I recently listened to a report from a local Christian charily that works in schools. They reported that in the question times they often have they have noticed a change in tone recently. They said that they have noticed an increase in questions that are openly antagonistic to the Christian faith.
That comment was in mind when I read the text of Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the Cinnamon Network launch of the Faith Action Audit. He said, “The public view of religion among young people, according to a YouGov poll – well, alright it’s a poll, but … the reputation of religion among young people is actually more negative than neutral: 41% – this was a poll in 2013, when they still got them right – 41% of 18-24 year olds agreed that “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world” and only 14% say it is a cause for good.
I am horrified to hear that levels of faith literacy is so poor that so many young people can think “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world”. Such ignorance of the facts of history!
I then had this article by Stephen McAlpine recommended to me . It certainly resonates with what I have been thinking as I feel a change in climate here in the UK towards Christians. He speaks of the last season we have been in as a time when the church has been trying to engage with an uninformed outside world he calls ‘exile stage 1’, compared to the new season he calls ‘exile stage 2’.
Exile Stage 2 is where we are now and a feature of it is the increasing intolerance of the outside world to the Christian faith. Many of us will have already noted that the only politically correct intolerance seems to be that which is aimed at the Christian faith and at Christian believers. This even seems to distort news reporting when covering the current innumerable deaths of Christians across the globe by Muslims.
Some of the article I felt a bit concerned about as I was wondering if it contradicted the position Christians should hold on the subject of Kingdom. After all we are to pray “Thy kingdom come…” as well as work for its realisation.
Bits I particularly liked in this article:
Simply put we assume that we can have more impact on culture than it can have on us. That is dangerously naive thinking. Jesus never said the culture will misunderstand you, he said the world will hate you. He did not say to his disciples, “Display reckless abandon and go out there and change culture,”, he said “fear not, I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33).
I have watched as what began as a series of questions beginning with “What if we changed the perspective on how we look at this traditional issue?” to “Did God really say?”. And painful though it is to say, the post-evangelical Sexuality Gospel has simply replaced the Boomer Prosperity Gospel for a generation that idolises the comfort that experience offers, rather than the comfort that money offers.
Stephen’s follow up article to this one is worth reading too where he likens exile stage 1 to fencing with the outside culture, compared to exile stage 2 which he likens to cage fighting. Whether he is correct or not, we are living in interesting times.