Christianity has completely lost…REALLY???

sex-and-church

 

~ At coffee yesterday a conservative Christian acquaintance of mine was talking about the various culture wars that progressives in the Western World have won over the past few decades,

Ya know Kenneth, progressives have made it legal to kill your unborn baby, it’s legal for people of the same sex to marry each other, it is against the law in Canada to speak publicly against homosexuality, and the overwhelming majority of liberal arts colleges and Universities only teach progressive worldviews like global climate change and radical anti-God Darwinian evolution…. gosh, the list is endless. It seems like Christianity has all but ceased to matter anymore” he said

In many ways it is rather strange to look at what the Western World was like in the pre-Industrial era and what it has become over the past hundred years or so. What person living in the 19th century could have ever predicted the massive amount of change we have experienced in recent decades?

In my blog articles, I usually lament the radical individualism of the Western World that has left so many people feeling lonely and disconnected. I use examples of how technology, despite all the modern conveniences, appears to be leading to massive numbers of people taking drugs for depression, anxiety, loneliness, and an escalation in rates of various mental illnesses.

Regardless of how you might feel about the various political and social issues related to progressivism versus conservatism, have you ever noticed the manner in which our culture has shifted; at what point did progressives end up deciding that a “free” society means people on the “right” (aka “Christians”) are no longer even allowed to have a platform to speak anymore?

—) Progressive Liberal Arts colleges tend to black ball anyone who doesn’t tote the party line

—) Progressive Liberal Arts colleges go out of the way to prevent conservatives and non-progressives from speaking to student assemblies

—) Progressives have decided that debate over “Global Warming” is over, they are not open to debating it, and anyone who denies it is a blooming idiot

—) Progressives are hostile toward any other theory of human origins being taught at the University level other than Darwin evolution, the debate is over they say

—) Progressives are hostile toward non-progressives like Donald Trump, even demanding he not be allowed into the United Kingdom!

The more I thought about what my acquaintance was telling me, the more I realized how much progressives remind me of a militant army.

Don’t get me wrong. If you have read anything I have written over the years on my blog, you know how critical I have been of the Christian church. Often, my most heated critics have been from Christians who deem me a heretic because I don’t believe exactly what they believe.

Interestingly enough, even though far-right Christian colleges like Liberty University tote the hardcore Christian line, they still seem to be open to debate and dialogue. While I am in no way an advocate for Liberty University, I find it admirable that they invited both Bernie Sanders (a self-declared socialist) and Donald Trump (a loudmouth New Yorker) to speak at their University to the student assembly. Trump and Sanders are not the kind of people that fit into the Liberty University way of thinking; yet the school had no problem letting them both come and speak to the students.

Thus, it is interesting to me that even though conservative Christians can be some of the hardest people to get along with, they still seem to be open to debate and dialogue. On the other hand, it frightens me that progressives seem to be so hostile toward open debate and dialogue. The manner in which progressives demean anyone and everyone who do not agree with their values, is something akin to the type of militancy that people usually attach the label “totalitarianism”.

I’ve always been a fairly liberal person. It why I pursued a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts. My attitude is that it is best to look at all sides to an issue; to study all of the different positions equally….at least to the best of our ability.

However, my liberal arts perspective is not very popular among many of the academic institutions throughout the United States.

Take for instance the subject of positivism. Throughout the social sciences (psychology, political science, sociology, anthropology, etc), positivistic frameworks are the entire basis of these systems. Thanks in large part to the sociologist Max Weber, the social sciences have adopted a worldview called “Value Free Science” or “Value Free Research” which entirely dominates the progressive academic worldview.

Despite the fact that hundreds of books and essays have been written which offer compelling arguments against value free research; progressive Universities tend to blackball anyone who teaches or advocates anything other than value free research and positivistic worldviews.

It is very troubling to say the least.

A professor from Boston College recently wrote to me on the subject and said that while it is true that the majority of colleges reject anyone who teaches against value free research, there are in fact a growing number of professors who are joining the ranks of those who reject positivism and value free research. It is refreshing to get emails like that, but it is still troubling that the overwhelming majorities of textbooks and curriculums teach only one worldview.

Regardless of my own personal views on global warming, homosexuality, or fill-in-the-blank…..my point is very simple; I don’t want to live in a world where debate and dialogue is suppressed. A world where Progressives (or any way of thinking) squelches all other voices at the academic or political level is a frightening world that I don’t want any part.

I have written extensively on my heartache regarding the way that Evangelical churches have treated homosexuals over the years. Much of the problems we have faced in the Western world on this subject could have been circumvented had Evangelicals not been quite so hardheaded and unloving. I can’t tell you how many Evangelicals have talked to me about homosexuals as though they are lepers, and have said they would never let their children even be in the presence of anyone who is gay.

That type of attitude is really sad. It is no wonder there has been such a war between the Church and the homosexual community with that type of attitude permeating the air. This type of thinking within the Christian community during the 20th century led to many men and women going into hiding and doing things in secret, resulting in massive upheaval behind the doors of the church.

Whether you believe in climate change or not. My goal is not to convince you to believe in it, or to convince you to not believe in it. I’m merely suggesting that if you are one of these people who believe “debate” is over, then I feel for your soul. Because that type of thinking is the same that led to some of the worst types of human injustice throughout history; slavery in the USA, Hitler, etc.

Debate should always be encouraged and welcomed. Sadly, the country I was born into seems to have decided that the debate is over.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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17 replies

  1. I’m a progressive and I super believe in free speech, but sometimes I find it really hard to defend when it’s used to justify viewpoints not based on facts (climate denialism) or hate speech (anti-LGBT views), because words are not innocuous. But still, I hear what your friend is saying: we need dialogue and we need opposition for democracy to work. Even being progressive myself, I’ve been called names for so much as considering eg. voting for Clinton.

    Where I disagree with him is that it’s not christianity that’s under attack: correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think christianity is about denying change. For example, climate change: certain industries spent a lot of money to put misinformation in peoples’ heads; the bible says nothing about the issue. There are lots of rules in the bible that have been jettisoned. I don’t believe any religion is about rigidly sticking to all the rules 100% of the time, but rather about asking ourselves what some exalted figure would have done in our stead. Modern times always bring about new information; religion is necessary for many to help keep a moral compass while we undergo change; and that still matters.

    • Just because one thinks homosexuality is a sin does not mean he or she hates the homosexual. I have friends who are homosexual and although I disagree with their lifestyle and they know that, I also love them and would fight for them if anyone attacked them. I know I sin as well, so I don’t come off as better than them, since I am not. So, labeling anti LGBT views as hate speech is incorrect. Hate speech is just another way progressives try to shut down free speech.

    • You’re right, I may have conflated some things here. Hate speech merely appropriates the same rhetoric but uses it to hate the person. I apologize for oversimplifying.

    • Plain T, the term “hate speech” is being used by many progressives to shut down anything that does not follow their agenda. I am not saying that you are doing that, but every time I hear “hate speech” I cringe because I feel that someone is trying to shut down someone else’s freedom of speech. I don’t know you, so I can’t say you are doing that, especially since you seem to be open to discussion, but there are many who use “…phobia” or “hate speech” or “…ism” (especially racism) to attempt to shut down open dialogue.

    • Yup, and I responded to another commenter that I may have misused the phrase. At its core all it means is “speech about hate”, but is understood to include speech that justify said hate. I didn’t mean to imply that anything remotely considered “hate speech” by anyone should be shut down, but that not acknowledging that certain speech can and is used to justify cultural hate.

      Anyways my comment was more about trying to understand how things like climate denialism indicate that christianity is under attack. I know people who are christian and also scientists, and I don’t see a conflict between the two; so why is the rise of climate science proof of the decline of christianity?

  2. This was awesome. Much of what is in my heart is trying to bridge that gap between the left and the right, trying to understand the radical divisions that are going on within this country. Personally I think everyone is just nuts which helps to give me a nice, unbiased opinion. 😉

    Woven into that all somehow is that American culture that has always been a paradox between puritans and prudes, sexual matters in your face 24/7, but all sexual matters being perceived as shameful. So we just swing from one extreme to the other, from purity balls to pride parades, from modesty movements to slut walks.

    We need to return to the good old days of biblical values, where a man could have 300 concubines and 700 wives, and where dancing girls could demand someone’s head on a platter. That’s sarcasm of course, but sometimes I look about and wonder where people think we come from, who we really are as people. The good old days have really never been a reality, not when it comes to human behavior.

  3. Love your thoughts here, Kenneth. This is big issue for me so please excuse the long comment. I agree and believe that both sides operate on very broken paradigms. I see it based in fear and an “us vs. them” mindset. It’s not based in actually connecting to one another relationally as human beings. It’s combative and retaliatory in nature. This is never so prevalent as during an election year! (Groan)

    As an evangelical pastor myself, I can only speak for “us.” WE really need to change our views about how we relate to people who are different than us without giving up our values. Much of what we think we’re losing is actually cultural, not necessarily biblical. Some of the evangelical “far-right” is just the “Donald Trump” big mouths of Christianity–it’s hypocritical grace and conditional love, which most people reject (rightfully so). The “left” have their own repulsive version, as you pointed out. I’m not really for left or right. That’s irrelevant to me. I’m for communicating as adult human beings that value one another and want what’s best for each other. Actually, we Christians are supposed to believe that God loves everyone like He loves Himself, so much so that He died for all of us (John 3:16; 15:9). That’s a LOT of value! How can we look at others as the “enemy” in this light? THAT is actually non-Christian! Maybe we could put down our stones and reach out in love instead. Just saying… 🙂

    Rather than trying to get back to the “good old days,” how about finding out how Jesus actually treated people “not like us.” I think most Christians would be shocked by Jesus’ behavior if He were walking on the earth today! (Just like the Pharisees were, which is telling!) We don’t have to condone people’s behavior to love them and engage in conversation…heaven forbid, actually listen to them! We are all one side trying to cope with life together on this sometimes scary planet. Let’s try operating from a paradigm of love instead of fear. Just my thoughts as I sip my own cup of coffee.

  4. a self centered world begets a self centered approach to dialog (as well) Oh if only you people would listen to me!! . . . this thing would work flawlessly . ..

  5. There is a significant difference between value free teaching and truth free teaching. The same applies to research. We should avoid prolonging the natural life span of an idea under the guise of protecting the free exchange of ideas. Clinging to a creationist theory of human origins and climate denial fit neatly into the realm of logical fallacies.

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam – keep arguing because you’ve not been proven false (even though the alternative has been proven true)
    Argumentum ad infinitum – keep arguing despite the fact that there is no evidence for your position
    Argumentum ex silentio – keep arguing because there is a lack of evidence for your position
    Onus probandi – shifting the burden of proving your theory false (non-creationists somehow need to prove creationism is false, climate change deniers offer little or no credible science to disprove climate change, they’ve simply shifted to objecting to fixing it)

    There is a strong foundation for the rejection of these positions. If there is prejudice, it is a prejudice towards the facts.

    It is the responsible thing for a university that claims to prepare a student for and supply meaningful research to the world, to have a heavy bias towards supportable theories and fields of study. As Rob Corddry proclaimed in 2004 – “The facts have a well-known liberal bias”.

    History has shown that often the cure for bad ideas is the passing of those who hold them. I wish it weren’t so, but so it is. The past 200 years have offered many ups and downs, but in the area of retiring bad ideas, science has been highly effective.

    Who’s Loosing?

    There is a perception that Christianity has lost very heavily in this area. But remember, this is only from the perspective of a literal interpretation of the Bible. This is a particularly American phenomenon and something I would call made up theology.

    Many theologians (e.g. Aquinas) moved past those interpretations hundreds of years ago. I encourage those who rely on the Bible for science quality data, consider moving on. That well is dry. Defending literalism by calling so called progressives militant because they reject unsupportable ideas sourced from made up theology seems pretty disingenuous.

  6. I could not read your whole post today. For awhile now, higher education has taken a beating as a left wing vehicle. That is not what is happening. Higher education teaches critical thinking, looking at an issue from many perspectives to understand it. To say some information should be excluded from the discussion is to block understanding and learning how to assess one’s beliefs and values for oneself. That is the purpose of college., Not to get a job. A liberal arts education is to make a more well rounded person. They know about more than they were taught in high school. If this changes thinking, so be it. And God is a belief. It is not provable that He exists. So, I will not require my students believe it or what values might stem from a belief in God. I believe in God and have my views, but I teach my students to have their OWN. They walk out of my class not knowing what I thought. I am not there to teach them that. I am there to teach them to think and expose them to as many perspectives as I can so they can make choices. Dogma. Belief without proof. I think the forefathers would not agree. I don’t think Emerson, Thoreau would agree. In fact, Thoreau wrote, “An unexamined life is one not worth living.” It’s up to you to take this and form an opinion. I don’t care what you think as long as you did.

  7. Debate is important, but allowing cherry-picked positions to continue to be respected as legitimate possibilities is not something that should be done – regardless of whether it comes from the conservative or liberal side of the spectrum.

    I’ve entered into a couple comment debates on feminist blog posts recently, and the sidestepping around evidence reminded me of the way young-earth creationists make their arguments.

    It’s not the position on the left/right scale that is the issue. It is willful ignorance of available information that is the problem.

  8. I have a lot of Atheist friends and I now have a joke “How do you know if your friend in an Atheist? Don’t worry, they will constantly post about it…CONSTANTLY” The funny thing is my brother is a Drag Queen and a lot of them are extremely uncomfortable with this, yet my religious friends find him fabulous. At the same time though I have family members who are religious and have made comments. Although even they have become more “relaxed”. There are always going to be “bad and good” people and I don’t think having a belief is going to go away. I think in our society it’ll always be there. It’s the person them-self that should be judge.
    I never personally talk about in great depth what I believe and what I don’t believe, because it’s incredibly personal to me. Myself, I’m an Agnostic.

  9. “It’s better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating”

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