If a Culture and Society Reflects Christianity Less and Less, How Should Christians Respond?

What does it mean for a society and culture to reflect Christianity? That’s a pretty big question to answer, and I prefer avoiding it. So let me start by an example. Let’s say that homosexuality becomes a social norm. Some Christians may not believe homosexuality is prohibited by Christianity, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that it is. How should Christians respond? Let’s rule out changing this via laws. Should Christians invest energy overturning this? There are many ways this could be done. Christians, particularly prominent Christians, could speak out about this. They could fight against the use of school curriculum that normalizes homosexuality. There are many ways of doing this, that don’t involve legislation or electoral politics. Let’s use another example. What about divorce, premarital sex, and objectification of women? In what ways should Christians act to make this less of a social and cultural norm?

Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer on any of this. A big part of my attitude assumes that secular–that is, worldly–society and culture will not reflect Christianity very well. Therefore, culture and society moves further away from Christianity, a part of me feels this is natural, and something I shouldn’t fight to stop.

Then again, shouldn’t Christians try strengthen certain norms and institutions. If Christians took steps to strengthen marriage, including the quality of the relationship, wouldn’t that be a good thing? If women were less objectified, less seen as sexual objects, I don’t see how that wouldn’t be a good thing, and something that would be a worthy goal for Christians.

Perhaps, the problem comes down to the means by which Christians achieve these objectives. And maybe the motivations and degree of effort Christians put forth. For example, Christians could be motivated because by a desire to preserve a culture and society they are most comfortable with, and maybe this becomes more important than their relationship with God and loving others.

Again, I don’t clear answers for this, which is why I started the thread. What do you guys think?

2 thoughts on “If a Culture and Society Reflects Christianity Less and Less, How Should Christians Respond?

  1. I want you to know I didn’t just read this and let it go. Part of me, even though I had a response as soon as you posted this, just didn’t want to get into it because if it’s just a conversation between you and me, I think we already know each other’s stances. You might think you don’t know mine, but if I forced you to predict it, I’d say you’d nail most of it although I would think you got certain details I considered important wrong, and you’d think they were either unimportant details or you’d try to convince me that we actually agreed on those details.

    I worry sometimes that you’re shouting into a chasm hoping for some kind of response from someone, and it makes me sad that you often don’t get it. But I hope you understand that engaging you in this is likely to take a lot of energy toward what’s certain to be our same disagreement.

    Still, you ask a big question that I think is important, so I’ll answer.

    I don’t think our concern as Christians is society. Ever. I think it’s people. I don’t want people not to objectify women because of laws or social pressures or whatever. I want them not to do it because their hearts tell them not to. And I believe with everything I have that this is the only approach: to let the spirit do its thing, to stay out of the spirit’s way, and to respond to the spirit when it tells us to do or say something.

    As humans, we must be concerned with society. Let’s end sex trafficking because it’s objectively wrong in a society that values human life. How we respond as citizens and how we respond as Christians are (and must be) two different things, even if the motiviation for both comes from the same place. I know I’ve said this before, but everything I believe politically is an expression of what I believe spiritually.

    Anyway sorry. I know you’re not going to be happy with that answer. So feel free to tell me where you think it’s an unsatisfactory response and I’ll do my best to stay with you!

  2. I want you to know I didn’t just read this and let it go. Part of me, even though I had a response as soon as you posted this, just didn’t want to get into it…

    I appreciate you saying this, and I can understand why you didn’t want to get into it. (One thing, though: You’re really sure that we really wouldn’t agree on areas that I think we might agree?)

    I worry sometimes that you’re shouting into a chasm hoping for some kind of response from someone, and it makes me sad that you often don’t get it. But I hope you understand that engaging you in this is likely to take a lot of energy toward what’s certain to be our same disagreement.

    I think I appreciate the second point, or at least I try to. For this reason, I’m grateful for the first point. I suspect you (and Don) often respond to help me out, and I really do appreciate that.

    How we respond as citizens and how we respond as Christians are (and must be) two different things, even if the motiviation for both comes from the same place.

    If you allow that one’s faith may be the source for the way one responds as citizens, then isn’t this tantamount to a Christian acting to shape society? The Christian may justify their actions in a secular way, but if their faith and religious beliefs and values power their actions, then this seems like a Christian acting to shape the society in accordance with their beliefs. What am I missing?

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