressive') towards understanding the universe, it hasn't been through any assistance from religion, much less those like Christianity who have actively sought to supress the truth.

If it were up to the theists, the sun would still revolve around the earth (which would be flat)and 99% of us would be illiterate. They're still going today with their political activism against the large hadron collider experiments into the 'God particle', stem cell research and practically anything else that removes any more layer of superstitition of how the universe works.

Gods only exist in the unknown. The more humanity knows of its own universe, the less they need to make up myths of how it works. That's historically evidenced fact, and what you are all so worried about happening in Britain and other educationally advanced nations.

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