Escaping the “In” Crowd

There is no doubt that society is sharply divided over many issues these days. Debates blaze hotter as major elections loom ever nearer. Usually, the topics that elicit the more emotional responses from folks are those that involve a moral element (or a perceived lack thereof). This has been going on since the dawn of man and it will continue until the end of human history.

These days, political correctness is the sought-after gold standard in Hollywood and in the popular media. If anyone dares to declare a legal behavior “wrong,” they are labeled as a “bigot,” “racist,” or “religious fundamentalist.” Nevermind that these labels are incorrectly applied in many (more likely, most) cases. The stigma such accusations carry is powerful and Christians respond in various ways. A precious few see the fallacy and stand up to it; a larger portion decide to keep their views to themselves. Sadly, it seems that a growing number of Christians have abandoned important parts of the Christian worldview so that they can embrace the celebrated opinions of secular society. We now have believers promoting causes such as abortion, choosing to reinterpret or disregard biblical teachings that prohibit such a horrific practice. That’s just one example.

;

Why has the desire to conform to ever-changing popular opinion overruled a moral system based on absolute truth and values? Is it an utter misunderstanding of the concepts of compassion, love, and justice? Is it intellectual laziness that prevents self-described Christians from evaluating their worldview to see if it is coherent, to see if it is consistent with Scripture and with their deepest core beliefs about man and God? Or, is it something much worse, a desire to fit in with the “in” crowd? We need to spend some time closely examining our viewpoints on the controversial issues of our day and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to follow suit.

Today I came across this relevant passage in Bioethics: A Primer for Christians by Gilbert Meilaender:

Our background beliefs are commonly held at a kind of pre-articulate level. We take them in with the air we breathe, drink them in from the surrounding culture. It is, therefore, useful sometimes to call to mind simply and straightforwardly certain basic elements in a Christian vision of the world–to remind ourselves of how contrary to the assumptions of our culture that vision may be.

Indeed.

I live on the outside of the “in” crowd. My views on many things draw criticism and ugly ridicule quite frequently. But you know what? No vocal, committed Christian in history has had a different experience than this, I’m willing to bet. The first Christians endured it, and the last earthly ones will, too.

This is what I hold on to:

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

——Matthew 5:10

6 thoughts on “Escaping the “In” Crowd

  1. Your assertion that there are 2 choices is erroneous. In fact, there is only 1, and that choice is to Love each person with the same love and mercy, which the Father has shown us. This Love is the only real gift we can give to the Father.

    • Clyde, I choose to disagree. I wish to assert that your assertion that Melissa’s assertion is erroneous is, in fact, erroneous. ;> As long as there is free will — whether libertarian or compatibilist — there are choices. However, when there is a moral element, there may be only one *right* choice.

  2. Preach it, sister!

    The first thing I thought of while reading was a friend of mine — not close, mostly FB — who has and supports gay friends. (I have a couple gay friends on FB but make it clear that I don’t approve of their lifestyle.) She is an “orthodox” Christian in most ways (I think), leads worship, etc. But, she somehow became close to a few people in the LGBT community over the years. Sometime ago, I made my case against SSM on her FB page, and (naturally) encountered a lot of pushback. Actually, it was quite civil, so it could have gone a lot worse. I think she was trying to understand my points, but her other friends did most of the arguing. What was frustrating was that my friend and some of the other commenters are professed, evangelical Christians who can’t/won’t see that the strongest case is *against* SSM and homosexual behavior. (I actually stuck to a non-Biblical case, in order to not be accused by non-Christians of making a solely religious argument and quoting the Bible, which they don’t hold as authoritative.)

    I think the main problem is that, in addition to the point you make about wanting to be accepted by the culture, she does not want to go through the pain of “rejecting” and possibly losing her gay friends if/when she were to truly (and publicly) accept not only the “secular” case but clear Biblical teaching on this.

  3. Melissa,

    Well said! I am working on a book that addresses the very topic you raise: Why are Christians so embarrassed of their faith? Why do they back down so quickly and so readily accept secular positions on almost every issue? I think there are many reasons, including ignorance of the principle doctrines of their own faith; a blind acceptance of scientific materialism; the pervasive influence of a secular view of the Enlightenment; the fear of ridicule from their teachers, colleagues, and classmates; and the secular culture that attacks Christianity not so much with reasoned analysis but with simple ridicule and contempt. I hope to address all those issues in my book. Keep up the good work!

    Mark A. Stelter, author, The Gospel According to Christ

    • I agree Mark. Thanks for checking out my post. It was kind of a late-night throw-together, because I couldn’t stop thinking about that bioethics book quote. Insomnia waiting to happen. 🙂 Anyway, I think you might really like Rodney Stark’s book, For the Glory of God. It talks about the skewed view of the so-called “Dark Ages” and of the Enlightenment.

Comments are closed.