We live in an age in which the intellectual, spiritual, and social movement towards relativism and syncretism are converging with great power and influence. So often, we hear outside―and even within the church―“gospels” that proclaim “Jesus in addition to (for example Marxism” or “Jesus less than (for example naturalism).”
In this pluralistic era, religion and worldview are quite unclear. Devotees approach the sacred realm as a sort of buffet meal, selecting ideas and practices according to spiritual taste and desire. In this syncretistic context, beliefs are mixed and matched according to fad, fashion, and psychic need. Tolerance and inclusivism are creedal assumptions.
For many, especially of a secular mindset, Christianity is no longer viewed as justifiably unique or exclusive. It is simply another, particularly noxious, “weed” in the “garden of god,” merely one variety of generic spirituality. As a result of this outlook, for most people today Christianity is no longer plausible. It no longer compels. It does not make sense anymore. It is not relevant for daily life.
How are we, followers of Jesus Christ, to respond to this situation? How can we demonstrate the intellectual plausibility and existential credibility of our faith? How is the absolute God to get a hearing in our generation?
First, we should learn to use our minds in God-honoring ways. We should gather information (learn), pursue understanding (study), and seek discernment (reflection) according to our biblical assumptions. Similarly, we must also look for worldly and erroneous thinking in our own understanding.
Second, we should always try to discern the assumptions in other worldviews and reasoning.
We can learn to how to evaluate other positions from within our own worldview―and also how other worldviews analyze our position with their presuppositions. We should learn to compare and contrast, discern and refute, when necessary. We should declare with David: “How great you are, O sovereign Lord! There is no one like you and there is no one but you” (2 Sam 7:22).
Third, we ought to cultivate a healthy skepticism. We must no longer passively consume data delivered to us by popular culture. The writer of Genesis did not passively observe its surrounding Mesopotamian culture. The apostle Paul did not passively affirm unbelieving thought within his eclectic context. When he was in Athens, “his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.”
We should seek the same Spirit-inspired motivation.
We should cultivate our cognitive capacities and a discerning heart to communicate truth in compelling and compassionate ways.
One thought on “HOW THEN SHOULD WE THINK?”
Thank you for this reflection! Sometimes I wondered if God gave everyone faith. No, in reality faith is given to the elect only, that they may be saved: “The Gentiles rejoiced when they heard this, and glorified the word of the Lord, and believed as many as were destined to eternal life” (Acts 13:48). The Bible never says that God gave faith to all men, but that he prepared it for his children whom he sovereignly decided to adopt from the foundation of the world:
“In him God hath chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him, having predestined us in his love to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace which he has given us in his beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Men whom God has not chosen do not want to have faith, although they have a choice. Unbelievers are so by their choice to refuse God. This refusal then places them under the slavery of the Devil: “for the unbelievers whose intelligence the god of this age has blinded, that they should not see the splendor of the gospel of the glory of Christ, which is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4, cf 2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Most Western societies today are experiencing a decline in religious affiliation and a loss of influence of religions. But do we really know the phenomenon of non-religion? And what do different attitudes of non-belief, which can range from religious indifference to militant atheism, bring to societies? Just to fan the fire with so-called excessive freedom and unbridled consumption…