October 8, 2007

Christians, Democracy, and Unbelief

A Crosswalk blogpost by Michael Craven asks the question, are Christians contributing to unbelief? He discusses the influences of recent books written by atheists Dawkins, Hutchins, et al, and wonders why people who profess some kind of belief in God are persuaded to pick up these books. He talked to David Kuo about this:
According to Kuo, a self-professed conservative Christian, growing interest in questions about God's existence may be the result of a "backlash against the mingling of religion, politics and public policy," and this idea that "Jesus was about a particular conservative political agenda." In essence, he means that the actions of some Christians may be encouraging the spiritual seeker to further doubt the existence of God.
He asks the reader to to immediately dismiss Kuo's statement, and by asking
Could it be that our own actions are causing the religiously-inclined but nonetheless lost to doubt the existence of God? Is it possible that the Church is pushing people toward unbelief by virtue of its approach to culture and the world? Has Christianity become so politically defined that true faith and the person of Jesus Christ is obscured in the minds of many? Is it possible that Christians are conducting themselves in such a way that the spiritually seeking are looking anywhere but to Christ? I don't know for sure but I certainly think it is possible and that is enough to make me examine my self in light of these questions. It should cause us all to examine ourselves.
There's a lot of meat in this blogpost, and a lot of good things are mentioned such as the churches come hither attitude rather than having an intentional missional focus. He also draws attention to the church's embrace business methods such that the church resembles a "well-ordered corporation" with no need for God. But I do take issue with a portion of the above quote where he asks "Has Christianity become so politically defined that true faith and the person of Jesus Christ is obscured in the minds of many?"

All persons have the potential to be political because everyone generally has an opinion on an issue facing our world - whether all of our opinoins are valid or well-grounded is another issue. But why is it the Christian's responsibility to appear apolitical when the needs of our culture not only need to be addressed by the church, but sometimes we must involve ourselves in such a way to secure the protections and helps that are needed by so many people? Christians - like any other group of people, may err in their approach to political issues, but Christians and Christian views ought not be forbidden from being a part of the processes of our democratic society. I'm sorry if the errs Christians do make causes anyone to question the integrity of the institution, but I'm not convinced that uninvolving ourselves will make us more "attractive" and, like Craven, I don't think being more attractive is our job. The gospel is our purpose, but we're also called to protect the vulnerable in our society. I think uninvolving ourselves from the democratic process will only benefit our opponents and weaken our testimony to those who depend upon the church as their advocate.

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