Poll says American Youth Waning on Christianity – Secularism Edges Forward
by Rev Michael Bresciani
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If we put two coins on a table, one new and shiny but only worth its face value and another that is old worn and dull, which one will a child pick if they are told to choose one for themselves? You guessed it; they will always choose the shiny new coin. Youthful idealism sees the pristine and shiny condition of the coin compulsively. The other coin could be a priceless rare mint but a child hasn’t the knowledge or the patients to search for the truth that might lead them to discover this highly important difference.
In today’s system of education and learning we still appeal to youthful idealism and that compunction to choose the shiny and new. The only difference today is that with the emergence of all that is called or related to “political correctness” the thrust of secular humanism’s teaching is based only on what has been proscribed, slanted or wholly founded on a Godless world view. More than a trend this has become the order of the day. It has become that “authority” that is conspicuously overlooked even as the young are urged to question all authority.
The call to question authority is a two sided blade and the greatest danger to a completely Godless system of education. Some of those told to question all authority will question the government mandated Dewey system of modern education and will inevitably discover that the drive for academic excellence or grade point averages or future security was missing something they cannot live without.
When some of those individuals find the morality, the character and the God who demands it they will not only feel betrayed and robbed, they will also become his best examples. To the world they will look like sheep but in their willingness to hold their lives up against any other way they become God’s lions.
In the latest “Barna Report” issued in October 2007 a disturbing trend is noted among American youth between the ages of 16 and 29. The report says that this group is less inclined to see Christianity as a viable and attractive religion. Some of the reasons stated are that Christianity is old fashioned, hypocritical, too judgmental and overly involved in politics.
As for “old fashioned” that may very well be a compliment. Christ said that heaven and earth would pass away but his words will abide forever. Throwing out the old has no more promise than cutting down old trees. It doesn’t make our world any better and the Chinese revolution under Mao could serve as one perfect example of this fact.
Our youth have been robbed of one supremely important fact regarding God’s word or instructions for humanity. Put simply, his word is not ancient or modern but is in a realm known as “eternal.” The inclination to believe that “all that is new just has to be true” is exploited in today’s young because the motive or desire of secularism is to have youth pick the shiny coin every time. The secular world view would be gone overnight if this were not so.
That Christianity is viewed as hypocritical is not surprising. The young of this generation follow the same proclivities as those of all other preceding generations. Seeing the world and its various classes and social segments through the lens of youthful idealism always produces the same result when reality sets in over time, disillusionment. Shiny coins grow dull in a very short time when left exposed.
The secular humanist cannot afford to teach their students or proselytes that hypocrisy is a world wide human condition and not something generated by or exclusive to Christianity. Every religion, profession, calling, discipline or philosophy has its hypocrites. This fact neither disproves the aforementioned nor establishes them.
Christianity isn’t about the revered saints juxtaposed against the faltering wannabes. It is about Jesus Christ, the consummate example and the only litmus test. He could not be charged with any sin or hypocrisy. If we hold our selves up to his example we would not dare to compare ourselves to others. There is something about the business of noting hypocrites that is in it self quite hypocritical.
Noting dangerous trends and errors for the sake of positive correction is not the same as noting the personal faults of others. The hypocrisy of noting hypocrisy is clearly seen in this verse from Luke’s gospel “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”(Lk 18:11)
In America today the call for personal responsibility has nearly been replaced by a demand for our personal “rights.” It is unfortunate that one of those rights is not the demand for personal responsibility.
Youth demands that humanity tells the truth and does what’s right. Oh really! With a “feel good” morality making its debut along with the ever popular “lie if it gets the job done” attitude in every strata of today’s society it seems that there is a huge discrepancy between the demand and the supply. Oh, that the demanders should become the suppliers.
One of the most well known stories of the New Testament finds Jesus being asked to choose between keeping the old law given by Moses to stone adulterers or create some new rule of his own to deal with the problem. If he chose Moses law the religious folk would have been delighted. Christ was here to show the world the power of grace and mercy so his well known answer shook the very foundations of religion forever. He essentially said, OK stone her (woman caught in adultery) into eternity, but let the first stone be hurdled by a sinless person.
No one threw a single stone and in a slow but orderly fashion the crowd began to disperse. Orderly; yes, one of the most un-noticed aspects of the retreat was the order in which the crowd dispersed. The oldest in the crowd left first and the youngest were the last to go. (Jn 8:9)
It takes no great mind to understand that the elders had long since abandoned the notion of an idealistic world where anyone including the religious had no sin to their credit. Mercy prevailed and with it the lesson that it isn’t the perfection of mankind, religious or not that God is asking us to see. Looking for this hyper idealistically driven fantasy is a sure path to disappointment. Secular humanism dare not tell their students this fact and their charges will always pick the shiny coin as expected.
American youth think Christianity is too judgmental according to the results of the Barna poll. But both the Barna report and just about any other report are now noting that the criticism is based largely on the Christian biblically derived stand against the acceptance of the gay life and transgenders.
That stand could also be complimentary if properly understood. The immutability of God’s will is a well defined and recurrent theme of the Bible. If tampered with it would surely put those doing the tampering into the other group youth disdain namely, the hypocrites. In the simplest sense of the matter, you can’t have it both ways! Most believers are not the slightest bit ashamed of standing firm in what God says about today’s emerging morality. God’s displeasure, personal self respect and history itself would witness against any believer who is swayed by the loose morality of the day.
Changing our morality to fit the politically correct version of the day would cause our worship of God to be a mere vanity. In a national climate already inundated with ersatz, narcissism, vanity, pop culture nonsense and media fired tripe, who would willingly pull their feet off the only unmovable object left in the world, Jesus the Rock of our Salvation? He said “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mk 7:7)
As for “too involved in politics” Christianity would be remiss in every way if it looked the other way while evil men and women just floated to the top of civil power without resistance. Ancient prophets who lost their lives for speaking against evil rulers, martyrs who were torn limb from limb for admitting that the Roman emperor was not their sovereign king and believers who are martyred and incarcerated in today’s Muslim and Hindu nations would be grievously dishonored by believers who left affairs of state completely in the hands of the wispy trended few.
Far more disturbing than the opinion of the youth who can only see the shiny new penny is the report that up to 87 percent of those polled said they could see no major difference between Christianity and any other major religion.
Secular humanisms call to political correctness, tolerance and diversity has made great strides among the youth of this generation. These accomplishments only lend full credence to the idea that if you voice something long enough it begins to take on an air of truth.
The differences are so overwhelmingly apparent as to leave any attempt at comparison in a hopeless state of absurdity. No religion, Islam, Buddhism, or Hindu has a Savior that died for the sins of the world. None that returned from the dead and none that promises a Savior who will also return as reigning judge and King. This is the part of Christianity that makes the world squirm. A final judgment implies a final and totally authoritative judge. This is unacceptable to both unbelievers and the irreligious.
These facts are referred to as the gospel or the “good news.” It is also the “bad news” for those who choose to accept the morality of the day. No wonder it is so hated denied and refused. In the end, the gospel will make it all the way to the end whether it is believed or not. It is the priceless well worn coin that only the discerning, the wise and the called will choose.
Rev Michael Bresciani is the author of “An American Prophet and His Message” and other books. He is a columnist for several online sites and printed publications. His articles are read in every country throughout the world. For articles, news and features come to “The Website for Insight” http://www.americanprophet.org
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