CULTURE ATTITUDE TOWARD CHRISTIANS
Religion: definition: Religion is used in this paper so here is the definition:
- "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."
God's glory and our responsibility to appreciate that glory are trivialized by our culture.
- Trivialized by requiring that we change the scale of our thinking and the perspective from which we think about the earth and the events that have taken place here. We are expected to see that praising God is but one of a number of possible responses of the otherwise non-religious, objective events of reality.
- We are supposed to realize that Biblical history even Jesus himself——is but a tiny element of the history and composition of the universe as a whole. Our religion is just our spin on that tiny part of the universe that happens to fall within our naive range of experience. Salvation in Jesus Christ is but one of a myriad of issues and topics we could choose to pursue. Glorifying God is not viewed as an intelligently engaged or enlightened response to the real world. It is merely a personally meaningful way of ordering our very limited range of perceptions and experiences. So we're told.
Seeing the Bible as something capable of articulating reality is scorningly deemed old world guilibility. This is because, of course, the Bible was generated on the human scale and from within the human frame-of-reference. Its language is restricted to a narrow range of experience from within those dimensions.
As our knowledge and awareness goes beyond these primitive restrictions, we're better able to frame questions and concerns to fit our more comprehensive grasp of reality. We can step back and appreciate the diversity of perspectives from which to view the real world. (In my own denomination, there was an officially sanctioned traveling sideshow designed to teach this very thing. It is so sad to see Calvinists who once worked so hard to give our religion cultural expression now being satisfied in merely giving our culture religious expression).
God created this universe to serve his purpose. And he has chosen to speak to us on the human scale and from within the human frame-of-reference. It is here at the center of things that God revealed himself to us in his Son-revealing himself in a fullness and clarity unprecedented in all of the universe, at any possible scale or from within any possible perspective. The earth isn't important because of where it is in the universe. But because this is where Jesus came. The events of the Bible aren't important because of where they fall in the line of history of the universe. But because those events have to do with Jesus.
The best place to begin understanding the real world is with the fear of the Lord and in departing from evil. This is true for both the scientist and the carpet cleaner. What we Christians are about has everything to do with reality. Not just some personally meaningful, fringe realities. But the very heart of reality itself.
You see, Genesis 1 is not a artless conceived account of things. There's no reason why it would have been written differently if it were written today instead of in Moses' time. We should not confuse our assessment of our cultural sophistication with the wisdom of God. And we ought not presume that God had to condescend to the ancients but not to us. As if we have gotten beyond where they were so that we don't need to listen to what Moses says in Genesis 1. We haven't. Maturity isn't measured by cultural technology. For we in western culture are no more grown up than any son of Adam or daughter of Eve has ever been. The 'darkness' of an age is not determined by its religious devotion, but in what it does to either acknowledge or to conceal reality. Reality that was created by God to glorify God.
The fact that God did not choose to send Jesus to the expanse center of the universe, or to reveal Himself only to particle physicists does not make the history of redemption incidental to reality. Nor does it make our interest in the things of God merely an arbitrary choice out of a whole universe of possible interests.
Our religion deals with what the Creator says is important and significant in the universe he made. If we look elsewhere, our grip on reality will be compromised. The Holy Spirit, through Moses, wrote Genesis to introduce us to God, the Maker of the real world. We ought not presume to rise above His condescension to us.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 02 18 07 Posted O4