Monday, August 31, 2009

We Are All Hindus... Say What?

The August 24 & 31, 2009 issue of Newsweek published a short article that caught my attention and has reignited a passion within me to help students and adults understand what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ and to worship God alone.

The article by Lisa Miller, which and be found on page 70, titled We Are All Hindus Now claims that "we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity."

A Hindu believes there are many paths to God, Jesus just being one of the ways.  Miller goes on to state that according to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life" - including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone.  Near the end of the article she records 24 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll.

My initial response was to question the statistics and to research "where" the surveys were given and how they were worded.  Then it hit me, I have witnessed this change of total acceptance and a fear of "judging" others and their beliefs for more than 17 years in youth ministry.  There was a day I was praised for teaching Josh McDowell's material Don't Check Your Brains at the Door by parents and students. However, I recently had a family meet with me to express their concern about how that could potentially make someone feel like they might not make it to Heaven if they don't believe Jesus is the Son of God. We are seeing a “Hindu style” religion right now in our schools, homes, teams, and even evangelical churches.  

I don't believe it's to late... I don't think it's ever to late.  We must begin to teach and explain not only what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how to worship through great music, but also the apologetics behind act of worship… why we as Christians believe what we believe.  

John 14:6 leave's no doubt in my mind that Jesus is the only way to God.  This needs to be our starting point, not our only point.  We, as Christians, believe it and therefore it's enough to read it and point to it in scripture.  We share our faith and now the rest is... well, up to the person to accept it and Holy Spirit to lead or not to lead.  If we are to share with people who believe that many paths lead to God and don’t judge how you believe or worship, I don't know how effective we will ever be unless we teach our students how to share their position on faith, not just their faith.  

Years ago I was somewhat fearful of teaching Christian apologetics, the sole reason was that I would have to know what I was talking about and have to "defend" it to those that would oppose it.  I have learned over the years that it's not a defense of one's belief that makes others want to follow; it's the practice of those beliefs.  If I believe Jesus is the Son of God and He came to love, and demonstrated this by His death on the cross, I must ask myself: "how do I sacrificially love?"  If I believe that I can look at a person's spiritual fruit and see how they are living, I need to ask others what kind of crop do I produce?  If I believe He came for the sick, how do I love those who are lost, broken, naked, hungry and empty? Sharing my life should in essence be sharing my faith.  The relationship I have with others should reflect my relationship with Christ.  My actions should help defend, define and what I believe and develop a curiosity for what I represent.  The smallest spark can ignite a fire.  

I would encourage you to check out materials from Group Publishing (www.group.com) and Josh McDowell (www.josh.org) to help in teaching your students how to better explain what it means to follow Jesus.

This is a "base-camp" post, there is a mountain of work and preparation to do, but the steaks and rewards will never be higher.  I am praying for you as you begin to lead and live what the Christian life is all about.

2 comments:

Nick Arnold said...

I agree, Todd. I've had these kinds of conversations with teens and they say things that totally throw me for a theological loop.

Biblical illiteracy is an epidemic. The doctrine flowing around now is a sort of Americanized version of humanistic values. This is why I think the biggest thing we can teach our parents is how to teach the Bible in their homes to their kids!

Jamy said...

You are right on...it is so difficult to help others understand that discernment and truth are not judgemental thoughts especially when presented in love...this wishy washy "your right, I am right, and you can't tell me that I am wrong" attitude is OUR sin...