Friday, June 17, 2011

In Defense of Faith - day 6

Christians and people motivated by the Judeo-Christian worldview have been at the forefront of moral activism throughout human history, certainly more so since the addition of "Christian" to Judeo-Christian. Yet their reputation has taken a beating and now atheists howl that "religion poisons everything." This mischaracterization can be largely traced back to the Scopes Trial of 1925.

Reporter H.L. Mencken covered the famous trial between those who wanted to promote evolution in school as a fact and the Christians who rightly recognized the dangerous outcomes of such an idea - social Darwinism, divisions of humanity, genocide, slavery, eugenics. A bitter foe of Christians and their representative at the trial, William Jennings Bryan, Mencken painted these foreward thinking believers as buffoons and worse. He stereotyped and caricatured those who had spent their lives dedicated to helping the downtrodden. As a result, Christianity experienced a major turning point.

Christians had been at the lead in every major fight for justice, but with the rejection and mischaracterizations now widespread in the media, this activism "came to an abrupt halt." They would not rise from the ashes for another 50 years. And when they did, the culture around them had changed in huge ways. The sleeping giant awoke to a nation with legalized abortion, no prayer in schools, and traditional society in upheaval. While they initially retook their role of champion for justice with an anger borne of great fear, the tone has come down in recent years. Christians are once again at the front of the pack in speaking up for the poor, the orphaned, and the widow.

Both believers and non-believers need to approach our current world with humility. Christians must recognize with pride the role they have played in history as advocates for the downtrodden, but at the same time recognize that in their zealousness, they can do more harm than good. In addition, at no time in history have all Christians been the reformers. Many times Christians battled Christians. Atheists must recognize their extremely limited role in the historic fight for human sanctity and their part in the worst massacres. They must acknowledge and respect the believers who are even today leading the charge. In fact most non-believer activists are actually motivated by their own victimhood rather than a pure altruistic "disinterested benevolence." We cannot rely on only the victims of injustice to lead the fight. We must have those who are willing to battle because it is the right thing to do. We create that mindset with the inculcation of the Judeo-Christian worldview.

Moving forward, Christians must answer the call of their sacred text, to recognize and fight for the sanctity of ALL human life, fight for justice (true justice, not the bastardized "social justice"), and act with disinterested benevolence. We must answer Wesley's call to:
"Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
To all the people you can
For as long as you ever can."
Our Judeo-Christian faith requires it.

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