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Defending Your Faith In a Secular Culture

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2022 5:00 am

Defending Your Faith In a Secular Culture

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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November 7, 2022 5:00 am

Natasha Crain outlines the four pillars of secularism that are pervasive in the culture and challenges the church to recommit to a biblical foundation so we can effectively reach hearts and minds for Christ.

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I remember just getting like really panicky like no I have to figure this out right now because my my son's gonna come home from school in like two hours and I have to know what to say. When Holly's son was considering suicide she called a focus on the family counselor. All those years I'd been listening to focus I was thinking about how they were like that practical guide for me that was sound advice I could get from them.

I didn't really know where else to turn. I'm Jim Daley working together we can rescue hurting parents like Holly and give families hope. We need the truth that focus on the family brings into our minds and into our homes. We need that if we're gonna raise up the next generation of believers to walk in obedience and to walk in the truth that God loves us.

Donate today at slash hope and your gift will be doubled. Well I think that's what's happening for a lot of Christians. The pressures are coming in and we're not even realizing it because we don't understand the nature of the culture. We don't understand ultimately what secularism is all about and how these messages are in great conflict with the biblical worldview. A sobering glimpse of American Christianity today and how so many of us are caving into what the world says instead of what God says. This is focus on the family and we'll be diving deeper into that topic today. Our guest is Natasha Crane and she'll be sharing about how to defend your faith in this culture as you serve as an ambassador for Christ. Your host is focus president and author Jim Daley and I'm John Fuller. John I think it's clear that while many profess to be Christians in our country those of us who are Christians need to be better informed about what the Word of God says. What's the heart of God for us in this culture and today's culture is so hostile to true Christianity and many believers are afraid to speak the truth of the gospel for fear of being silenced or shamed. Recently I had a great conversation with Natasha Crane who will help us learn to stand up for our beliefs, lovingly confront the lies in the culture and do so with the fruit of the Spirit. We can do that. She'll remind us to have confidence that God is with us as we engage with others and I hope everyone will be challenged and encouraged by what she has to share.

I'm sure they will be. Natasha Crane is a speaker, author, blogger and podcaster and she graduated from Biola University with a certificate in Christian apologetics along with an MBA from UCLA. Now Natasha has written four books including the one that really forms the foundation of today's program. It's called Faithfully Different, Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture and it really is packed with amazing content. We have it.

The link is in the program notes. Let's go ahead and listen now. Here's Jim Daley and Natasha Crane on Focus on the Family. Natasha, welcome to Focus on the Family. Thank you so much. So good to see you. I so appreciate the research that you put into your book.

This is great. Faithfully Different, Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture. I think right now this couldn't be a more critical resource for Christians. What motivated you to get here?

Why did you do this? Well for a lot of years I was writing about apologetics specifically for parents so I was kind of in a very specific zone of writing and speaking but in 2020 with all the social unrest that started happening my eyes just really opened to how much was going on in culture that I hadn't really focused on before and I wrote this blog post called Five Ways that Christians are getting swept into a secular worldview in this cultural moment and this thing went crazy online. It was liked and shared over 277 thousand times. Yeah, it struck a nerve. It struck a nerve absolutely because I just was receiving emails from people for weeks saying I was having trouble putting my finger on what exactly is going on right now.

It doesn't seem biblical. A lot of these movements, a lot of these things that people are talking about and things that are going on but I didn't know exactly what to do with it. So I realized that there was this real need for people to understand more clearly the difference between a biblical worldview and a secular one and so that's really what led to me reading, writing faithfully different eventually. And in fact you looked at a lot of research. A lot of the research is fairly new 2018 2019 about where Christians are people who claim to be Christians and where they're at with their worldview, their perspective. We get down to terms like conventional Christian, once-a-month Christian. I don't know how these researchers keep it all straight but what shocked you looking at some of that research about Christians in the United States? Yeah, well according to the Pew Forum who conducts a lot of this research out on a large scale and they track it over time and called the Religious Landscape Studies and what they found as recently as 2019 is that if you call people up and you ask them just a single question about what best describes their religious beliefs or their religious affiliation you give them a list of things like Mormon Jewish Christian atheist agnostic. If you ask people that question 65% of Americans will say Christian and that's kind of shocking because most of us who are Christians look around and we say well it doesn't feel like nearly two-thirds of culture are really Christ followers.

So that seems really surprising. We have to realize that in that kind of research really all it's looking at is how do people self-identify? What kind of label do they apply to themselves? They can mean all kinds of different things by Christian. So what we really want to know is how many people have a biblical worldview? In other words, how many people actually believe the core truths is taught in the Bible and seek to live accordingly? And for that research you can look at Arizona Christian University's Cultural Research Center and they have instead of just asking people how you identify they give dozens of questions to people directly about what they believe and how they live their lives and then the researchers are the ones that classify okay these people have a basic biblical worldview. So they give them their behavior and then the researchers say okay this is a conventional Christian.

The behavior plus the beliefs right? So they they use over 40 questions yes it's it's great research and what they found is that only about six percent of Americans have a biblical worldview. How would you encourage us as believers to think about the postmodern culture? You know I've often said recently in the last few years I mean with the pace of progressive liberalism that the United States is in a post-Christian environment. You know those Judeo-Christian values that the nation was built upon aren't holding together like they used to and you're seeing that certainly in the universities but how do we as believers behave in a postmodern culture and you know encourage Christians particularly to become more Christian? Yeah I think that what's really important as a starting point for that is for Christians to understand the nature of the worldview that surrounds us because a lot of times it's not so openly hostile in terms of okay there is no God. When we hear that we know okay that's in conflict with a Christian belief obviously but the cultural kinds of statements that we hear today are things like follow your heart and you be you be your authentic self and Christians are not as in tune with what all of that means and so the way that I summarize it is that secularism overall this worldview that surrounds us is all about the authority of the self. In other words it's all about the individual determining what's true about reality what's right or wrong good or bad for me personally and of course that's at fundamental odds with a Christian worldview where God is the authority about what matches up with reality because he's the creator of reality and we look to God as a standard of what is right and wrong and good or bad so this is why our culture is so fundamentally at odds with Christianity we're talking about the authority of the self versus the authority of God. Yeah and that fits right in with that concept of the cancel culture I've received some of that you focus being at the tip of the spear in some ways with the idea of marriage traditional marriage etc we get a lot of pushback and people try to cancel us and our thoughts and ideas speak to cancel culture and the abrasive nature of it and the I think anti-intellectual nature of it. Yeah I think cancel culture ultimately is at the very bottom level of it is about saying that free speech is actually not the ultimate good because some speech is so harmful to oppressed groups that it's not worth protecting and if you're gonna come out and you're going to say something that we believe is harmful that the idea itself is harmful to an oppressed community if you're gonna do that then we're not going to allow you to speak to anyone at all. In this context of secularism you mentioned four pillars in your book what are the four pillars? So if we think about the authority of the self you might think well that means that there are millions of people with millions of different worldviews but at the end of the day if you're the authority on everything then there are some commonalities between all these individual authorities out there and so identify them as number one feelings are your ultimate guide so if you don't have anything external to yourself then the one thing you have to guide you is your feelings.

How dangerous is that? It's extremely dangerous and this is where we get these cute little things like follow your heart and be the authentic you and only you know what's best. Those sound a little innocuous at first if you don't think about them but they are very much the tip of an entire worldview iceberg of the authority of the self. The second one is that happiness is the ultimate goal so feelings are your guide you have to ask well okay where are feelings guiding you they're guiding you to whatever you subjectively determined to be your happy place and I think this is why you see so much of this in culture so much talk about well it made me happy and you see that as a justification for so many things how many times do we hear for example women who are pro-choice who stand up and say well I'm actually happier because I had an abortion they say this because the ends justify the means it's almost like the mic drop at the end of that story right everyone's gonna understand that happiness made this okay so that's a very dangerous place to be too when you are following your subjective feelings to your subjective happiness you're in a very dangerous place and all the reinforcement of those things through social media the mainstream media I mean it's all about that absolutely it's coming from all directions to reinforce that these are the right ways to live don't pay attention to anything that's external to yourself you're the authority let me yeah I was gonna say let me ask you a question then we'll continue on that train of thought but when you look at it again how does a Christian withstand that kind of social cultural influence to not succumb to the very things we started with with the research well I think that's what's happening for a lot of Christians the pressures are coming in and we're not even realizing it because we don't understand the nature of the culture we don't understand ultimately what secularism is all about and how these messages are in great conflict with a biblical worldview once we can understand that then we can start to look at things through a different lens and that's how I hope that these pillars of secularism that I talk about in the book I hope that they will help people to kind of give that lens for looking at things differently that when you hear these things about your feelings when you hear those keywords about happiness or the third pillar judging is the ultimate sin when you start to hear those things then they should trigger you to think okay that is a worldview that is based on the authority of the self as a Christian I have a biblical worldview that's based on the authority of God and his word and no matter what I feel no matter what makes me subjectively happy I'm going with what God's word says because that is my authority that's the difference ultimately so three is judging what's the fourth pillar and the fourth one is that God is the ultimate guess so in other words secular culture is actually not totally godless a lot of people think that secularism is synonymous with atheism but that's not true actually 90% of Americans do believe in a God or a higher power but what's not okay is to believe in a specific God as long as you believe in a generic God and it's just a guess as to who that God is or what he might want from us or any of those things secular culture is okay with that you can thank God in general but you cannot believe in a specific God who has actually revealed himself through something like Holy Scripture because now we know who he is and that there are certain requirements of us people don't like that definitive truth that's right because that challenges the authority of the self yeah and that's yeah people get uncomfortable with that and I think younger Christians particularly as I've looked at the research and millennial Christians they're very uncomfortable talking about faith with people who have no faith because they feel it's inappropriate or rude speak to that for a minute I mean is that how do we combat that as parents of these Millennials and Gen Xers and zeros yeah there's absolutely this cognitive dissonance going on for a lot of Millennials because the research has found that about half of Millennials say that it's wrong actually wrong to share your faith with someone in the hope that they will convert and share the same beliefs yet 96% of Millennials also say that an important part of being a Christian is sharing about your faith those things don't really make sense together on the one hand you're saying okay it's important to do on the other hand you're saying it's wrong so they have really been influenced by secular culture saying that God can only be a guest who are you to come along and say anything whatsoever about what I should or shouldn't believe and what a great scheme by the enemy of our souls to get people to do stupid things to prevent you from pursuing a faith and a path with God right I mean it's just be exactly what Satan would do let me ask you about this issue of equality that's big you know the equality issue it sounds right I mean people want to be treated equally that's good but outcomes it typically moves into that idea that we need equal outcomes for people with their labor with their renumeration of labor all those kinds of things describe the battle of equality and what it truly means or doesn't mean well this is one of those examples where if you want to get moral buy-in to something that's different than what people have already held you're gonna have to redefine the language in some way my background is in marketing actually before I ever got into writing and speaking and so I can see right through this that actually secular culture markets a new kind of morality to us which is quite fascinating to watch and really that starts with redefinition it's redefining key words that people have a positive association with already and now lumping your view in with that so whereas equality used to just mean okay we all are of inherently equal value which is by the way from a biblical worldview made in the image of God exactly it comes from the biblical worldview that we can claim that humans are all equal we've moved from that to equality being conflated with all kinds of other things such as okay well you're equal and therefore any of your moral choices are going to be of equal value also or you're equal so you're going to have equal rights to all things but we know that just because a person all people are inherently equal that doesn't necessarily mean we all have the exact same rights children are equal but don't have the same rights as adults for example in a society so you see this all of these kind of conflations of the word equality with other things that are going on and then Christians especially feel bad and they say well I'm for equality of course we're for equality we're for the inherent equality of all mankind that doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to extend the concept of equality to all these other things like equality of outcome for example or equity as the word is now used yeah another firebrand in the culture right now is social justice and what does that mean justice overall and I think you know the the Christian Church has a an incredible track record on justice I mean when you look at what the Christian Church provided the world over centuries whether it was hospitals or orphanages those are things that were all started within the Christian community in 200 300 400 AD and you know those traditions carried through even to hospitals here in the US Catholic hospitals Protestant hospitals and it's been an incredible tradition and most secularists don't even understand the history of justice in that context right and that comes down to the definition of justice so we were talking about the redefinition of words and justice is one of those redefined words throughout the centuries just like you described Christians have been passionate about justice Christians have been passionate about justice from God's perspective of taking care of the poor and those who were marginalized by society and those who needed the help that Christians were taking care of the babies who were abandoned and the widows and the orphans and building hospitals and all of these things but today justice means something very different instead of looking at people who are poor and maybe marginalized by society in that way they're looking at groups of people and saying do you feel oppressed so now you have people who say well I feel oppressed because there's a gender binary for example I feel oppressed by you even claiming that there are is some kind of biological reality to male and female people that would not be consistent with a biblical view of justice because God's justice is not the same standard as a human standard of justice which is that I feel oppressed in some way and so when we redefine these words once again Christians feel like oh wow well I of course I want to be for justice but not everything the world calls justice is justice. That is such a good point as a parent I have 220 somethings I met your 11 year old daughter she's very sweet and kind and you know what do we do to combat that kind of infiltration into our children's souls how do we you know some often as Christians we're leaning on the church to do the training spiritually of our children and if we're that separate from our day-to-day life as the research is showing I can only imagine that in our parenting methodologies and approaches we're not getting the job done. What can we do in that drip irrigation of having our children zero to 18 to do the best job we can do? Teach your kids about the culture and this is an area of absolute passion for me because I think one of the most misleading ideas that a lot of Christian parents have is that I'm just gonna teach my kids truth we're going to focus on the Bible and they're going to be able to handle anything that they encounter and I think we see over and over again I hear the stories from parents and we see all this buried out in the statistics this just is not enough of course they have to understand God's Word they have to understand truth but a lot of times if they don't understand the nature of the cultural around them and why it's problematic and why it's not consistent with the biblical worldview then kids are going out they're hearing things like well yeah I'm gonna follow my heart yeah I'm a Christian too they don't see how those things can't fit together so what I do with my kids one of the most practical things is that we are always talking about current events I will send them articles and say you know look at the underlying presupposition here or we'll talk about memes that I see on social media I'll pull them down and I'll save them to share them with them at dinner for example they're very active yes very much I'm constantly bringing them examples from culture to show this is all about feelings being the guide happiness being the goal judging being the sin see how this differs from what we would believe as Christians so when our kids understand both truth and how truth compares explicitly to the secularism around us they have a clarity so that when they go off to college they're already prepared to look around and understand that this is not biblical Christianity and then they can be stronger and yeah that's really good let's get practical we're in that direction you mentioned four questions that we should ask to engage the unbeliever what are the four questions and let's discuss them a bit because they're really important so these are four questions that I think are helpful for determining how do we go about speaking truth the first one is is this something worth speaking up about and I mean by that in any individual case that we see so let me let me stop you for a second because that almost feels like a little retreat and I totally understand what you mean but using discernment to know is this a hill to die on or is this a little Mohill that's what you're saying that takes a lot of thought it does it does because we can't respond to absolutely every errant idea we see you just can't do that and we will drive ourselves crazy we'll become bitter and angry ourselves and dealing with all this especially on social media I'm kind of talking about it in that context so for example I've seen a lot of times where someone will post something celebrating Pride Month for example and a Christian will come along and just pop in a comment that says something like well I don't celebrate sin you know in that context I'm not saying it's wrong to do that but it's probably not going to lead to some kind of conversation it's like if we post a Bible verse and an atheist comes along and puts in a comment says well I don't believe in God all you've basically done is state your respective worldviews and there's no conversation being had so when we ask ourselves is this really something we're speaking up about right now it's not to say oh this isn't an important issue for example but it's asking ourselves right now in this context of what this person is saying is this the time to do it okay that's the first question all right what's the second so the second one is what is my motivation for doing this and this is where we have to really be introspective because and I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else a lot of times we want to point out what's wrong with the way someone's thinking about something we want to win an argument or maybe we're really annoyed by someone and we want to make them look foolish there are all kinds of reasons why maybe we want to say something not for the glory of God but for the glory of ourselves so we have to check our motivations and that's not to say we have to be pure as the driven snow either in order to say something but it's humble but it's yeah it's it's a humbling to really look at yourself and say okay am I doing this for the right reasons right now because if we do say the right things but for the wrong reasons sometimes those things don't quite come out the way the way that they could have or should have right and third and the third one is should I say this publicly or privately it's always a good question to ask it's a hugely important question when you're talking about social media and everything that happens online now and I've had to learn this myself a lot because in my mind just logically speaking if someone posts something on social media they should know it's there for social consumption and I have the right to respond socially right but we have to check ourselves in that and say okay yes I have the right because this is that context but if I'm saying this for the glory of God and because I want to lead this person to some kind of knowledge of the truth maybe it's better if I do take this private because if it would have made them look foolish or if I would have made them feel uncomfortable for some reason maybe the best thing is to not do what I supposedly have the right to do because it's a social platform but to do what I should do by taking it private for a more productive conversation that's good and then the fourth one is what's the best way to say what I'm going to say I think that's a great context to figure out how to say it yeah there are all kinds of ways to say any given thing and to really think about what are we saying how do we do that and what I suggest is that the best way to start almost anything is by finding a point of commonality because that puts people in a more comfortable place rather than it seeming like you're attacking them and putting them on the defensive it's a way of saying hey you know what I think where we both agree on this is that human rights are really important but what I think we are disagreeing about is how to define human rights and where those rights come from and then go on to talk about from a biblical perspective and I always use that terminology because I want to make it clear it's not just me saying this out of my own opinion like someone else might assume as we were talking about before but this is where I'm getting my view from a biblical perspective rights are given by God himself that we're inferring this from our human equality and explain it from that perspective what I think you're saying and then ask them am I correct in assuming that you're saying that human rights are whatever the case in this conversation and Tasha this has been so good I mean you have hit so many issues and I'm looking forward to reading the book more thoroughly and I hope other people pick up a copy they can get it here had focus on the family but man you have really done a stellar job of consolidating what we're facing in the culture and how to move forward when you look to the future and you have young children how do you stay optimistic that you know it's not all going south I mean I meet a lot of people I meet a lot of young Christians that actually I feel are very on fire they may be a smaller number but I think they're a committed number and I don't share kind of the pessimism that a lot of older Christians have because I think God you're really questioning God then that he put the right souls in this generation to really meet the challenge right when we start saying I don't think these young Christians are gonna do it well I mean you're really saying God you didn't do it right right I think there's a proof there's a pruning that's happening yeah I've heard a lot of people use that terminology I think it's absolutely right I don't think that we need to hold on to that 65% of people so tightly and say we just need more people to label themselves as a Christian that's not what we need we need more people to be committed followers of Christ and so if there's a pruning happening where people are being forced to really contend with what do I believe who is my authority if they're actually in this position of having to think through that more than maybe they had to in the past as a cultural Christian that's a good thing and we know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church and so we know how this ends and that is the source of our hope and our optimism not in any particular battle not in any particular movement or trend of today but in what God has said from the beginning well such encouragement and what incredible insights from Natasha Crane reminding us about the importance of being salt and light and spreading the good news of Jesus to this lost and hurting world yeah John I certainly was inspired by this conversation and I hope our listeners were too you know it's not easy to go against the grain in the culture whether it's the workplace or in friendships it can be hard to stand on your convictions but we know that Jesus himself wasn't silent when it came to speaking truth so I urge you no matter how scary it might be take that step to tell others about your faith in Christ what you believe and offer a refreshing contrast to the secular worldview that is so prevalent today as the scripture says if God is for us who can be against us and when we share our faith and live it out that's an important part we're planting seeds of the gospel and you never know when those seeds will sprout and lead to salvation and change someone's life well we pray that that'll be the case and that you'll start by getting a copy of Natasha's wonderful book it's called faithfully different regaining biblical clarity in a secular culture and it'll inspire you in your Christian walk get your copy today when you make a donation of any amount to focus on the family when you call 800 the letter a and the word family 800-232-6459 or visit us online the link is in the episode notes well on behalf of Jim Daley and the entire team here thanks for joining us today for focus on the family I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ oh hey Mike got here as soon as I could what's going on man hey I just wanted to give you an update on my marriage is it good news yeah our marriage is going great right now I couldn't be happier dude that's awesome yeah it's like a solid five out of ten having a marriage that's just okay isn't where couples really want to live give yourself and your spouse an all-inclusive weekend where you'll slow your pace and focus on each other get more details at focus on the family comm slash getaway that's focus on the family comm slash getaway
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 05:55:51 / 2022-11-07 06:02:32 / 7

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