The above was posted on Facebook on Friday. I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”. I thought about it more as I went through the day. When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”. I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part. I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid. Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean? But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian. I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine! All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!” Everyone can stop having a fit — now!
But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point. Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority. Let me explain how Christianity is in danger. There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays. In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures. This same respect needs to be extended to Christians. It is not.
Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs. I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political). If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person. See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims! If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head. But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed. It has become popular to ridicule Christians. And no one raises a fuss. That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.
That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger. Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.
- Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
- Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
- Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
- Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
- Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
- Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
- Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
- Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”. Think about it. In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian. That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!
My Facebook friend is right. No one is making war on Christmas. Not overtly. Our greed does that just fine. No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really. Not in the physical sense. Not in America. We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity. Not really. We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread. Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change. And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.
So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control. Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God. Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you. And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.