If the celebrities and talking heads you like most taught you that religion is the source of all bigotry, you might learn to dislike religion. If TV and popular culture only pointed you toward heroic atheists and despicable Christians, you would avoid Christianity. If all you were taught of Christianity were Constantine’s rule, the crusades, the Inquisition and witch trials, you would detest it without understanding it.
The truth is, Christianity has done a lot more good in the real world than secular radicals want you to think.
In America, for example, over two centuries of religious liberty has not lead us to slavery; but away from it. Yes, it was from Christian principles and pulpits that the movement to abolish slavery first found and then sustained its steam. Our Christian heritage did not lead us to a theocracy but to democracy. It did not lead us to illiteracy but away from it. It did not lead us into primitive caves, but to progress. It did not pull us from science, but toward it. There would have been no Enlightenment without the Protestant Reformation diverting the focus of Western society away from tradition and toward Holy Scripture (calling people to read it and respond to its message in fresh and thoughtful ways). Our Christian heritage did not dilute human compassion but instead fostered countless hospitals, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, nursing homes, orphan homes, prison ministries, crisis pregnancy centers and relief organizations world-wide. And that is the tiny tip of the iceberg.
Freedom of religion is part of a priceless heritage we enjoy as Americans. It means you can express your faith out loud and in public. While others can disagree, they cannot muzzle you. Since the opponents of Christianity cannot legally silence us, they often strive instead to selectively discredit and disparage our heritage so that we may silence ourselves in false shame. Today, too many uninformed believers either have no clue regarding the rich Christian heritage we have as Americans or they loathe it because all they know of it is what the radical secularists in our media and our institutions of higher learning tell them. This is tragic.
It is actually possible to share your faith in Jesus without also feeling obligated to bash his beautiful Bride (the church). Try it some time. What good is our incredible freedom of faith if you keep it under the wraps of excessive misinformation or false shame? I am thankful for our freedom of faith in America. Let’s use it for good. Better still, I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus that gives me hope far beyond anything our beloved America can give.
The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.