Has Christianity Become the Villain in Our Culture?

                                   

Who doesn’t love a good fairytale movie, and doesn’t appreciate a good villain in a storyline? Take for instance the movie Disenchanted. While looking at the preview, I was like, NOOOOO! Giselle, don’t become the villain. Then it got me thinking – has Christianity become the villain in today’s culture? Is there a growing disenchantment with Christianity? By disenchantment, I mean a feeling where we no longer believe God’s word is valuable or see the moral value of Christian teaching because it goes against the cultural tide. Hence, because cultural influencers see Christianity as the problem - because they propagate the idea that the Bible is sexist, racist, homophobic and genocidal, people today have become disenchanted with Christianity. But if people are becoming disillusioned with Christianity, then what is causing this disillusionment?

 

When I think of our Western culture today, I think of the word enchanted. Take, for instance, the first meaning, “to be placed under a spell; bewitched, while the other meaning is “to be filled with delight; charmed.” The second meaning sounds less bewitching, but if we delve deeper, the word charmed, means - “unusually lucky or happy as though protected by magic.”  Each meaning gives the impression of being fooled, deceived, or protected/controlled by some spell or magic, while the second meaning alludes to being happy while being deceived.  You might say such a word only belongs in fairytales, but I beg to differ.  Because if you look at the actions of people today, it makes you wonder if they are under a spell.  Anyone enchanted usually divorces what they feel from reality. They are blinded to reality and live in an illusion. So then, does culture teach reality while Christianity entraps us in an illusion, or does Christianity teach reality while our culture entraps us in an illusion?

 

Christianity teaches that because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, known as The Fall, we are all sinful beings in need of a Savior - Jesus Christ. But skeptics say, this is a real illusion because we cannot see God, so believers are the ones that create a false belief that God exists, and since He does not exist, then sin is subjective. But when we look at pictures of the universe, we see signs of order, design, and beauty (Romans 1:20). Yet, in the real world, we are aware that a watch has a watchmaker, cars have manufacturers, and complex systems and structures have engineers so why can't this universe have a Creator? Is it an illusion to infer that everything that is designed has a designer? Or is it real because it represents true life - things get made and created and don’t just appear designed?

 

Our culture today gives us a sense of false freedom. We promote the idea that we are free to love whomever we desire and choose to love. Young people see “freedom as being free to do whatever you want without restraints.”[1] Is this reality or an illusion? Are we truly free as humans, or are we slaves to our passions, desires, and feelings?[2] But true freedom involves boundaries; could you imagine if we were allowed to do whatever we want? What about not obeying traffic signs because they restrict us or disregarding the law of the land and doing whatever we desire? We can disregard it, but won’t there be consequences for our actions?  “Paradoxically, freedom comes not from resisting restraint, but from submitting to the right restraint.[3] So, are we truly free to love whomever we choose? And does the saying also apply to pedophiles? “Adam and Eve sinned because they followed false freedom. Satan told them that God wasn’t good and tricked them into believing they would be freer if they threw off restraints, but the result was death and suffering. They failed to see that freedom comes through following God and His Word.”[4]  If we resist God’s words, then we are submitting to our own desires, and it’s because these desires do not align with God’s will that we become disillusioned with Christianity.

 

Christianity urges us to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our soul (1 Peter 2:11). In contrast, our culture urges us to follow the passion of the flesh. Why wage a war against what you feel? Because what you feel trumps all.  We are told that we must be true to ourselves because how you feel tells you your true gender identity, never mind what sex you were assigned at birth. But what we were assigned at birth is reality, while our feelings can entrap us into an illusion. Reality is the world or the state of things as they exist. How we feel is not irrelevant or unimportant, but it should not make us disillusioned with reality; in other words, we should not seek to escape reality but deal with it.  Our reality is mirrored in truth, and, sometimes, the truth can be hard to deal with, but God has designed us for community - we aren’t meant to go through our reality alone – this is one of the purposes of the Church; and it is a comfort that God is with us even in our suffering and most difficult times. When we go it alone, we fail. 

 

Unfortunately, so many of us have become disillusioned with Christianity because of what it calls immoral, our culture affirms. We think it old-fashioned to teach people to remain sexually pure until marriage. “God has designed marriage for our good. He designed marriage to mirror His love for the church and to benefit mankind. Thus, children suffer when they don’t have the benefit of a committed mother and father.”[5] But the reality is that we produce unintended pregnancies and broken people that feel rejected, abused, and discarded because we promote one-night stands and friends with benefits; just don't get emotionally attached. In other words, restrain your feelings so that you can continue to engage in the hookup culture. But is this an illusion? On the one hand, our culture wants us to allow our feelings to go unrestrained, yet, on the other hand, the hookup culture wants it contained so that sex can remain impersonal. But after becoming intimate with someone, can you seriously turn off your emotions? And why is it ok to protect our bodies from diseases, but our hearts we leave unguarded? Our culture creates an illusion that sex can be casual, but casual sex brings casualties – unwanted babies, broken hearts, and emotional baggage. According to Nancy Pearcy, “young people are trying to live out a worldview that does not match their true nature, and it is tearing them apart with its pain and heartache.”[6] Not everything that you are “free to do” means it is beneficial for you. 

 

The disillusionment with Christianity is not because Christianity changed its teaching over 2000 years ago; it’s because the world has changed its moral views, which no longer align with God’s word.  Today people want the bible to change to reflect the times. In other words, God must conform to our passions and desires. But is this realistic or an illusion? The only villains in this storyline are those who try to paint a bad picture of The Bible and seek their agenda without remorse or care for what it does to others. The only villains in this plot are the cultural influencers that desire to enchant the world.

 

Written by: Cheryl Carty-Strachan
Copyright © 2022 Power of Worship Radio, All rights reserved.

 

[1] Sean McDowell, Chasing Love: Sex, Love and Relationships in a Confused Culture, (B&H Publishing Group, TN, 2016), 26

[2] Titus 3:3 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

[3] Sean McDowell, Chasing Love: Sex, Love and Relationships in a Confused Culture, (B&H Publishing Group, TN, 2016), 26.

[4] McDowell, 27.

[5] McDowell, 172

[6] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, (BakerBooks MI, 2018), 120


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