Religion: Can We Know God? (26)-Education

   Atheists and agnostics know more about religion than the average Christian. This is according to a Pew Forum study based on 32 questions of basic religious knowledge. This is according to Sam Hodges, Religion writer of the Dallas Morning News, on page 10A of the Dallas Morning News, on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

   Do we need any more reason to reject the quasi-traditional revivalism of the tent, the prosperity nonsense gospel of the tele-evangelist or the entertainment model of the mega-plex religious center? We lose the culture war a little more every day because we allow the erosion of knowledge in our congregations. It is not because we do not believe. We just don't know any more.

   We may find we have lost the shrinking Christian sub-culture to the entertainment mega-plex. All of us watch potentially productive worshipers drive to the hottest band. This is not much different from the traditional revivalism of past decades, when Christianity was well accepted and the church was the best show in town.

My argument here is different from that one. I think we are losing the culture wars because we are losing the knowledge war, which is different from losing the shrinking church going sub-culture. We are simply no longer equipped to do battle with the better informed Islamists, atheists and agnostics in our midst, or the spiritually apathetic portion of the population, who routinely dismiss our belief in the basis of knowledge. Simply put, these folks do not care about our stories or worship styles.

Please see the Christian entertainment mega-plex is a form of monasticism, though it is a monastery without the solitude and meditation. It is sugar; empty calories, sweet to the taste, turning to ugly fat once in the body.

If the entire religious system of a generation can be undone by the sincere (or sneering) question, "How do you know?" it may be time to turn off the amps and go back to school. We can grant the relativity of knowledge, as is consistent with the teachings of ancient scientist Paul in his writings cf. I Corinthians 8:2. We dare not let all Christian knowledge be subsumed to a more aggressive, better educated belief system or, more tragically, pushed aside to the intellectual ghetto.

I argue here that one fellow who can answer the knowledge questions may be of more worth to the Kingdom than ten who can tell you the name of their favorite worship leader. I intend to stir up a hornet's nest there.


Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

11 thoughts on “Religion: Can We Know God? (26)-Education”

  1. All good and true, but the only ones we can influence are the people we have and those whom we can engage. I’m watching people drive 30 minutes from our small town to find the ‘worship experience’ they are looking for. How much ‘sugar’ should we add to the medicine that cures souls?

  2. One: It it curing the soul?
    Two: We ought not be boring.
    Three: We are losing the culture wars to the 36 mile drives. We may have to take away some of the sugar from them and tell them they are idiots.

  3. “Curing the soul”- borrowed from old Puritan way of speaking about pastoral work.
    As for boring worship, most of us do what we can with who and what we have (volunteer leadership and such). I could pull out my guitar and lead worship in a modern style, but that just turns the whole hour into the Brother Jay show and shreds my vocal cords.
    Anyway, I see that you took the article in a different direction after I posted. I will humbly accept my place as your ever-learning fellow servant. Thanks for making us think deeply about these things.

  4. Many Christians today want entertainment more than serious faith. They want a big show, and when they get tired of a show, they find a new show. Instead of being discipled, they are seeking a spiritual buzz. Not to be buzzkill, but the world sees the shallowness that exists in much of Christendom, and many of them don’t see a need to buy in…

  5. Rick,
    I intended to comment on this earlier, but got distracted. “I think we are losing the culture war because we are losing the knowledge war” is a great statement. I am a tireless advocate to Christians to read. I constantly recommend books. I seek to choose books that someone who is not an avid reader would nevertheless be able to finish. You are exactly right. When we were college students there was not nearly so much outstanding resources as exist today.
    I also agree that the American church seems more interested in who throws the best party than in what is actually taught. Thank you for this post.

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