Examples abound: In recent best sellers, Sam Harris (The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation) heaps scorn on religious believers, whose faith he derides as “a few products of ancient ignorance and derangement.” Richard Dawkins, the famed evolutionary biologist of Oxford University unleashed a vitriolic assault upon religion in his book, The God Delusion in which he calls for the intolerance of all religion. A cover story in Wired magazine entitled The New Atheism chronicles what it calls “the crusade against religion.” A study in the Journal of Religion and Society, albeit it dubious and facile, claims that belief in God correlates with higher rates of homicide, sexual promiscuity, and other social ills, and that when compared with relatively secular democracies, the churchgoing United States “is almost always the most dysfunctional.”

Interestingly Harris, Dawkins and the growing number of militant atheists who argue that religion is a principal source of evil in the world seem to overlook the more obvious examples where atheistic ideologies rather than religion led to the worst atrocities in all of human history — communism and Nazism being two notable examples.

Increasingly, secular fundamentalists demand that public schools and government venues be purged of their Christian heritage — be it a cross on the Los Angeles County seal, a courthouse display of the Ten Commandments, or the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. This ground has not been taken by secular forces but rather surrendered by a weak and apathetic Church. Thus we stand at the crossroads and we too must ask for the “ancient paths” and by God’s grace recover historic orthodox Christianity and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

We must cast off this culturalized civil religion that passes for Christianity and recover a true knowledge of Christ as Redeemer and King whose kingdom has come and then live in bold and faithful obedience.
So let us resolve to return from this time of holiday celebration and fellowship with a renewed vigor that seeks the glory of Christ made manifest in and through His church.

© 2009 by S. Michael Craven

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S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith (Navpress), which is scheduled for release January 30, 2009. (You can pre-order a signed copy HERE) Michael's ministry is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit: www.battlefortruth.org. Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.