The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Culture Wars

Ronald Reagan was the antichrist.

Barack Obama is conducting a war against Christianity.

Anyone who believes humans are causing global warming is a left-wing, socialist, environmental wacko.

Anyone who doesn’t believe humans are causing global warming is an ignoramus.

Christians who accept an old Earth or evolution are either dangerous compromisors, or maybe not Christians at all.

Young-Earth creationists are just plain stupid.

I’ve heard all of these, and much more, from Christians.

I get weary of the “culture wars” that pervade much of our society and the Christian church, whether in politics, the environment, origins (creation and evolution), or even theology.

What I get tired of is not the debate—I have strong thoughts on some of these issues—but the level of acrimony and demonization that characterizes much of the debate, even among Christians.

It is good to be passionate and zealous, as long as we are passionate and zealous about things that are primary, rather than secondary or tertiary in importance, and that we play by Biblical rules of integrity, love, and humility.

C. John Collins has a good section on “culture wars” in Chapter 20 of Science & Faith: Friends or Foes:

 It’s pretty common to hear that we’re in a culture war—the traditionalists and the secularists are fighting over who will control the culture. There is a sense in which the image is right: as we will see in the next chapter, there are worldviews that are at odds with each other, and therefore it’s no surprise that we find conflict. The image is a dangerous one, though, because it can lead us to look at everything in combatant terms: people who disagree with us become our enemies, and we have to defeat them. If you are my enemy, and I am a Christian, then—even if you’re a Christian too—you must be morally defective.

Three further dangers follow from this warfare imagery. The first is that we can forget that worldviews involve not just philosophical positions but also moral commitments; and that back behind unbelief there lies a demonic enslaver. As Paul put it in Ephesians 6,

12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm… 18[Pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

There is a spiritual component to this battle; and therefore, all our intellectual efforts must express our faithfulness to Christ and must be bathed in prayer. We must never use the weapons of unbelief—dishonesty, slander, name-calling, and so on. The second danger, related to the first, is that we can forget that the unbeliever is not the person we’re fighting against; rather, he is the person we are fighting for: that is, the purpose of all this is to free people from their slavery to the Devil. The third danger that arises is that we can forget that any Christian—and any Christian church—always has only a partial grasp of a fully Christian worldview; and even those parts that we grasp rightly, we practice only partly. So some of our “warfare” ought to be against our own imperfections!

The warfare image is a biblical one, to be sure; but we will do well to be careful how we use it.

[bold emphasis added]

I will be passionate and zealous about things that I believe are both true and of supreme importance, such as the existence of God, the sinfulness of Man, and in Jesus Christ as the only bridge between man and God. Many of these “primary” things of life are expressed in the ancient creeds of the Church.

I will also be passionate and zealous about some secondary issues—such as the age of the Earth, the importance of good stewardship of the Earth, political conservatism that embraces things worth conserving (Earth, family) rather than propping up greed—though my level of enthusiasm will vary from topic to topic.

I will try to discern what is primary, and what is secondary. I will fail at this sometimes.

I will not demonize you or hate you if you differ from me. In fact, I cherish diversity in these areas, and am enriched not only by those with whom I agree, but also by those with whom I differ.

Grace and Peace.

March 18, 2012 - Posted by | Apologetics, Christianity, Creation Care, Environment, Origins, Politics |

14 Comments »

  1. Well fiddlesticks. You’re no fun. How do you ever expect to be come a Christian Superstar if you aren’t constantly attracting attention with dramatic and extreme statements?!

    Come on. You need to raise awareness of these very important issues and the role you play in them. I suggest a whole sermon series on sex complete with lots of illustrations. That will really open people’s eyes to the horrid danger posed by … um, … whatever it is you talk about.

    . . . . . Maybe that wouldn’t work out very well. There’s only one thing to do, then. You need to drop your focus on science or the Bible or whatever, and put it where you can attract the most attention – sex. That’s the best way to gain the celebrity status you need to be a celebrity.

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | March 19, 2012

  2. WebMonk:

    I just might write about sex sometime. I won’t steer clear of controversy; I just won’t hate those who disagree with me.

    Here’s a starter — God created sex, and it was part of his good creation. Sex is still good, even though it, like everything else in our lives, is tainted with sin. God’s original design for sex still stands: one man, one woman, married to one another for life. Everything outside of this is sin. You cannot get around that as a Christian.

    I will respect those who disagree with me as those who are created in the image of God. I will still call sin a sin (in my own life as well). I won’t go along with the promotion of sinful lifestyles, such as fornication or homosexuality, as acceptable within the church.

    Grace and Peace

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | March 19, 2012

  3. No, no, no!! You’re doing it all wrong!

    You need to have all sorts of double-meaning titles for your sex talks, lots of “nitty-gritty” talk of the titillating aspects of sex, and don’t forget to have the requisite shocker statements about how yes it is just fine for Christians to spice up their love life by using a monkey and a greased up egg beater!

    If you’re going to be all “responsible” or something like that you’ll never make it to where you can start your own reality TV show and rake in millions of dollars all for the glory of God!

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | March 19, 2012

  4. WebMonk:

    “GeoChristian–The Reality Show.” I hadn’t thought of that.

    Here’s a good idea: How about a road trip where we take along a geology road log, discussing the details of the landscape and geology along each route. “At mile marker 134 is a good exposure of the Mississippian Lodgepole formation…”

    I don’t know that it would be “nitty-gritty” but it could at least be “gritty.”

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | March 20, 2012

  5. […] Culture Wars […]

    Like

    Pingback by CULTURE WAR EXPRESS « Fr. Orthohippo | March 22, 2012

  6. I don’t know that it would be “nitty-gritty” but it could at least be “gritty.”

    GROAN!!!

    :-D

    Like

    Comment by WebMonk | March 23, 2012

  7. For your consideration and comment.

    In my opinion Rick Santorum is the most divisive presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime and possibly the most in American history. His far reaching constitutional overtures, couched in moral righteousness, seems to me, to be escaping under the radar of the common “culture wars”. The fact that so called evangelicals embrace this guy is both embarrassing and very suspicious. I have recently listened to a catholic radio program bemoaning the five hundredth anniversary of the protestant, as they called it “experiment” and how most Catholic’s woes are the result of this secular/protestant environment, which permits such ills as abortion and birth control. They went on to imply that Mr. Santorum was their big hope in rectifying this situation.

    Like

    Comment by Ormonde | March 25, 2012

  8. Rick Santorum is an absolute idiot! Is comment that climate scientists are like Pharisees is just another insane inversion of reality by an ideologially-blinded hypocrite:
    http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-seven-woes-of-the-tea-party/

    A very good book for de-fusing the culture war is Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists versus God and Religion, by Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas, which looks at the life and work of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Gould, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Edward Wilson. (I was lucky – I stumbled upon it while visiting the wonderful Art Deco Guildford Cathedral – where The Omen was once filmed…!)

    Like

    Comment by Martin Lack | March 26, 2012

  9. I read your post last Sunday, on the day after the large atheist rally in D.C. As it happened, my son (who is a nonbeliever) was offended by the title of the rally, the “Reason Rally,” because he felt it was arrogant and untrue to assume that all nonbelievers are committed to reason, or that all Christians are not. We are compelled to act on many issues without an absolute answer. Will we circumcise our baby? Infant baptism, or not? Is abortion a sin?

    It is a very good thing to approach those decisions with humility. The dogma of one age is the quaint mythology of the next. But, decide we must. We do the best we can.

    Like

    Comment by rodjean | March 26, 2012

  10. Hi,
    Just a comment for Martin, I don’t think that calling a rally for Atheists the “Reason Rally” isnecessarilyy designed to offend, as Atheists (And I am one) We are compelled to use reason when weighing up the important aspects of life, people who have a faith, be it christian, muslim or whatever (I don’t distinguish) will frequently fall back on the bible or koran etc and say “look God says” or”God did it” We obviously must weigh things in a different way and if the answers have not been found yet, look at the besthypothesiss through reason.
    I have no problem with people holding faitralliesys (As long as they are not rallying to impose their faith on me) and I think it is only fair to allow Atheists the best descriptive term for theiapproachch to life.

    Like the Blog by the way, good luck persuading your creationist kin, I think you are going to learn a lot of patience.
    Just passing through, not here to argue, just thought it was worth noting.
    Goodbye.

    Like

    Comment by phinch | April 4, 2012

  11. Apolagies, spellcheck massacre above, Cleaned up here.

    Hi,
    Just a comment for Martin, I don’t think that calling a rally for Atheists the “Reason Rally” is necessarily designed to offend, as Atheists (And I am one) We are compelled to use reason when weighing up the important aspects of life, people who have a faith, be it christian, muslim or whatever (I don’t distinguish) will frequently fall back on the bible or koran etc and say “look God says” or”God did it” We obviously must weigh things in a different way and if the answers have not been found yet, look at the best hypothesis through reason.
    I have no problem with people holding faith rallies (As long as they are not rallying to impose their faith on me) and I think it is only fair to allow Atheists the best descriptive term for their approach to life.

    Like the Blog by the way, good luck persuading your creationist kin, I think you are going to learn a lot of patience.
    Just passing through, not here to argue, just thought it was worth noting.

    Like

    Comment by phinch | April 4, 2012

  12. phinch:

    Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the comment.

    The atheists can call their rally whatever they want, but they are mistaken if they think that they have a corner on reason. I, along with many others, find atheism to be rather unreasonable.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | April 4, 2012

  13. Sorry I know I was on my way, but Atheism is simply the state of not believing in any deity or supernatural power, perfectly reasonable.
    I wonder if the previous poster was confusing atheism with secularism, something I also fully support, but much more likely something people would march for. I have always felt that the secular way is the best way foreward for everyone, equality is a worthwhile goal.

    I know I was just passing by and if you prefer an Atheist does not comment here please say so and I will take no offence, but I think if you are going to call a simple disbelief,the default position if you like, unreasonable, it requires some supporting narrative.

    Like

    Comment by phinch | April 5, 2012

  14. The culture warriors want to pin you into tidy categories and if you don’t “fit”, then something is wrong with you. If a conservative hears that you are a Christian, but you believe the earth is old, you will be dismissed as a liberal and probably be de-fellowshiped. If a liberal hears that you accept modern science, he will be mystified if you don’t believe Jesus’ resurrection is just a myth. If a fundamentalist hears you are against abortion, he won’t understand why you don’ want to ban, say, alcohol. If a liberal hears you don’t support Rick Santorum, he will be confused why you don’t support gay “marriage”. If a conservative hears you are against some sweetheart deal some Republicans want to give to a particular business at the taxpayers’ expense, he will assume you are anti-business. If a leftist hears you are against this deal, he will be confused if you aren’t anti-capitalist.

    I am tired of the anti-intellectualism that is often on the right and i am tired of the narrow, Marxist-based fundamentalism that the left is captive of. I really am tired of the litmus tests, at least when it is over some silly or manufactured issue. That is not to say there are not important issues that people should be polarized over. I feel more and more like I am a man without a country because I try to think for myself and not let propaganda manipulate me.

    Like

    Comment by Jacob | May 5, 2012


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