Friday, November 6, 2015

Christian vs. Secular Ideology: The Power of the Resurrection

Chicago, IL - CC, no attribution required via Pixabay
There is a war on today.  It's not a war of guns or bombs, but a war of ideas.  The war is about worldview.  The war is about the course of human history.  The war is about religion and the eviction of God from modern society.  

Battles rage on the horizon at this very moment.  We can hear the echoes and thuds in the distance.  We can feel the reverberations.  We can smell the tension in the air.  

The battle is waged by major media outlets, television networks, church organizations, charities,  psychology organizations, scientific think tanks, atheist groups, corporations, big businesses, banks, neighborhood churches, universities, seminaries, and a thousand other institutions and enterprises.  

The ideologies are extremely wide ranging within such a massive expose' of entities.  But one side seeks to quietly evict God from all aspects of modern society.  They want to put any of religious leanings out of government, out of the public sector, and simply out of society.  You could call it secularization, the eviction of religious thought.  It's a battle of ideology.  The other side wants to keep reference to God in government.  They want the freedom to practice faith in public, at any time they choose.  They want religious people to have a respected and honored place in society.  They want the freedom to share their faith while at work, or at home, or at the store or anywhere else.  They want a nation that honors God.

We see the battle on the national stage on a daily basis.  It seems to be a constant battle for the moral high ground.  Who is abusing who?  Which side is right and which side is wrong?  Who is the victim?  Who needs to be protected?  Both sides fight for the moral high ground, for the sympathy of the great silent majority.  

Who will win?  I have no idea.  Maybe left, maybe right, maybe neither.  Throughout the history of the United States there have been great divides within the ranks of the citizenry.  Think of the revolutionary war and the contentions between loyalists and revolutionaries. Think of the great debate over slavery.  Think of the war between the north and the south during the civil war.  Think of the civil rights movements.  And think of today, in the war of ideas fought between the progressive left and the conservative right.  

There are certainly noble causes on both sides of the aisle.  In the past I supported mainly liberal causes.  I was a member of the Sierra Club.  I helped with the Wal Mart protests and helped workers fight for wages that were fair so they wouldn't all have to be on welfare while working full time hours at a rich business.  I've helped with causes on  I fought against the citizens united ruling.  I stood up for Net neutrality.  Those were and are all good and noble causes.  I participated at the local protest against the corrupt business practices of Monsanto in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.  I'm skeptical of GMOs, and I'm also skeptical of groups who say more government is the answer to some of these issues.  I've also supported anti-war groups and stood against unnecessary wars and excessive military spending.

Yet I've also stood for many conservative causes.  I donate to and support Alliance defending Freedom, Liberty Institute, and the ACLJ.  I stand for religious liberty and the right to practice faith in all areas of life.  I'm an advocate for the organization "Abolish human abortion."  I support Gospel for Asia and Compassion International.  I receive newsletters from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.  I also support the causes behind Liberty Counsel, and I receive their newsletter.  I've given to CRU, and advocated for groups like the Veritas Forum, RZIM, Reasonable Faith, and Cross Examined.  I've stood against Planned Parenthood.  I've advocated for conservative economic policy.  I've fought for a natural view of marriage, of one man and one woman.  I'm a firm advocate of Liberty University.  I support conservative organizations like the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, Thrivent Financial, and the Heritage Foundation.

We have to ask ourselves, what spurs us to do right and to do wrong?  Is it conditions?  Is it society?  Is it our upbringing?  I'm sure those things do contribute.  Yet there is one factor that seems to build into everything.  It upsets every system.  It corrupts every process.  It pushes every nation off course from prosperity.  That is the human capacity for evil.  We have an inordinate desire to do wrong.  But it's more complicated than that.  It's not that we're just simply evil.  Most of us want to do the right thing.  We really really do.  But there is another force in there that upsets our good intentions.  There is an allurement that takes us off course, every time.  And terrible things happen as a result.  

The point is simple: We want to do the right thing.  But we can't.  Something else is at work within us.  The truth is we need a savior.  We need a spirit beyond our spirit to come within us, and help us to overcome our own harmful desires.  It's not an easy thing to admit.  But it's the truth.  

Thankfully we do have a savior and his name is Jesus Christ.  The power of the resurrection is the power of Jesus Christ to give life to those who are in need of it.  All of us fear death, but in Christ we need never fear again. 

The power of the resurrection has changed the world forever.  It led to the birth of orphanages, hospitals, and universities.  It led entire generations to turn from their selfish desires and seek to live in a God-loving biblical manner.  It led to the founding of organizations like the Red Cross, Goodwill, YMCA, and of course the Salvation Army. 

Without the resurrection the world would be a very different place.  It would be a very dark place.  We can only imagine what it might be like.   

Western civilization has come together in a way where there is a great deal of prosperity and liberty.  Think back to the time of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The world was chaotic and authoritarian.  Then came the disciples of Christ, the followers of the way, bringing salt and light to an ancient civilization called the Roman empire.  At first followers of the way were persecuted, hated, murdered, and eventually exterminated in massive persecutions.  But eventually the Roman empire was transformed by the power of the gospel. 

In the United States in the 1700s something very special happened.  The persecuted of Europe took to the United States to be free to conduct their religious beliefs in the way they saw fit.  The grand experiment took place, of a free nation, creating their own Constitution.  The result was one of the most prosperous and free nations the world had ever seen.  In all these things was the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the power to change the character of people.  One person at a time the message transformed cultures and societies.  Today we live in the result of the power of the resurrection to guide a nation.  If our nation ever turns from the gospel, the results could be terrible.  Think of the secular revolution in France just after the American revolution.  What did they often say?  "Heads will roll" and they certainly did.  Without an outside reference to base all beliefs on, natural law, then there is nothing but a subjective vacuous morality pinned to the changing moods of the populous of a nation.  Hope and pray that America never turns from her foundation, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

The power of the resurrection is to transform cultures and nations.  Yet even more so the power of the resurrection is the power to make dead people live forever.  Amen. 

Source via Google Images CC 2.0 by Jubilee Lewis

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