Remember when religion mattered?
Harsh political cartoons, late night talk show hosts, and plenty of social media posts too often put religious people in the typical category of ignorant, vindictive, and violent people. Nothing new there. For instance, reflecting on the secular culture’s reaction to suicide bombings in the Middle East, I think one of the real roadblocks to solving this tragedy is the loss of the notion that religion actually matters.
There is no defense of followers of Islam – or any other religion – who kill innocent people. But before we can attempt to understand the driving force of any religious idea, we have to first understand that for millions of people around the globe, religion actually matters.
Religious faith has slowly lost its hold on Americans, much the way it did in Europe a century ago, but there was a time in the world when religion was the primary direction for life. Wars were fought over it, people were imprisoned for breaking its laws, and faith impacted history.
Yes, there have always been corrupt rulers, Popes, priests, and pastors who used religion like a tool to abuse power. But for the most part, religious played a critical role in the development of law, learning, medicine, and science. As scholar Rodney Stark points out in his book, “The Victory of Reason,” Christianity played a critical role in the development of Western ideals of freedom, capitalism, and human rights.
But today, Europe’s great cathedrals stand as an empty testimony to people who have assumed the role of dieties themselves, and have no greater entity for which to reach out. As a result, Europeans have lost any sense that religion has any meaning, still speaks to people, or matters at all.
America is moving down that same road. There must be some way we can reach out to the culture and convince them that regardless of their own personal values or biases, religion still matters to millions of people, and that’s the key to understanding many of the conflicts around the world, from abortion rights in the U.S., slavery in Africa, and suicide bombing in the Middle East.
The door was opened by the notion of “tolerance.” In today’s culture of tolerance, everything is equal. No idea, either religious or non-religious, can be better than another. Therefore, rational thought, evaluation, and investigation cannot be used in matters of personal belief. It simply doesn’t matter anymore. The problem with that thinking is that it paved the way for a host of tragic events. Because with that argument, what’s the difference between believing that Jesus came to seek and save those which were lost, and the bizarre idea that another god has called us to kill innocent children?
Religion matters. It’s mattered for thousands of years, and it matters now. In our ignorance, we can continue to criticize those of religious faith. But in my experience, no one has ever ever changed their belief because they were humiliated into it.
Only when we can convince the greater culture that faith matters, can we begin to reach out to millions around the world and begin to understand each other.
Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.
- Kenyan Christians slain in suspected Al Shabaab attack
- Pastor Jarrid Wilson remembered at Wheaton Mental Health Summit
- Church registrations rise in Egypt after stringent building codes eased
- Music star: ‘Aussie PM should spend less time hanging with Brian Houston’
- Government bureaucracy ‘not the answer to America’s medical debt crisis’
- A life of travel leads author to Central Australia and fostering Indigenous children
- Why identity in Christ is at the heart of a successful Christian life
- New group launches to support Christian women in business
- Colleges and Universities Want Homeschool Graduates!
- New Book ‘The Christian Meditation Journal’ Makes Meditation Accessible to Christians
Just because you’re a Christian, you still have to hustle
I’ve been a Christian in business my entire working life, and in that time I have had to learn what part I play in making my life and career work,...
Because The Majority Does Not Determine Morality
It’s always nice to be able to point to the polls when they support your position. But polling, when done accurately, does nothing more than tell...
The problem with atheism
Over the years I have encountered many earnest seekers and sceptics who claim that there is insufficient evidence to prove the existence of God –...
Reinhard Bonnke, responsible for 79 million salvations, dies at 79
Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, who many claim is responsible for as many as 79 million people meeting Jesus, has passed away. He was 79 years old....
It took 1000 coffees, but you've ﬁnished your book...
So where to now?
That's where we come in.
We have a team of publishing professionals ready to help you bring your book from your laptop to the world.
We offer cover design, typeset, eBook conversion, and competitive print prices. Oh and you'll also be on Amazon and thousands of websites worldwide.
Let us help you take the next step.LEARN MORE