This blog is very young still…and while visits are growing, I’m still a pretty modestly visited destination compared to a lot of blogs. I think I’ve done better than most in getting traction early, but there’s still a long way to go. Still, while I’m early in this journey, I think I see signs of what is to come. I’ve hit a tipping point of sorts, with some folks who are atheist (or at least very seriously skeptical agnostics) having found me and presenting some very fine arguments for their side.
I don’t shy from this, and I don’t begrudge them being here. If you click through my blogroll and “other places I like to visit” links in the sidebar, you’ll see that I am encouraging people to go to all kinds of sites, some of them authored by people who are very critical of religious faith. I’ve never promoted ignorance or narrow-mindedness among the faithful or the unsaved. The people who have come to my blog so far to question my stands have been very articulate and interesting.
But it does remind me that however civil it may be, I am waging a battle here on a field that is littered with souls thanks to an ongoing battle on Satan’s part against God. To be more clear though, I am not in battle with atheists or people of other faiths though. While there may be discussion, debate and even arguments/fights around here, I am not at war with individuals. I may have to defend myself and my faith against some of them, but my fight is not with them. My biggest enemies are the world itself and the guy who still pulls a lot of the strings: Satan.
The simple fact is that the day-to-day world we live in is a creation of us flawed humans. Flawed out of the starting gate and born in the image of Satan. Few people think they are bad, but that’s because the “badness” isn’t something obvious. It isn’t evil so much as it is a desire to be totally a part of the world and not a part of God. It’s insidious and we can do good things while still being pretty dirty inside.
Now, I’m sure many atheists and agnostics would argue that with so many people who have religious beliefs in the world, I am obviously mistaken that the vast and overwhelming majority of people are of the world rather than being about religion. But how many people are seeking spiritual growth in those religious systems as opposed to simply doing what they were raised to do or doing what they are told to do or going through the motions because it looks good to be in church, or synagogue, or temple, or wherever?
Most people are derailed both from spiritual growth and evangelism because they get caught up in the world. And that’s the way Satan likes to keep things. And he stays in the background, doing very little directly, and letting people (including many Christians) believe that he either doesn’t exist or is a funny looking red guy with a pointy tail.
The early Christian church, the one the apostles were forming, did it right. What it stood for, what it taught and how it promoted a spiritual community was spot-on. But it existed in a world where people have agendas and desires. The Word of God became something that would ultimately be used to keep people in line or derive power and privilege, and it got misused. The religion of Christianity got tainted and while it still holds something powerful and good at its core, there is a constant desire by many folks to keep it in the realm of control and power instead of people gathering around it to become more godly and spiritual and useful to the world.
So too does the temporal and carnal world around us give us many reasons to be distracted and weak. We live in a world where generally speaking, you measure success by money or power or prestige or a combination of them. How many people are lifted up and held as a positive example because they spread the Word of God? Very few. How many religions start drifting from their core to begin preaching rewards instead of service and humility? Probably all of them eventually. Let’s take the virgins promised to Muslim men in the afterlife in certain strains of Islam or the prosperity ministries in the Christian faith as just two examples.
And then there is pressure from academia against religion. Even if you go back to more “god fearing” times like the 1800s or first half of the 20th century, you will see that scientists and researchers and teachers were rewarded for what they could bring to the world to advance it monetarily, technologically or in other material ways. Nothing wrong with that, of course; I like progress as much as the next guy. But how much encouragement was there, really, to focus on research or defense of things spiritual? Much less. And so, once again, the ways of the world helped to reduce religion.
People see Christianity as something in decline and say this is because “reality” is rendering it irrelevant. But I see it more as people who are focused on almost everything but God (a tragic element of the human condition) increasingly marginalizing spiritual matters and thus creating the illusion that it is nonsense…or misusing religion for their own ends and damaging its reputation.
And so, I stand with others in the faith who know that what we know is right, but who don’t have the ammunition that the temporal/carnal world has. I’m a guerrilla fighter, not a soldier in some organized army, and that’s a hard way to fight the good fight for God and win people’s hearts and souls over to His side.
People will no doubt continue to challenge my beliefs here in the comments, and that is a good thing. Keep it coming. But I will be honest up-front that I am not going to always be able to counter their deep research and logical theories with something that seems equally ironclad. In other words, my ass will get kicked sometimes. My recent blog suggesting that atheism was a religion had some good points, but even I have to concede that there were logical flaws in my arguments and some stretching of words’ meaning. I am a writer, and I like to think critically, and I have a lot of generalist knowledge…but I’m not an academic and I’m not a debater. I’m not even much of a fighter. But I will continue to do what I must to raise up the Lord Jesus Christ here. I hope that my heart and my love and my spirit will shine forth, because those are my key weapons in this war. Because it’s all about faith, and while I can spew out logical and scientific and historical evidence to back up some of what I talk about, there is only so much that such things can be applied to spiritual matters.
Anyway, back to the trenches, folks. War is hell…and the guy at the top of the heap in Hell no doubt would like to see me lay down my armor and weapons. My words may be crass at times and my weapons not always as sharp as they could be, but I didn’t come into Christianity with pollyanna beliefs and an expectation for things to be easy. Being on the right side isn’t always the comfortable thing. I don’t doubt people in general and Satan himself will get some good shots in at me, I don’t doubt that I will be wounded…but I’m not ready to give up.
(Image from Hellgate: London video game from Flagship Studios)