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Culture and Religion

Is American Christianity at an all time low?

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There are a lot of doomsday articles on the state of Christianity in the present day. Why not? So many professed Christians don’t know where their Bibles are, don’t attend church, and don’t believe in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity(ie. existence of Hell and Satan). There are disturbing public opinion polls on religion, in that, people identifying in the Christian faith holding views that are clearly opposed to Biblical teachings. The amount of professed Christians viewing abortion and homosexual marriage favorably are alarming. The amount of Christians watching porn and fornicating is alarming. The moral state of our nation is in decline. However, when was there ever a point in human history where the Church did not feel this way? The Church needs perspective and not just self proclaimed doomsday prophets in sackcloth.

A deeper look into Church numbers

Church attendance has been declining. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend a church. This number comes after factoring for Halo Effect and better data gathering. But aggregate church attendance is highly misleading. We need to break it down. There are several denominations. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, and the most interesting distinction is between Mainline Protestant and Evangelical. Mainline refers to older denominations that have adopted liberal or, more accurately, progressive theology, not necessarily liberal politics, but social leftism is a plague in these churches. Evangelicals refers to more traditional and conservative theology. So if the numbers are broken down by denomination, a much different picture emerges. Keep in mind that the technically-not-Protestant Church of England rooted Episcopal Church is considered Mainline.

Decline Is A Choice

millennials-affiliation

Image from MillennialEvangelical.com

Broken down, these aren’t the worst numbers the Church could be seeing. And this is merely younger people. As a whole Church decline is a lot more broken down than oft preached on Sunday.

Not all denominations are in decline. A more The Church in America isn’t parachuting with churches falling at different rates. In fact the denominations impacted by social leftism are the ones facing the most membership loss. For churches, social leftism is a deliberate stray from the teachings of God’s Word. Consider Paige Roger’s words on the Episcopal Church’s attempt to strip God of masculinity.

To claim God is not masculine is to claim he is not The Father, and it is to claim Christ a liar.

We have a name for that.

It is called blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, apostasy, irreverence, desecration, impiety, profanation, imbecility, deception, evil, false teaching, vituperation.

To let this blasphemy stand unaddressed, unrebuked like so many other heretic controversies before, inevitably signals the future acceptance and inclusion of this sacrilege into Episcopal “doctrine.”

And this is precisely why good people – like myself – are fleeing the Episcopalian “church.”

Aggregate church attendance fails to tell the whole story of what’s going on in Christianity in the United State and around the world for that matter. If Christianity is “smaller” in America today, it’s likely stronger. So when Gallup asked Americans why they do go to church, it wasn’t for the music.

How did we get here?

While things may seem bad, we need to look at the current situation bearing in mind historical contexts. Every generation of Christians tends to think that the people are falling away from God. And the truth is, people usually are. So the question remains, is now worse than any other time in our nation’s history? The decline of Western Civilization is certainly a new presence that did not exist, say a hundred years ago. But many churches today refuse to embrace cultural decline. Above I used the term Evangelical to classify Protestant denominations that hold a more literal and contextual theology. However, the history of Evangelism is more recent than you might realize.

As you know, America was founded by people who wanted religious liberty. Soon after our country’s birth, we found ourselves in a drought of faith. In response, we had the 2nd Great Awakening. At the start of the 1800s our country saw many revivals and at the peak, anti-slavery became abolition. Yes the two are related because Americans largely stopped viewing salvation as exclusive. But not long after the Civil War we saw the rise of liberal theology. In the modernist era, humans thought they could solve all of the world’s problems. The modernist sought to replace Christianity with science and reason. So modernist theology became prevalent in the Church. They started preaching the historical Jesus. They denied the Resurrection and the virgin birth. In this liberal theology, the Bible became metaphorical and not literal. As we know, humans learned that modernism didn’t perfect us. In fact, it created terrible working conditions, evil ideologies, and could prevent no avoidable wars.

Fundamentalism

This is a term often thrown around by opponents of Christianity. But it has a real meaning rather than it’s modern day misuse. Fundamentalism is consolidated Christianity. It was a response to modernist liberal theology. Christians saw what was happening in the church. People preached on the “historical” Jesus rather than the actual Jesus. People believed that they could create utopia and that science and reason were substitutes for God. They were high up didn’t stop outside of the church walls either. Liberal theology was well-funded with even JD Rockefeller backing heretical churches. Liberal theology was so pervasive that many Christians consolidated their theology and viewpoints. The fundamentalist shut out anything to do with or associated with liberal theology.

The fruits of the fundamentalism weren’t desirable. The liberal theologians had a great emphasis on social issues while fundamentalism rejects things of the world. For this reason both the liberals and the fundamentalist participated in the temperance movement leading to the 18th Amendment. We also had embarrassments such as the Scopes Trial. Internationally, the church was too weak to deter nations from unnecessary war. Majority of World War 1’s belligerents had no business declaring war. Throughout the 1930’s, the church in Germany was weak enough to allow Nazism to thrive. If ever there was a low point for Christianity, it had to have been in the earlier twentieth century.

Rise of Evangelism

Where fundamentalist sought separation from the world, evangelicals sought to win the world. Not all Christians back then were fundamentalist. CS Lewis certainly wasn’t. A famous Christian who comes to mind is Dwight L. Moody who sought to reach the masses. Following in his footsteps was Billy Graham. Chrsitanity Today notes:

As Graham’s prestige and influence grew, particularly among “mainline” (non-evangelical) Christians, he drew criticism from fundamentalists who felt his cooperation with churches affiliated with the National and World Council of Churches signaled a compromise with the corrupting forces of modernism.

Billy Graham helped pave the way for the church in America and globally, to switch from defense to offense. World War 2 taught the capitalist side of the world that modernism failed to deliver on all of its promises. Billy Graham united Christians across denominations on the key doctrines of Christian faith and with that the goal of baptizing peoples of all nations. Billy Graham was also a key religious figure during the Civil Rights Movement. We lost a great man earlier this year. It’s a shame, but he left the church better than when he found it.

Much of what fundamentalist had considered sinful, evangelicals utilized to reach people. Believe it or not, the most overtly Christ-glorifying sport I’ve ever seen is mixed martial arts. Christian music is commercially viable, and faith based movies have made a quality comeback, most recently with I Can Only Imagine outperforming box office expectations. Fundamentalism is still alive today, but is laughable and largely irrelevant to the advancement of the church.

Current Flaws

While things aren’t as bad as they were 100 years ago, the present day church is not without flaws. Hot topic issues, like abortion and homosexuality, help weed out the liberal and progressive churches, but not all apostate churches are separated so easily like sheep from goats. One of the country’s largest “churches” is helmed by Joel Osteen, the prosperity gospel preacher. From the fall of modernism came forth post-modernism. Post-modernism contains an emphasis on feelings and experiences with rejection of absolute truths. In the current age people like talking about grinding and hustling to achieve what you want in life. There are endless motivational speakers and cliches. False churches are preying on this. Too many pastors are motivational speakers first and bible teachers second. Many churches focus more on entertainment and metrics.

The church is also struggling to stay the course in the midst of the Trump wave. An alarming amount of church-goers put their faith in Trump over God. While there is a larger Christian presence in the Whitehouse than in the previous administrations, Trump is by no means a devout man of faith. To much extent, Trumps rise is a blow to the church’s credibility, even without him being a follower. Still, God allowed Trump to be President. And since Jesus hasn’t returned we still have work to do.

Billy Graham managed to help bridge the divide between protestants and Catholics for a time, but that largely went away with the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI. The Catholics are now in the hands of Pope Francis, who denied the existence of Hell, committing the heresy of annihilationism.

Wrap Up

Christianity to today is not without faults and challenges. However the Church is gaining ground in China and Iran even as Western Civilization spirals downward. As our culture reaches a tipping point I find there to be no question that the Church in America today is better equipped to do what God calls them to do than 100 years ago. Christianity is not at an all time low; however, the Church’s trajectory in the United States is hard to predict. The outcome will largely depend on our trust and steadfast stewardship

God bless! And Happy Easter!

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Culture and Religion

Remember what’s important in life

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We all deserve forgiveness, the benefit of the doubt, and need to be reminded of what really matters from time to time. When you encounter someone who does something rude or mean or bad, avoid labeling them as a rude or bad person. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt that they were just having a bad day/week/year and they are in a place where they have forgotten about what really matters in this life.

That it’s not about wealth and acquiring stuff. It’s about relationships and how we spend our time together. It’s about lifting each other up.

Have you ever gotten into that rut, where you have been hyper-focused on your job, or your hobby, or self-improvement? You were doing really well! You’ve gotten ahead, acquired a lot of great, new things; you make more money now, and you’ve gotten really good at whatever it is you were working on.

But then… You watch a show, a movie, maybe hear a song or a sermon, or read a story about humanity and how short this life is; About how we treat each other when we are trying to acquire too much… and it’s never enough; it’s never big enough; it never satisfies us.

But when you get that message again from that show… You recognize it, and you wake up. You stand up in the room, and you look around, and you see that all over the room everyone else still has their heads down. And very few are standing with you. But you see it now, and you say to yourself, “Why was I so focused on that? That doesn’t matter! My kids are growing up! My parents are aging, my grandparents dying. And I’ve been missing all of it… For what? For a house that’s 1000 sq. feet bigger? For a car that can drive a little faster?”

We all get sidetracked and stuck on this misleading path. That’s why we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Try not to label people as “bad guy” just because they did something once or twice, and recognize that people deserve forgiveness, and just need to be woken up again.

Remind them. Remind me when I forget. Please. It’s about Love. Family. Friends. Relationships.

Sell everything you own if it’s blinding you. Buy experiences instead- Experiences that you can share with one another. Hug. Laugh. Cry. Touch. Share. And remember. Remember what it’s all about.

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Culture and Religion

A Memo to the Liberty Grabbers of the Left from the Pro-Liberty Right.

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Hat Tip: Nazis Are Socialists (Meso)

A dose of reality for you Leftists opposing freedom on behalf of the gun owners of America.

Seeing that we gun owners been your rhetorical punching bag for several weeks, there are a few things we would like to point out to you folks opposed to the most essential of Liberties. You’ve spent all manner of airtime talking down to us, dictating what we ‘need’ with regard to our basic human rights. So now it is time for you to listen to a couple of brutal truths in the matter. These aren’t going to be ‘politically correct’, by any means, but such is usually not the case with cold hard reality.

From your ever so self laudatory language, you Liberty grabbers on the Left like to think of yourselves as noble warriors, out there ‘changing the world’ for the ‘Common good’ [Gemeinnutz in the German vernacular]. Fighting for Socialister. Social ‘Justice’ and all manner of flowery folderol [Cue mournful violin music]. Yes, you think of yourselves as ‘sacrificing’ for the ‘the children*’ no matter what that entails. Whether it’s all manner of fame on Youtube or Facebook, to endless praise from your echo chamber, there are no limits as to your willingness to signal your virtue to everyone.
*Unborn children excluded

Well, sorry to break it to you, but in the words of the Marchers: “We call BS!”

The fact is there is nothing more selfish than demanding that others be deprived of their ‘essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety’ for yourselves. You want others to sacrifice their freedom for some mythical gains in your perceived security. It would be one thing for you to give up your Liberty, but that isn’t the case is it? You are marching to demand that the basic human rights of others be stripped from them, that is self-centred in the extreme.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ― Abraham Lincoln

Empathy is a very important human quality, so perhaps you should consider giving up some of your essential liberties to understand what is at stake for those of us on the Pro-Liberty side of the aisle. Maybe you should demand that you be stripped of your First amendment rights? Or perhaps Liberty Grabbers groups should be licensed before they can demand that others be deprived of their rights?

Oh, what’s that you say? You have a Constitutional right to free-speech or freedom of the press? That those rights ‘Shall not be infringed’? [to coin a phrase] Or that the slightest amount will lead to a slippery slope towards the loss of them all. Welcome to our world, where every time a Leftist lunatic decides to go on a mass murder spree, our Constitutional rights are suddenly on the chopping block. With it just being a question of how much of those rights we’re going to lose – if not everything.

Can we dictate what you ‘need’ in exercising your Rights?

Can we demand that you justify the keeping of your liberties? Can we arbitrarily decree that certain modes of speech are ‘Militaristic’ in style? Do you really ‘need’ to appear on the Tele 30 times a day? Do you really need a ‘high capacity’ smart phone? Do you really need to fire off 5 tweets in a minute just to kill off a basic human right?

Hypocrisy on parade: Liberty Grabbers have guns to protect themselves while denying that right to others.

Please note that the people in the Liberty Grabber movement you idolize are also complete hypocrites in that while they work tirelessly to take away our property and our Liberty, they are safe and secure surrounded by ARMED security. Yes, think about it, the people who rail against guns have no problem being protected by them. Were they to be true to their words, they would disarm their security details. If Citibank and Bank of America didn’t care to be hypocrites they would dismiss their armed security and announce it to the world. Oh, they have to deal with threats? So do the rest of us – and yet they want to make everyone else vulnerable to those threats while they stay safe and secure.

Here’s a hard dose of reality for you: We gun owners protect everyone, even you Liberty Grabbers.

The truth is that while you uselessly virtue signal your inestimable magnanimity, it is those of us on the Pro-liberty side who work to keep you people safe. This may come as a shock, but if you live in one of the states or localities that value Liberty, you are around concealed weapons every time you go out in public. Yes, you might find this to be too scary to think about, but every day you are protected by the deterrence effect of ordinary folks just like you [aside from their cherishing freedom that is] carrying around *Gasp* Firearms hidden from view.

Consequently, you don’t know who might be carrying a gun…. and neither do the criminals. Thus the value of an armed citizenry. They don’t know who may have the means to defend themselves, so they don’t know who to victimize, therefore everyone is protected.

The exception being The “Gun-Free” zone, that vestige of the Utopian fantasy world of the Left. Most mass shootings take place where the innocent are denied their basic human Liberty of self-defence. So what does that mean for you Leftists of the so-called “Party of Science”? It means that your absurd idea that a sign will stop a mass murder results in dead children. That is what you want everywhere, how does that even reach the threshold of rationality?

If you aren’t going to thank us for keeping you safe, could you at least leave us alone?

So why is all of this important? Because the people you have demonisd for weeks are the ones keeping you safe. Those you label as terrorist, splattered in blood are the people providing for your security. How is that for irony?

  • We’re the ones who take the time endure the draconian hurdles put in the way of our basic human rights.
  • We’re the ones who take the time to select the proper firearm and holster to carry concealed out in public.
  • We’re the ones who practice with our weapons in case an emergency arises.
  • We’re the ones who carry a cellphone and extra magazines for that potential emergency.
  • And We’re the ones who will most likely have to deal myriad legal problem and legal fees for merely protecting ourselves, our families and even you people should it be necessary.

Now, we don’t expect you people to grateful for this protection you are afforded. Goodness knows you wouldn’t lower yourself to talk to those of us on the Pro-liberty side. But could you at least acknowledge the effort and perhaps stop obsessing over taking away our Liberty that keeps you safe?

 

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Culture and Religion

The Collective Irony of the Left.

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While the nation’s Socialist Left deviously pretends to be ‘Liberal’ or ‘Democratic’ it actually functions undemocratically against Liberty.

For all of their pretence about being ‘Liberal’ or ‘for the people’, the Left is extremely oligarchical. Examine the Left’s Socialist national agenda, taking note many of its beliefs that are handed down from a select few that are to be accepted by the rank and file without question. Also, consider what happens to those who stray from Leftist orthodoxy.

Contrast this authoritarianism of the nation’s Left with the free-thinking albeit chaotic nature of the Pro-Liberty, Conservatarian-Right. While the Left will all parrot the same talking points for the outrage of the week. It’s extremely difficult to convince those on the Right to use the proper word in describing the opposition. [ Leftist in place of Liberal to be exact ]

Leftists ‘Independently’ marching to the exact same music.

Look at the protest marches sponsored by the usual suspects of the oligarchical Left, events from around the nation will feature the same talking points emblazoned on the signs, the same slogans, down to the very same headwear.

Then look at what happens to those who may stray from the Left’s authoritarian plantation. Hollywood is supposedly all-inclusive of every viewpoint, except those who espouse Conservatarian, Pro-Liberty ideals.

This is the larger point inspired by a column by Dennis Prager in The Daily Wire were he first makes the point recurring point that it’s leftism — not liberalism – that is the problem here. He goes on to talk about Whatever The Left Touches It Ruins.  This is endemic to cases of a small cadre of Leftists deciding what is artistic or how the country’s history should be taught.

The only way to save Western civilization is to convince more people that leftism — not liberalism — is a nihilistic force. Quite literally, whatever the left touches it ruins.

So, here is a partial listing of the damage done by the left and the Democratic Party:

The most obvious — and, therefore, the one more and Americans can resonate with — is the near destruction of most American universities as places of learning.

When you attend an American university, you are taught to have contempt for America and its founders, to prefer socialism to capitalism, to divide human beings by race and ethnicity. You are taught to shut down those who differ with you, to not debate them. And you are taught to place feelings over reason — which is a guaranteed route to eventual evil.

So, too, one cannot watch late-night television if one desires to simply be entertained before drifting off to sleep. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and other hosts have changed late-night TV into left-night TV. Why merely be funny when you can use your monologues to advance your left-wing views?

If you treasure American and Western civilization, fighting the left — something all liberals and conservatives need to do — is the greatest good you can engage in at this time.

This is what happens when an ever-shrinking band of authoritarian Leftists decide that art should be scatological instead of uplifting. Or the example of small groups of ‘Comedians’ deciding that we have to be made to care about their ‘progressive’ agenda. Then there is the case of the corporate leadership of Citibank or Bank of America arbitrarily deciding the limitations of our basic human Liberty of self-preservation. [Note that Wells Fargo is bucking the trend standing up for Liberty] These are all examples of a Leftist ‘elite’ making decisions from their virtual mount Olympus for everyone else to follow.

The Take Away

While the Left likes to keep up the pretence of being ‘Democratic’ or ‘Liberal’ for that matter, they are neither. This is why we must do everything we can to expose the Left’s deceptions whenever possible.

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