Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018: Engaging Our Anti-Christian World

            From the vantage point of engaging spiritual challenges, the year 2018 would be no better than 2017! In fact, 2018 could be worse than 2017. Let me unpack this predicament.
            There are several Christian countries in the world. Argentina, Armenia, Denmark, England, Greece, Monaco, Vatican City, and Zambia are some of the Christian countries. These countries recognize a form of Christianity as their official religion.1 

            Although a country may claim to be Christian, its culture need not be driven by Christian values. In fact, anti-christian ideology is either growing fast or has enduringly entrenched itself in every culture – be it Christian or non-christian. So whether we live in a Christian country or not, we would have to engage the non-christian values that are either lawful or seek to establish its legitimacy in that country.  

            Given this situation, it is a pleasure to hear President Trump wishing Americans “Merry Christmas,” instead of the politically correct lingo, “Happy Holidays.” This trend could continue as long as he rules America or until he stays faithful to the Christian values. Even if he remains faithful to the Christian values, the American culture is largely Post-Christian.

            Post-Christian culture is a culture that was once shaped by the Christian faith but has since wriggled away from its Christian roots. Then there is the non-christian culture. The non-christian culture maybe secular or it may be predicated on another religion. Whatever the case may be, a non-christian culture would consciously steer clear of the Christian worldview.

            In today’s scenario, anti-christian ideologies are either covertly or overtly driving every culture in the world. The post-Christian and the non-Christian cultures will exhibit many similarities since they steer clear of the Christian faith. If antichristian ideology is the driving force behind every culture, then we may as well term the culture that we live in as an ‘antichristian culture.’

            The post-Christian and the non-Christian culture are not absolutely horrendous. The non-Christian cultures that I have experienced have certain very good values.

            Christian culture, on the other hand, could be a better alternative, albeit not without challenges. Christians read the same Bible (plus or minus some books in the Bible). However, our interpretation of the Bible is largely diverse. The diverse hermeneutics (the science behind the interpretation of the Bible) that exist in Christendom impacts our theology and its application in our lives.

            The existence of a plethora of denominations in Christianity is a prime example of the hermeneutical diversity in Christendom. While one group of Christians could condone (give tacit approval to) abortion, another group may condemn abortion as a sin. This system of diversity extends to many pertinent aspects of our life. Hence, a Christian culture, which may not be a perfect system, could be a better alternative, but with challenges to overcome.

            When God created the world and its inhabitants, HE established a system wherein culture would have to be a derivative of man’s loyalty or disloyalty to the living God. However, the intensity of being loyal and disloyal to God can differ. Loyalty or disloyalty to God could export or import much needed good values from a culture.     

            Having said this, 2018 will continue to embrace antichristian ideologies! The antichristian ideologies will continue to infect our culture. Hence, complications in varied forms and sizes will devour our lives.

            In order to successfully navigate through the antichristian culture that we live in, we should understand the threats and dynamics of this culture:

            We live in a culture where truth is not absolute. In this culture, the truth is what works for me. Truth is a subjective preference.

            Our claim that abortion is a sin against God will fall mostly on deaf ears. Our fervent pleas against abortion will be rejected even if we state the truth that abortion kills an innocent life that cannot even speak for itself. The antichristian culture teaches its adherents to reject any absolute truth claim because they believe that they can play God and so possess an innate privilege to choose anything that satisfies their carnal cravings.

            The antichristian culture also teaches its adherents to distrust all forms of authority. If we claim that the Bible is our sole authority, we will be thoughtlessly and unequivocally rejected.

            Anger, fear and a great desire for personal control rule those who subscribe to the antichristian culture. Unmitigated anger against the biblical values that our ancestors held so dearly rules this culture. Fear of submission to God and the fear of leading a life within the biblical boundary reside in the minds of those driving this culture. A great desire for power and personal glory, which opposes humility and Christlikeness, fuels the lives of those subscribing to this antichristian culture.

            Human performance would be elevated to great heights in the antichristian culture. People would be glorified by the masses. The Christian community is not immune to this antichristian culture. Pastors, evangelists and Christian leaders are more glorified than God. In fact, these individuals seek more glory to themselves than ascribe glory to God.

            Our life is driven by our unrestrained presentations fuelled by technology and realized in social media. Boasting about our godlessness and secularism through the social media is utterly simple.

            With the social media ruling many lives, spewing hatred is a common occurrence. Technology empowers an average individual to communicate with anyone and everyone via the social media. Such communications are not always civil and courteous. Hatred is spewed as if accountability is dead.

             “I will say what I have to say and I do not care what you think,” is the general idea that consumes those who subscribe to the antichristian culture. Such is the darkness consuming this culture that perspectives based on valid premises are rejected to endorse perspectives that suits our vainglory and subjective preferences, even though they may irreparably impair the health of an individual and that of the society. 

            (Observe closely and you will see these traits existing and thriving in the Christian churches today.)

            How then do we live in an antichristian culture? Here are three simple tips:

            Get closer to God like never before. This culture strives to liberate us from God. But we know that apart from God, our life is meaningless. We should echo the words of Simon Peter who pledged his ceaseless allegiance to Christ while many disciples were abandoning Christ, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 66-69, NIV, Emphasis Mine). Our relationship with the Triune God and our ceaseless allegiance to Christ should motivate us to navigate through.

            Love those who subscribe to the antichristian values. There is no alternative to love. While we love our neighbors who do not believe God, we are to live our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Our love for them precludes our endorsement of their sinful practices. We should also express our deep conviction in the Christian values without any shame or guilt.

            Be vocal about our practices while expressing our opposition to the sinful practices. Being politically correct is not an option. Given an opportunity, we are to express our opposition to the sinful practices that the antichristian culture glorifies.

            Our focus is to not merely oppose the sinful practices that occur in our precincts. But we are to affirm and appreciate the authentic goodness experienced by our society ruled by the antichristian culture.

            May God enable every willing soul that loves HIM to be a channel of HIS grace, courage, wisdom, and love. Enjoy a peaceful and a blessed 2018.   


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