Thursday, June 8, 2023

Christians: Losing Our Religion.

March 19, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, Christian Talk, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Several years ago, citizens of the world’s only superpower became increasingly concerned about a religion that was spreading like a virus. Most people – including politicians – were adherents of the much older, dominant religion. (The notion of “separation of church and state” was laughable.) They looked down on those who practiced this strange, encroaching, “unsophisticated” faith.

Eventually, scholars began to write papers as to why the “other” religion was inferior. (One reason is that they saw it as merely an amalgam of superstitious and preposterous beliefs from the East.) People who practiced this newer religion were not only considered to be heretics; as the religion grew they were considered by many to be a genuine threat to the government and to the broader society. The entire social and political order seemed to be at risk.


The superpower? Ancient Rome. The upstart religion? Christianity.

Initially, the Romans regarded Christianity as merely a Jewish sect that provoked strife among their vassals. Even as the faith began to distinguish itself from Judaism in the first century, government officials – including emperors – initially reacted to Christianity with benign neglect. Of course, as the Bible says, Jesus and His disciples “turned the world upside down”. Thus, the (pagan) Roman Empire eventually metamorphosized into the (Christian) Holy Roman Empire. Catholicism officially became the state religion under Emperor Theodosius I in the year 380, supplanting Religio Romana (literally, the “Roman Religion”).

I am a devout Christian. Indeed, having grown up in church, I am a so-called “cradle Christian.” (Though I am now nondenominational, my Baptist roots run deeply). I can’t imagine practicing a religion that I do not believe is absolutely true. Christianity, like Islam, makes claims to exclusivity as regards issues such as the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the manner in which people should live their lives.

I am also a loyal American. Though my faith is infinitely more important to me than is my nationality, I am committed to the democratic ideals upon which America was founded – despite the fact that many of our founders would balk at African Americans participating fully in this political experiment.

There are at least two reasons for my disposition. One is philosophical. Namely, I fear theocracy – even if Christianity were the state religion. Why? If I were to be honest, it’s because I couldn’t be sure whether the tenets of the Christianity in which I believe would be the same as those of a state religion. It is very disturbing to me that even the most central teachings of the faith (e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His divinity, etc.) are “optional” in various quarters.

The other reason is practical. There is no way to completely halt the spread of other religions – and no one should even attempt to do so. The Chinese government’s despicable brutality towards Uyghurs, which some consider to be genocide, has not eradicated that culture and religion. In any case, freedom of conscience is a gift of God; trying to extinguish that is blasphemy.

As was the case in ancient Rome, a significant number of Americans fear that our “empire” is slowly collapsing. There are multifaceted threats: internal economic decay, out of control political infighting, bellicose external adversaries, foreign “invaders” crossing our borders (even legally) – and a strange, encroaching, “unsophisticated” faith. In my view, some of those threats are more credible than others. Of course, one great fear is that Islam could conceivably challenge Christian hegemony in America at some point in the distant future. I think that is incredibly unlikely given the rapidly declining rate of belief in institutional religion among Americans.

One of the best ways to ensure a brighter future is to diligently examine the past. Unfortunately, history is something about which Americans have rarely been particularly fond, outside of jingoism and “happy talk.” Yet, we would do well to learn what history teaches us: Whether in a dictatorship (or other authoritarian government), in a monarchy, or in a democracy, religious pluralism will eventually prevail. It is incumbent upon Christians to do our part by lovingly sharing our beliefs – and then have faith that God will take care of the rest.

Written by Larry Smith

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13 Responses to “Christians: Losing Our Religion.”
  1. Trevor says:

    All of man’s religion belongs in the trash. God is about relationship, not man’s religion. The Bible speaks of perfect religion but it is not speaking of man’s religion, practices, protocols, denominations etc.

    Man’s religion is an outward show without an inward change. That is why so many still walk around saying God works in mysterious ways or acting like servants.

  2. Joseph McLaughlin says:

    My son and I had a discussion about the difference between being a Christian and “American Christianity”. I told him that when Christianity started the first few centuries, it was a grass roots movement from which many social benevolences originated or found footing, like Hospitals, orphanages, and taking care of the elderly. it was when it became a tool of politics that it moved into “people claiming to be Christians because it was the national thing to do”… Politics + anything = corruption. Being a Christian means accepting Christ’s sacrifice for us and us loving others. anything that is added to that or omits either of those two things isn’t “faith in Christ”. while other “faiths” are based on someone’s vision or instructions, ours is based on a historical event: The death and resurrection of Jesus. We are to be the fruit of that resurrection.

  3. mike says:

    Human evolution into a higher State of consciousness and scientific understanding means religion is on its way out. The burden of proof lies on religion to prove its own claims and they cannot.

    • mandy tiller says:

      That is what Christianity is about FAITH. You believe without proof because you KNOW in your heart God is REAL. I don’t need proof. The Bible, God’s Holy Word says so and I believe every word in the Bible. If you need proof, you would never make a good Christian. Just stay with what you believe now. God requires faith. Blind faith! You couldn’t do that.

      • John says:

        You should refer to faith as believing faith. The Bible is an eye witness of true events concerning Jesus Christ who came specifically as the Lamb of God to die for our sins, paying a debt to God that we could not pay for ourselves. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved can not be done blindly, it takes hearing or seeing the truth and acting in faith upon it ,trusting the word of God, by faith receiving Christ as your personal Savior with the open eyes of faith.

  4. jeff says:

    most americans know nothing of religious or church history. i sincerely doubt there are many who know of the “founding father” of their denomination, much less name more than 4 of the real founding fathers of the reformation, and protestantism. i once heard a man ask another if he was a protestant. he answered yes. he was then asked this stirring question. “well then, what are you protesting against?” the man stood there dumbfounded, having no idea what the question was about. you can find many books to read about church history. most prefer to look up such things online. do a google, or any search engine, for such things like the waldenses, the albergenses, the moravians, history of the reformation, persecution of reformers by church of rome. also search for articles on wycliffe, jerome, huss, tyndale, andreas fischer, martin luther, zwingli, knox, roger williams and look in what you find on tyndale for one of his associates, i think his name is john moore, who actually finsihed tyndale’s translation of the bible into his fellow countrymen’s language. they gave him the chance to live if he acknowledged transubstantiation. to which he looked at his executioner and answered, “light the fires.” you can search “the inquisitions.” especially the spanish inquisition, and church persections from 538 AD to 1798 AD. books would be “foxe’s book of martyrs” and “the great controversy.” these 2 books you can read online. you would find in all these what happens when the, or any church or religion, combines with the state.

    • Mandy Tiller says:

      How about just go right to the source. The Bible. Make sure your church follows the Bible exactly and you will be fine. Don’t ask what others think, look at the instruction book, the Bible. There you will find your answer as to who founded your church. If it wasn’t Jesus Christ, you better get away fast.

  5. paul says:

    “I think that is incredibly unlikely given the rapidly declining rate of belief in institutional religion among Americans”

    Let’s hope while we still have something of America left.

    More science A lot less religion!

    • John says:

      True science ,with honest observation , will only reveal the works of creation by the God of all truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. Religion is a battleground of different ‘faiths’ whohave embraced the lies of satan, rather than the truth of God. If there is a true ‘religion, it is the one that embraces the preserved word of God which birthed the Christian faith. Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Jesus said, “I am the way,the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto God but by me”. True religion must glorify Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God!

  6. The Emperor says:

    Fact of the matter is that the Christians are doing a very good job on their own making their faith irrelevant.
    It says something to tell people about your Messiah and how we need him yet go out of their way to not just ignore but discourage his teachings and beliefs.

  7. John Herling says:

    It’s strange that the author acknowledges “the rapidly declining rate of belief in institutional religion among Americans”, yet fails to understand that that very decline in religiosity is the greatest threat to, not only Christianity, but all religion in America in the future.

    • Wayne says:

      I appreciated the author’s honesty in acknowledging “the rapidly declining rate of belief,” as well as his argument in favor of separation of church and state — that is, his argument against the US having a government-established religion.

      In all that, I don’t see evidence that he “fails to understand that the very decline in religiosity is the greatest threat to religion in America.” I may be completely misunderstanding your perspective, but are you suggesting that real issue that needs to be addressed is the drop in religiosity? In the context of this opinion piece, would you favor the government trying to foster more religiosity by establishing an official religion (presumably some form of Christianity)?

  8. bill esunis says:

    Saw your last two commentaries….excellent insight put into words. As a white christian brother foremost and a very concerned conservative republican who could not vote as such to help reboot the political madness, I get tired of hearing Christian radio programs which I deem worthy spreading the gospel. Yet you also hear the pastor stating Democrats are headed for hell. Your Democratic views certainly balance this country as well and very needed. Most important, God’s people are spread everywhere to be the salt He planted. LEt’s face it; Sodom and Gomorrah will be and act as it will, the only weapon against it and the light out of it is the gospel. Appreciate your staff, Yours in Christ, Bill

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