In the last 50 years, Christianity has experienced a sobering reversal of fortune in our culture. Until the middle of the 1900’s, attending church was not only a cultural expectation, it was an important sign of good citizenship. Fathers wanted their daughters to date “good, upstanding, church-going boys,” and our society as a whole embraced the value of Christian spirituality.
But no more. In fact, the definition of what is culturally normal has made a 180 degree turn. These days, it’s the weird people who attend church. Christians are labeled “sheeples”- weak minded, easily influenced folk who lack the critical thinking skills to see their own blindness.
In case you’re fuzzy about some of the changes I’m referring to, let me outline a couple of ways culture’s worldview has changed, making Christianity seem objectionable.
In contrast to the traditional Christian worldview, today’s culture believes that truth has the ability to evolve. As humans get smarter, and as more and more scientific advances take place, the old standards of truth feel outdated and confining. Even the notion of absolute truth (something that is always true regardless of circumstances) is judged by today’s culture as an archaic concept. While this might seem legit on the surface, changing what is absolute is like moving the goal posts on a football kicker. If absolute standards are disagreeable or distasteful, there are two choices: either bring the belief system into compliance with the truth or redefine truth. Our culture has chosen to redefine truth (described as evolving truth), which stands in sharp contrast to Christianity’s adherence to unchanging truth. The result: Christianity is objectionable.
Second, our culture recognizes love as God’s foundational attribute. In other words, love is the basis for who God is, what God does, and how God makes decisions. The reason this viewpoint has become so popular is because it conveniently ignores the attribute that balances love: judgment. Nothing ticks off someone in our society quicker than to tell them that what they are doing is bad or wrong. To our culture, virtually anything goes “because God is love, and a loving God wouldn’t be mean enough to tell me I’m wrong.”
Even a cursory reading of the Bible will provide a different picture of God’s true nature. God certainly is love- and He loves us with a love that is different than anything in this world. But God’s primary attribute isn’t love- it’s holiness. Holiness is the perfect blend of love and judgment, and both of those attributes find equal expression in God’s thoughts, words, and actions. Because God is holy, He cannot and will not tolerate whatever is not holy. If you ever doubt God’s love for you, then look no farther than Jesus on the cross. But don’t make the mistake of ignoring God’s judgment. And once again, that’s a facet of God that our culture doesn’t want to hear about. That makes Christianity objectionable.
Third, our culture has come to believe that happiness is the main objective of life. Follow your heart. Don’t worry, be happy. Even though you can’t afford it, go ahead and buy that new car, because you deserve to be happy.
It is shocking to hear Jesus’ response to this kind of worldview. Jesus said things like, “If you want to be first, then you have to be last. If you want to live, then you must die. If you want to be served, then you must become a servant. Unless you give up everything, you are not fit to be my follower.” The world hears these words, rolls their eyes, turns their back, and walks away. Seeking personal happiness.
And last, our culture believes that life should be fair. Our culture has adopted a worldview that seeks to make all ideas, behaviors, and beliefs equally valid and tolerated. Once again, on the surface that might sound nice, but this worldview collapses under the weight of scrutiny. While all people are certainly equally valuable and should be treated as such, not all ideas, habits, practices, and beliefs are valid. They just aren’t. But once again, to suggest that an idea or belief is wrong today is viewed as not treating people fairly.
And have you noticed that when life doesn’t seem fair, most of the time it’s God’s fault? Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn’t He do something? I’m saddened when our culture blames God for bad things, yet refuses to give Him credit for the good things.
These thoughts only scratch the surface on this important topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts as to why Christianity has become so objectionable to our culture.