Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are Evangelicals Dangerous?

Albert Mohler—the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—gave his answer to the question “Are Evangelicals Dangerous?” in an article written on cnn.com.

He concludes by saying:

Above all, evangelicals are those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and are most concerned about telling others about Jesus. Most of America’s evangelical Christians are busy raising their children, working to support their families and investing energy in their local churches.
But over recent decades, evangelical Christians have learned that the gospel has implications for every dimension of life, including our political responsibility.
We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.

And I am sure that—if the 70+ pages of comments are any indication—people on both sides of the argument are going to hotly debate the issue. But there was something else he said that caught my attention.

The New Yorker accused Bachmann of being concerned with developing a Christian worldview, ignoring the fact that every thinking person operates out of some kind of worldview.

The idea of operating out of a worldview is something that is relatively new to me. The first time that I started to pay attention to the term was only about 10 years ago. It was one of those light bulb moments. Once I heard the notion of a worldview explained it made all the sense to me. Quite simply it is how our beliefs shape how we look at and interact with the world.

It is also interesting to note how our worldview in action does one of the best jobs of defining what we truly believe.

If Evangelical Christians do not engage in the realm of political and cultural ideas then what are we saying about our beliefs?

Let me use a non-religious example. Let’s pretend that we have discovered that the use of a gizmothingabob is very dangerous. Its danger is not always immediately apparent but their use—in the long run—is always disastrous. But the use of the gimothingabob does not just affect the individual; it also affects those that the person comes into contact with. The problem is that not everyone agrees with the threat assessment of gizmothingabobs. I, as a concerned citizen, have two basic options. I can either warn people about the use of gizmothingabobs even if they do not think the same way as me. Or, I can just keep quiet and let people use the gizmothingabobs at their own risk.

My actions either way speak to how I really view the danger of the gizmothingabobs as well as how I view other people.  In the first option I view the danger as very real and people’s safety as very important. In the second option I don’t view the danger as being all that bad and I don’t view the safety of others as being as important.

The same is true when it comes to our beliefs about the implications of Christianity on life in general. If we do not allow it to shape our actions in every aspect of life then that speaks very loudly about how important we really believe our religious convictions to be. I don’t consider it a bad thing to be considered “dangerous”* by those with an opposing view point, rather I find it disturbing when those same people do not consider me to be at least a little “dangerous.”

*Just to be clear, I absolutely do not mean dangerous in an assault & battery sort of way. I mean it in the sense that those with opposing view points find my views to strongly conflict with theirs. For example I hope that an Atheist would find my views on the existence of a God to be dangerous and challenging towards their views of the non-existence of a God.

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