Culture is a collection of activities that are regular to a group of people. It is an inescapable reality that we are all born into and contribute to. It doesn’t matter where you are born, who your family is or what country you claim.
It is an inescapable reality that we are all born into and contribute to.
The United States has a culture. And some think that an essential element to our culture is that we are a Christian nation. (Much to the sha-grin of many an Atheist). It may surprise you to know that I do not believe the United State is or was a Christian nation. What I believe, rather, is that we were once a nation of Christians. I mean to make a subtle difference so let me explain.
To be a “Christian nation,” in my mind, is to be a theocracy. In a Christian nation, it is the government’s responsibility to keep Christianity in the American culture because it’s the nation that is Christian. This is obviously an incorrect, especially given the Constitution’s First Amendment and Freedom of Religion. That being said, it is beyond dispute that the United Stated has borrowed principles from the Bible because our founders were hugely influenced by the Bible.
My view, rather, is that we were once a nation of Christians. To be a nation of Christians means that those who in the nation are primarily Christian independently of what the government says or does. That most people, given religious freedom and the evidence, are persuaded that Christianity is True. Being a nation of Christians, rather than a Christian nation, makes Christians responsible to keep Christianity in American culture.
I think this decline of Christianity is because we have forgotten that our engagement with the culture at large helps to shape what our culture becomes.
It has been well researched and documented, sadly, that there is a general decline of Christianity in the American culture. I think this decline is because we have forgotten that our engagement with the culture at large helps to shape what our culture becomes. But by engagement I mean more than service projects or giving money, even though those are meaningful. Rather we should get involved in public conversations and persuasion. For example, I had a professor who agreed to participate in a debate about a controversial public topic. My professor came out of the debate feeling not so great about his performance but was still excited about having actually making his views known. Even if he did not persuade anyone, his being there was an attempt to engage the culture and thereby influence it.
Christian Apologetics is a way to engage our culture in meaningful conversation.
Christian Apologetics is a way to engage our culture in meaningful conversation. And it is particularly strong way since we are engaging on topics and ideas that the world is already engaged in.
For example, there is hardly a person on this plant that does not think that there is something wrong with the world. Some may say it is government. Others may say it is education. Still other’s may say climate change or natural disasters are what’s wrong with the world. These are examples of what philosophers call the “Problem of Evil.” The Bible has a lot to say about evil. And contrary to popular thought, evil can be a powerful proof for God’s existence (more on that later) in an apologetic argument.
By studying and practicing Christian apologetics we can have a positive impact on our culture that will outlast individual lives.
You Friendly Neighborhood Apologist