Instead of a Christian revival, our nation is experiencing a Pagan revival. That, essentially, is the thesis of this article in The Washington Times, Losing our Religion: America becoming ‘pagan’ as Christianity cedes to culture (washingtontimes.com).
Here is how that article starts.
The Rev. Stephen M. Koeth, a Catholic priest and Ph.D. history candidate at Columbia University, was teaching a class one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermons that mentioned the road to Jericho. He found it striking that none of the students got the reference to the road, which is where the parable of the Good Samaritan takes place.
But then the Rev. Koeth realized it wasn’t just the road — the students weren’t familiar with the Good Samaritan.
That makes them pagans, in the very real sense of the word, he said.
“They have no knowledge, no practice, no anything,” he said. “It’s not that they’re antagonistic to religion. Some of them are, but often times it just has no meaning to them.” (continued here (washingtontimes.com))
The people Koeth refers to as Pagans most of the news media now calls “Nones”. As that article observes, the Nones are fastest growing group.
Yet all the growth is on the other side of the spectrum, the so-called “Nones,” or do not have a religious affiliation. That includes atheists and agnostics, but the real stunning rise within the Nones has been those who don’t so much actively question or reject God, as much as they don’t see a reason to bother with religion.
Call them the apathetics. (from here (washingtontimes.com))
Fifty years ago today’s news media would have refer to me as one of the Nones. Then I referred to myself as an agnostic. I had been raised as Christian but schooled in our public schools and by the mass media to disbelieve. To me religious belief looked like superstitious nonsense. So, for decades I payed Christianity little or no attention.
Nevertheless, I had some knowledge of Christianity. I knew the story of the Good Samaritan, and even though I did not appreciate its Christian roots, I practiced a Christian morality. Was I a Pagan?
especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)
2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person
//witches, druids, goddess worshippers, and other pagans in America today— Alice Dowd
Was I a Pagan? Well, the important thing is that I eventually read the Bible and believed it. The children becoming Nones now lack any knowledge of the Bible, and the absence of any knowledge or respect for Christian teachings is what disturbs Koeth. This generation of Nones has been isolated from the culture that created our country.
The apathetics don’t attend services, don’t ascribe to any one creed, and often don’t even have much familiarity with the faith world. They account for a bigger share of the population than the agnostics and atheists combined, and their numbers are growing by millions each year.
“They’re terrifying,” said Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor. “They have very low levels of income, low levels of education. They’re sort of checked out from modern society. They’re scary. They’re the people who are isolated.” (from here (washingtontimes.com))
Isolated? Why isolated? Secularism, the religious belief most promoted by the public school system and the mass media instills apathy and indifference. Because it has no answers for the big questions, that includes apathy and indifference to other people.
There are four big questions in life.
–Why am I here?
–What is right and wrong?
–What brings me meaning
–What happens to a human being when I die?
Christianity answers those questions with Jesus Christ, with the God who loves us and demands that we love and care about each other. At its best, Secularism in the form of Secular Humanism still doesn’t give people a good reason to care about each other. Doesn’t the establishment of close relationships with other people require lots of work and sacrifice? If the only reason to go to all that trouble is for sake of utility (i.e., Utilitarianism), what is the point? Why make the effort? Why change the focus from “ME” to somebody else?
Therefore, we come to a question. How is it that a constitutional republic founded by a nation of people who called themselves Christians is now in the process of raising successive generations ignorant of Christianity and the teachings of the Bible? The answer is that we have turned our responsibility for educating our children over to politicians, people nobody wants to trust, not if they are the least bit sane.
Why would we turn our children over to politicians? Laziness? To conform to the popular will? Ignorance? We just don’t know any better?
What did Jesus Christ command us to do?
Matthew 28:16-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Great Commission
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
How do we make disciples of all nations? We begin by discipling our own children and having them baptized. We need to take that responsibility for our children as seriously as the Bible tells us to take it.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
If that is way we are supposed to love God, does it make any sense whatsoever to send our children to secularized schools, to schools where the mention of God is superstitiously treated as taboo?
As Christians we have an obligation to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We cannot call ourselves followers of Christ and passively accept defeat. Therefore, I ask you to consider this suggestion. Please commit yourself to school choice. Please commit yourself to giving both yourself and your neighbors a choice. Please fight to give parents the choice of sending their children to schools where the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ are both taught and respected.