Distance: 4.53 miles Time: 40’15”
A ‘moment’ with a cyclist this morning.
We were travelling down parallel paths, I was turning left and he was turning right. Unfortunately we were both on the opposite side to our intended direction.
We came together – after he did an impressive skid – I was for a short while, mounted upon his handlebars!
All ended amicably with no harm done and no-one ended up on the floor – which was good.
As I reflected upon it I thought how that incident is a metaphor for the cultural conflict we are seeing between what is now a functionally atheistic society and the Christian Church.
We are getting cross-wise on so many issues because we are heading in opposite directions.
The Christian faith hasn’t changed, but society is massively changing as it jettisons the Judeo-Christian values that underpinned its laws, morality and ethics for much of the past 2000 years.
Those commonly held values (i.e. held in common by the whole of society, or at least the majority) were a very solid base for promoting behaviour that had social benefit.
Telling people to do, or not to do something because God tells them not to, is a much more concrete, convincing and immutable proposition than telling them to behave in certain ways because some evolutionary biologists think that this might be the most successful approach for humankind; particularly when other evolutionary biologists/philosophers would state the contrary.
People are primarily ego-centric, traditionally faiths promote social benefit and harmony by discouraging such selfishness and promoting altruism. People are encouraged to behave in counter-intuitive ways because of God. Primarily because it is behaviour that pleases Him and promotes our relationship with Him; and on a secondary level, because He promises to bless and reward such conduct – in this life or the next.
However, from an atheistic evolutionary perspective what is the engine that would promote positive behaviour? The argument that sometime, aeons in the future, when I am a long forgotten memory, humanity might be doing ever so slightly better for me having made a good choice?
Hardly an argument that carries much force is it?
Particularly when the Nietzschens would argue that grinding the faces of the weak into the dust, if not euthanasing them outright, is the better option for the powerful, as it prevents ‘junk’ DNA from replicating.
Given such stark differences it is perhaps not surprising to see the widening gap between rich and poor in all the functionally atheistic countries of the world.
The clash between the Christian faith and secular society over a wide variety of issues – sex, justice, power, morality – is inevitable. We are heading in opposite directions. We are bound to get cross-wise.
Those Christians who capitulate whenever societies values conflict with Christian ones, will soon have no Christianity left.
Rolling over and exposing your throat on every issue will not bring an end to the conflict, it will merely hasten your total defeat.
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13 NIV)