Archive for the 'stories' Category

18
Oct
08

Public Opinion

FYI – I recently saw this. A July 08 study done by the Barna Research Group, provides data on what people think about the Scriptures – specifically, “Who says the Bible is Holy?”

84% of U.S. adults
90% of women
78% of men
96% of Blacks
83% of Whites & Hispanics
54% of Asians
90% of those over 40
77% of those under 40
67% of those 18-23
38% of self-identified non-Christians

Those stats are interesting, however, I’m wondering how do people actually define and understand the term “holy”?

20
Mar
08

what would you change about the world?

A local newspaper – the Daily Herald is currently publishing a series of “get to know you” type interviews with local [DuPage county] public school administrators. For example, Tuesday’s paper featured a 34 year old, married, mother of two, middle school principal. The writer of the article presented the long time educator with a number of questions related to family, career, interests, opinions, etc. One of the last questions asked was this;

If you could change one thing about the world…it would be?

Her answer was quite disturbing. She responded,

Eliminate ALL religions. All the negativity that exists in today’s society is due to religious beliefs: wars, hatred, racism.

Now I don’t know if this person considers herself an official “atheist” or merely a religious antagonist, but her comment took me by surprise. Could someone who is well educated and supposedly committed to academic excellence really hold to this opinion? Apparently so. To assert that religion is the root cause of war, hatred, racism, suffering, indeed all the world’s ills, is a spurious position that is limited in scope as well as historically and logically flawed.

In all fairness, while religion has done a lot of good in the world [obviously not a consideration of this principal], we must concede it can be divisive and lead to conflict, cruelty, terrorism and war. History proves this. However, history also proves that efforts at outlawing religion have produced the same kind of sad results. There have been several massive atheistic efforts to suppress, and ultimately eliminate, religion of any kind. In the 20th century, Soviet Russia, the Khmer Rouge, Cuba and Communist China were all determined to keep religion from dividing society or eroding the power of the state. The result was not more peace and harmony, but more suffering and oppression. Atheism can claim no less responsibility when it comes to the world realities of war, hatred, racism and suffering.

In his book, The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World [2004], Dr. Alister McGrath [Christian theologian with a background in history, science and molecular biophysics] writes the following historical observation regarding atheism:

The 20th century gave rise to one of the greatest and most distressing paradoxes of human history; that the greatest intolerance and violence of that century were practiced by those who believed that religion caused intolerance and violence.

My point here is not to dismiss or humiliate the principal who was simply sharing her opinion about the problems of the world with a local newspaper reporter. Rather, it is to note that a growing number of people in our culture, educated or not, carry a negative view of organized religion including, but not limited to, Christianity. Listening to and understanding their opinion and knowing how to respond in kind is important. But logical argumentation alone will not change public opinion. As Christians, as the Church, we must intentionally engage such skeptics not simply with words but acts and attitudes of love, compassion and grace.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

-Colossians 4:5-6

Ray




re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Thoughts gone by

"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire

Pages