The Far Side, the single panel comic strip by Gary Larson, was another piece that had some pretty funny moments. One comic in 1986 that I distinctly remember was a panel showing two deer standing only on their hind legs facing each other. One deer has two concentric circles forming a target on his chest. The caption has the other deer saying, "Bummer of a birthmark, Hal."
As we press on into the twenty-first century, I find that more and more Christians are feeling the same way that deer felt. We can feel the frequency of attacks against Christian believers increasing faster than ever before. We see this most evidently in the recent best-selling works of the so-called "New Atheists," such as Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation, and Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. These titles are now well-known and they've been extensively covered by popular media. However, I think that the prominence of these books is a comment on how our society has become more uncomfortable with a strong Christian faith.
It really seems as if we're entering a time where lines are being drawn more clearly. We live in a society that views belief as a deeply personal approach to life, and the most important thing to guide one's moral life. Yet most people also adopt a "salad-bar theology" in their beliefs; they think that they can pick and choose beliefs by what they like and don't like. If your plate looks different than mine, that's OK. Just so long as I can have only what I like1.
But we cannot be passive in the face of attack. In fact, the Bible commands us to engage with others in the war of ideas. We are the "always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks, yet with gentleness and reverence" as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us. That means we will need to be ready to have answers and face people who may seem pretty smart.
Think About ItHow do you feel about what you believe? Is it only a personal choice or are there reasons why you believe what you do?
Although many people want to shrink from such a command, I want to encourage you to move forward. Pick a topic, such as the existence of God. Study it. Read some of the good books, web sites and other materials that are already online. Checkout podcasts, like our weekly Come Let us Reason podcast. It isn't as hard as you think. And it's crucial to remember just what's at stake.
You see, ideas have consequences. Believing what God says about people being made in His image caused advocates like William Wilberforce to rise up and demand the abolition of slavery. Believing that all human beings are precious powers the pro-life movement and has a direct impact on saving babies. It's not about trying to be some type of intellectual; it's about how knowledge affects the way we react to events as we see them. It means we're able to impact the world because we know things. We are fighting a spiritual war and souls hang in the balance. Let's fight smarter.