Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Voices We Hear and the Voices We Don’t
Have you ever boldly asked someone, “Are you a Christian? What is your faith? What do you believe?” Politicians, especially from New England, like to say, “Well, that’s a private matter. I don’t choose to talk openly about my faith.” These voices usually claim some sort of Christianity but they are either ashamed to be self-proclaimed followers of Christ or they recognize that it is not politically expedient to reveal a faith that may be offensive to some of their non-believing constituents.
Both politicians and celebrities love to talk about themselves, but celebrities speak with less hesitance about their faith, especially if it separates them from the mainstream and makes them seem a bit peculiar. It seems strange that so many celebrities are involved in Scientology. John Travolta credits his success to Scientology, “I would say that Scientology put me into the big time." (ABC News.com) Will Smith, a good friend to Tom Cruise says, “I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious." (Blender, June 2005) Lisa Marie Presley said, “"Were it not for Scientology, I would either be completely insane or dead by now." – (ABC News.com)
The voices we now hear promoting atheism are becoming almost deafening. Woody Allen adds humor to his revelation of atheism. “Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends." (New Yorker) The late comedian, George Carlin, took pride in believing in nothing at all, “I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country. I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas." (Godless Geeks) Katherine Hepburn shallowly proclaimed to the Ladies Home Journal in October, 1991, “I’m an atheist and that’s it.” Angelina Jolie doesn’t take us any deeper when she proclaimed, “There doesn't need to be a God for me.” (Religionfacts.com)
There are more and more voices I could share but won’t take up the space. There are voices promoting Mormonism, Buddhism, Mohammedism, Hinduism and just about every other ism you can imagine. But do you notice, the voices that proclaim Christianity are nearly silent or non-existent? Many Christians have passively been muzzled by a secular politically correctness that ostracizes Christian voices from religious discussions. If you proclaim any other god you are welcome to the discussion but if you proclaim Christ you are pegged a fanatic and unworthy to be heard.
Christians must not be manipulated into silence by cultural bullies. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) This truth is essential to all who would find salvation and eternal life through Christ. In an age when non-Christian religions and cults are multiplying daily it is imperative that Christian voices be heard. There is much room for tolerance in the Christian faith, but with this particular issue there must be no compromise. When John the Baptist pointed to the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world he wasn’t pointing to Buddha or Mohammed, he was pointing to Jesus, the very Son of God!
Might we go so far as to say that this is a life and death matter? We must not be hesitant to share the Christian message of love, forgiveness and hope because “Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).
The whole scenario of the problem of man was neatly summed up by Emil Brunner, pastor of the Fraumunster Kirche in Zurich, Switzerland. He said that every man has a past, a present and a future. All of us have a problem in the past, a problem in the present and a problem in the future. The problem in our past is the problem of sin. God’s answer to that problem is faith and trust in the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The problem of the future is death. The answer to that problem is hope in the return of Christ who promised a resurrection to all who believe. The problem of the present is hatred. God’s answer to that problem is the love of Christ which can supplant hatred in the heart of the believer.
When I married my bride I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world, I still do. I love to take her by the arm and show the world the woman who is my wife. Should we be no less proud of the one who became our Savior? Should we not share the attitude of John when he said, “He must increase and I must decrease”? (John 3:30)
We must witness for Christ not only because we want to but also because we have been commanded to. “Christ does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). With that in mind, let us be obedient to the command of Christ to "Go and make disciples of all nations"; and "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15)