Saturday, June 30, 2012

Decline of Christian discernment: Western and Eastern perspectives

There is no doubt that much of Christianity in the West has become uber-tolerant to the point that it has blended itself invisibly into the decadent cultural morass.  It is difficult to distinguish main stream Christian moral standards from those of the rest of the non-Christian culture.  Tolerance, a blind eye, and everyone has a right to do whatever they want is liberty run amuck as condoned by the Christian mainstream.  There is not much difference between the moral attitudes of mainstream Christians and bold-faced progressives I have recently encountered.

One casualty I have noted in this pathetic progressive Christian phenomenon is the attitude of most churches to the real threat of Islam.  They are oblivious.  In most cases, Islam is not on the sermon or Sunday School radar at all.  But in many liberal denominations, when Islam is discussed, it is of the Karen Armstrong variety**:  defense of Islam as an unworthily persecuted religion of peace that is misunderstood by Islamophobic bigots.  Armstrong’s version of Islam is what is promoted by the mainstream media, universities, and increasingly by the federal government, and especially the Department of Justice, State Department, and sadly, the military.  And yes, by most churches, going so far as their Kum Bey Yah-esque ecumenicalism that declares Allah, the god of Islam, as one and the same as God, the Yehweh of Jews and Christians.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  The natures of Allah and God are as different as night and day.  Anyone who seriously studies this topic need only do 10 minutes of research to figure this out.  This is how far the undiscerning western churches have undermined Biblical truth.

What about Christianity in the Mid-Eastern and Eastern Churches?  Do they have the same lapse of moral judgment?  Have they become as stone cold ignorant of the faith as we westerners?  After a recent discussion on this topic with a Catholic priest from Latvia, the answer is NO.  Compared to the churches in Western Europe, the US and Canada, churches further to the east are persevering in their orthodox doctrine and are remaining much more true to their faith.  Why is this the case?

Here is the simplistic answer:  Persecution and hardship.  Their lives have multiple times the challenges of ours in the West.  God is more real and present in their lives because that is all they have to give them hope.  Here in the West we are preoccupied and self-absorbed in all sorts of sports, entertainment and technological goodies.  Our standard of living provides numerous God-substitutes.  We can afford to water down not only the Gospel, but virtually all the moral standards that go hand and hand with the Gospel.  Mid-Eastern and Eastern Christians don’t have that luxury.  And spiritually it makes them much better off.  Plus, as regards Islam, they have Islamic doctrine staring them square in the face in the form of daily persecutions and intimidation – all based on the Islamic doctrine that most Westerners presently deny.

We in the West have much to look forward to, given our lack of discernment.  And it ain’t pretty.


**Karen Armstrong’s writings were my first exposure to Islam during my Kum Bey Yah phase of understanding right after 9-11.  Her books were all that was available in the bookstores during that period.  Since then I have spent serious time learning about such Islamic doctrines as Abrogation, Taqiyya, and Sharia.  And I have applied some common sense in tracking and interpreting the actions of Muslims informed by prevailing orthodox teachers of Islam today to come through Armstrong’s disingenuous fog to understand the reality of Islam and the challenges it presents to our Judeo-Christian western culture.

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