Thursday, November 14, 2019

Part IV: Theophobia: America Has Turned on Religion

This is part IV of my series. To read previous posts, click on these titles:

Introduction: Another Civil War in America? 

Part I: Racism: The Church, the Media, and the New Definition of Racist 

Part II: Abortion: A Once Private Decision That Became a Celebrated National Demand

Part III: Potusphobia: Fear, Hate, and the President  

A few recent articles. Click on the titles read:

Does the Democratic Party have a God problem?

America’s Changing Religious Identity

How Religious Fear is Shaping the Culture War

Hail Satan?:How a documentary is turning people into Satanists  

Decline of Christianity in America continuing at rapid pace, poll finds

Definition of theophobia: a morbid fear or hatred of God, or an irrational fear of religion.

In my last post, I used a new word, potusphobia, to describe how some citizens feel about the current president. This week's subject, theophobia, is nothing new. This particular fear is recognized, classified, and experienced by a large portion of the U.S. population. Fear of God is not so much an issue—not anymore. Few are left who fear His wrath, His judgment. Perhaps I’ve brought to your mind a cowering fear, a lightning bolt from Heaven anxiety. For those who’ve experienced God, and have been transformed by the gospel, fear of God is not like that. As one redeemed by the blood of Christ, I don’t fear His wrath. But I do fear His discipline. In other words, I have a healthy respect for His awesome power, knowing that He loves me enough to set me straight. But if you don’t believe that He is, then you can’t believe that He will. If you’ve worked Him out of your worldview then you don’t fear Him.

Hatred is another issue. The unbelieving soul hates the God it denies. On some level, this is true of all who are lost in unbelief. It’s in our nature to oppose God. In our post-Christian culture, the idea that some people still consider faith a viable life choice increases the hate and extends it. Hatred is growing against believers, laws supporting the believer’s right to believe, and public displays of belief.

This applies to the Christian Church, but also to other religions. Some believe Islam deserves our government’s protection and support, while others fear the Muslim people, considering them all terrorists. As well, anti-Semitism is on the rise in America and around the world. As fear of religion increases, so do rogue, dangerous religious activities. Satanism and witchcraft are both increasing in popularity.

As evil becomes mainstream, the true Church is blasted as an organization no longer representing America's heritage. No longer do we reflect on our history of Christianity as positive. Christians resist progress. Christians don’t care about the environment. Christians don’t like anyone who’s different. They don’t support the rights of others. It’s the Christians who are the haters. And all the rest are filled with love. 

It’s not that I don’t see how some people, like cattle drawn into a stampede, fall in line with this mindset, with a culture shift leaving Christianity on the barren ground to be trampled upon. I’m not crying about my rights. There is no “woe is me” and I’m not opposed to viewing the Church from the eyes of an outsider. I understand why some people have built a wall against Christianity.

But I won’t ever trade my freedom for the chains of their supposed enlightenment. Christians do value God’s creation. We delight in diversity. As American Christians, we ought to uphold the rights of every religious group. If they lose theirs, we lose ours. Christians, if they truly follow Christ, love others. Those who can’t stand our presence—and I don’t mean this in a hateful way—are filled not with love, but with lies.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5: 20-21
Even so, if we’re following Christ in truth, we will keep on loving others, including the ones who hate us. The stampede drags in some who don’t know better. They don’t know they’re about to run off a cliff. They don’t even know why they’re running. It’s hatred for God and fear of His Kingdom that goads them. And there is no hope for them apart from the redeeming love of Christ. If I were one of them, I’d be theophobic too.

Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3: 18-19

Is it possible that theophobia will lead to civil unrest? In many ways, it already has. But all-out war? If it happens, I will stand with my brothers and sisters in Christ even to the point of detainment, even unto death. If I remain alive and free, I pray I might offer refuge to Christians, Muslims, Jews, and anyone else imperiled by a war against religion. That's what Jesus would do. Only the Light can dispel the darkness.

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