Secularists Are Often Hypocrites

August 28, 2007

From David Limbaugh and Newsmax.com.

“Newsweek’s Anna Quindlen recently wrote that a presidential victory for Rudy Giuliani “wouldn’t be a good thing for this country, but his candidacy may wind up being a good thing for his party,” which Quindlen obviously believes has been hijacked by the Christian right.

Giuliani’s strong poll numbers, said Quindlen, perhaps “indicate that the end is nigh for the stranglehold the Leviticus Lobby has had on the GOP.” It’s no longer surprising that those screaming most loudly against Christianity and its influence on public policy in America often employ the same tactics and represent the same dangers they falsely attribute to Christians. Christians have far more to fear from the secular thought police than the other way around.

Whether it’s writer Christopher Hitchens or CNN’s Christiane Amanpour sloppily conflating Christian “fundamentalists” or observant Jews with Islamic jihadists; secular leftists calling the Christian right the American Taliban; or militant secularists like HBO’s Bill Maher salivating over reports that Mother Teresa had a crisis of faith, the theme is the same. Christian activists are a societal nuisance.

The secularists’ criticism goes beyond decrying the Christian right’s alleged hostility to church-state separation. They claim strong religious belief leads to oppression, tyranny, and violence.

They even suggest the mere defense of absolute truth is dangerous. Alan Hurwitz of North Star Writers Group, wrote, “One thing I do know — the pursuit of ‘truth,’ as in mine over yours, creates conflict and isolation among individuals, groups, and societies. I am secular enough to think those are bad things. Religious zealots, ‘knowers of truth . . . often have a scary gleam in their eyes . . . The challenge of dealing with rigid manifestations of religious ‘truth’ is one of management leadership — how to create societies that allow diverse groups to believe and act on their truth, without hurting each other.” Note this is not some Christian talking about creating societies and exerting control.

The secularists demanding the removal of specks from Christians’ eyes are oblivious to the planks in their own. Their paranoid predispositions about Christians lead them to the very type of oppressive behavior they wrongly ascribe to Christians. If anyone is guilty of wanting to foreclose debate and impose their values on others, it is these hyperventilating secularists.”

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How Now Shall We Live? By Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey

August 28, 2007

This is a MUST read for all Christians.  It is an incredibly powerful book that I highly recommend.  There is also a study guide for this book that I recommend as well.  This book examines the great spiritual battle today that is a cosmic struggle between competing worldviews.  The authors utilize true stories and compelling teaching to demonstrate the following:

– Expose false views and values of modern culture

– Live a more fulfilling life the way God created us to live

– Contend for the faith by understanding how nonbelievers think

– Build a society that reflects biblical principles

I ran across a review on amazon.com that I thought really did a great job of capturing the core of the book.  It is below.   

5 out of 5 Stars – The Way We See The World Can Change The World, June 21, 2006

“Centuries ago, when the Jews were in exile and despair, they cried out to God, “How should we then live?” The same question rings down through the ages. How shall we live today? Pearcey and Colson’s primary observation is that “the way we see the world can change the world.” (pg. 13) This is because our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, or good and beautiful. In short, our choices are shaped by what Pearcey and Colson call our “worldview.”Every worldview attempts to answer three basic questions: (1) Where did we come from and who are we? (2) What has gone wrong with the world? And (3) What can we do to fix it? According to Colson and Pearcey, the culture wars are not about extraneous issues like abortion or public education. Fundamentally, they are about worldviews–between competing secular and spiritual answers to those three basic questions.

The demise of objective truth, profoundly expressed in the halls of academia, also extends into the popular press and culture. The result has been a postmodern worldview which embraces relativism and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender, and ethnicity. Under this view, the world is just a power struggle for meaningless prizes. Their one absolute is that morality is not absolute. Other existing worldviews include “traditionalism,” found in many small towns filled with churches; and modernism, found among pragmatic social and business leaders interested in personal material gain, but less interested in philosophical questions and social issues. Against this backdrop, Christians are challenged to provide answers to those three basic questions in a compelling manner.

C. S. Lewis observed, “The Christian and the materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They both can’t be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.” Thus Colson and Pearcy observe that choices are not without consequences. The Christian worldview says we were created by God. Compelling evidence that life does not have a random origin can be found in the current arguments for intelligent design. Christianity claims that God created the universe with a material order and a moral order. If we live contrary to that order, we sin against God. Thus, what has gone wrong with the universe is human sin.

The way to redeem our culture is to help people realize which universe they’re living in. If it’s a materialist’s universe, then the answers don’t revolve around taking moral principles seriously. But if the real universe was made with a moral law (as Colson and Pearcey argue), then it stands to reason that the solutions to our problems begin with recognizing that fact, and taking steps to educate people in ways that will help them live lives that are not inimical to the way we were designed to live. This, Colson and Pearcey argue, is how we should live.”

For more information on Charles Colson visit his website at www.breakpoint.org and for more information on Nancy Pearcey visit her website at www.pearceyreport.com.


No Doubt About It: The Case for Christianity By Dr. Winfried Corduan

August 28, 2007

This book is an excellent introduction to apologetics.  A wide range of issues related to the Christian faith are covered in a simple, clear and effective manner.   

Some of the topics included are the following: 

– Faith, Reason and Doubt

– Truth, Knowledge and Relativism

– Testing Worldviews

– Worldviews in Trouble

– The Existence of God

– God and Evil

– Miracles: Liability and Asset

– The New Testament and History

– Who Is Jesus?

– From Christ to Christianity

– Truth and Our Culture 

I highly recommend this book to Christians interested in defending their faith as well as to any skeptics struggling with the above topics.  For more information on Dr. Corduan visit his website at http://members.tripod.com/~Win_Corduan/cv.html.


True for You, But Not for Me: Deflating the Slogans that Leave Christians Speechless By Dr. Paul Copan

August 28, 2007

 

This is a short book at 192 pages but it is very, very powerful.  Since reading it I have become a huge fan of Paul Copan’s work and am now reading his other books.  This book provides solid, logical, and well reasoned responses to defeat popular slogans that non-believers use to attack Christianity.  It is a must read for all Christians. 

Some of the topics included are the following: 

“That’s True for You, But Not for Me”

– “So Many People Disagree – Relativism Must Be True”

– “You’re Just Using Western Logic”

– “Christians Are Intolerant of Other Viewpoints!”

– “What Right Do You Have to Convert Others to Your Views?”

– “Your Values Are Right for You, But Not for Me”

– “Who Are You to Say Another Culture’s Values Are Wrong?”

– “You Have the Right to Choose Your Own Values”

– “We Act Morally Because of Biological Evolution or Social Conditioning”

– “To Be Good, We Don’t Need God”

– “Christianity Is Arrogant and Imperialistic”

– “If You Grew Up in India, You’d Be a Hindu”

– “Mahatma Gandhi Was a Saint If Ever There Was One”

– “You Can’t Trust the Gospels. They’re Unreliable”

– “Jesus’ Followers Fabricated the Stories and Sayings of Jesus”

– “Jesus Is Just Like Any Other Great Religious Leader”

– “People Claim JFK and Elvis Are Alive, Too!”

– “But Jesus Never Said, ‘I am God’”

– “If Jesus Is the Only Way to God, What About Those Who Have Never Heard of Him?”

– “It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe –as Long as You’re Sincere”

– “Who Needs Jesus? And How Are They Going to Find Out About Him?”

– “Why Can’t We Simply Give People the Gospel?” 

I highly recommend this book.  For more information on Dr. Copan visit his website at www.paulcopan.com.

 


The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? By Dr. Voddie Baucham

August 28, 2007

This is an excellent introduction to understanding the culture/spiritual war that is raging in our society. 

The core message of this book is that we live in a post-modern/post-Christian culture that embraces all lifestyles and religions and rejects the idea of absolute truth.  Our faith is constantly challenged by a culture that uses words such as narrow-minded, intolerant, and bigoted to describe us. We must take a stand and challenge the culture instead of conforming to it.  We must use the unchanging truth of God’s Word to engage the culture for transformation.  As Dr. Baucham writes, “the unchanging truth of God’s Word still holds preeminence in relevance and answers to contemporary life issues” and “as followers of Christ, we must stand humbly but boldly in the marketplace of ideas and proclaim the truth to a culture void of everlasting answers”. 

Although the book is only 210 pages, Dr. Baucham covers a lot of ground and very effectively conveys his message in a simple, logical and relevant way.  This is a very important book for all Christians to read in order to begin to understand the dynamics of the culture war.  I highly recommend it.  For more information on Dr. Baucham visit his website at www.voddiebaucham.org.


Truth and Tolerance

July 24, 2007

By Josh McDowell.

“Josh McDowell describes the definition of tolerance today, as well as the implications it has on Christianity and society.

My son Sean was a high school senior when I asked, “Son, in 12 years of public school, were you ever taught that anything is absolutely true?”

“Sure,” he said.

Surprised, I asked him what absolute truth he had learned.

He shrugged. “Tolerance.”

I have since discovered that Sean’s experience is common. Tolerance has become the cardinal virtue, the sole absolute of our society, and our children hear it preached every day in school and from government and the media. Yet few of us understand what society really means by tolerance, nor do we realize that it is the central doctrine of an entire cultural movement. As a result, few of us recognize the threat it poses to us, our children, our churches and our very faith.

One word, two meanings

The traditional definition of tolerance means simply to recognize and respect others’ beliefs, practices, and so forth without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing with them. This attitude, that everyone has a right to his own opinion, is what tolerance means to most of us.

But today’s definition is vastly different. This new tolerance means to consider every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyle and truth claims as equally valid. So not only does everyone have an equal right to his beliefs, but all beliefs are equal. The new tolerance goes beyond respecting a person’s rights; it demands praise and endorsement of that person’s beliefs, values and lifestyle.

I believe that fundamental change in meaning — and thinking — represents one of the greatest shifts in history, and most people are missing it.

Dangerous times

This new tolerance has many dangerous implications, and unless Christian churches and families recognize and respond to it, the beginning of the next millennium is likely to be marked by:

The repression of public discourse. For decades, I have addressed millions of high school and college students about Jesus Christ and the historical evidence for His life and resurrection. As might be expected, I would often be heckled by people saying such things as, “Prove it!” and “I don’t believe you.” But recently I have witnessed a startling shift. Now my attacker invariably says, “How dare you say that?” or “Who do you think you are?” The issue is no longer the truth of the message, but the right to proclaim it. In the new cultural climate, any unpopular message can be labeled “intolerant” and therefore be repressed.

The privatization of convictions. Because the new tolerance declares all beliefs equally valid, Christians will face increasing pressure to be silent about their convictions — in school, at work, in the public square — because to speak out will be seen as an intolerant judgment of others’ beliefs and lifestyles.

Such pressure will pose severe problems not only for us, but for our families and children as well, as illustrated in the case of Shannon Berry, a first grader at Bayshore Elementary School in Bradenton, Fla. Shannon and a classmate began talking at recess one day about their mutual faith in Christ. A teacher, overhearing the conversation, drew aside both of them and reprimanded the two first-graders, telling them that they were not allowed to talk about Jesus at school. The rise of the new tolerance makes the sharing of our faith an increasingly dangerous proposition.

A new wave of religious persecution. For years I puzzled over why a crucifix, a Christian symbol, suspended in a jar of urine is considered art, yet displaying a homosexual symbol in a jar of urine would be decried as a hate crime. That paradox reflects our society’s shift from a Judeo-Christian culture to an increasingly and aggressively anti-Judeo-Christian culture. As the new tolerance permeates our culture, a new wave of unpopularity — and even persecution — is likely to be encountered, not only by Christians, by also by observant Jews and possibly Muslims, because these faiths profess to be based on divine revelation.

In fact, just last April President Clinton announced a public-private partnership with companies such as AT&T, known for its aggressive support of homosexual rights, to teach “tolerance” to middle school children. The President linked so-called “hate crimes” to intolerance and said, “The No. 1 security threat to [our nation] is the persistence of old, even primitive hatreds.”

What does the Lord require?

It is not too late to avoid such scenarios, but I believe doing so will require effort in three areas:

We must humbly pursue truth. It may be difficult to speak the truth in today’s climate, but Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” Pursuing truth in this context means countering the new doctrine of tolerance. It means teaching our children to embrace all people, but not all beliefs. It means showing them how to listen to and learn from all people without necessarily agreeing with them. It means helping them courageously but humbly speak the truth, even if it makes them the object of scorn or hatred.

We must always remember, however, that when the apostle Peter told us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” he added, “But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

We must aggressively practice love. Everyone loves love, it seems, but few recognize how incompatible love is with the new tolerance. Tolerance simply avoids offending someone; we must help our children live in love, which actively seeks to promote the good of another person.

Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.”

Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced ‘the truth will set you free.’ ”

Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”

Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.

I believe the dreadful potential of the new tolerance can be averted, but only with a renewed commitment to truth, justice and love. And, as it happens, that powerful trio of virtues can do more than prevent disaster; it can bring about true community and culture in the midst of diversity and disagreement.”