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Not Beyond Reach - Understanding the Secular Culture, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2024 6:00 am

Not Beyond Reach - Understanding the Secular Culture, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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June 11, 2024 6:00 am

Are you struggling to keep up with all the trending worldviews and pop culture beliefs that are out there? Well, in this program, our guest teacher Aaron Pierce will give us some help as he picks up in his series, Not Beyond Reach. Learn the primary influences and philosophies of young people today and how seeing the world through their eyes helps us better connect with them.

Main Points

Three key realities to engage post-Christian culture:

  1. Secular people have become suspicious of religious institutions and are far less likely to walk into a church.
  2. Secular people today do not have the same assumptions as previous generations. 
  3. Secular people are open to spirituality.

Four key influences on global youth culture:

  1. Entertainment Industry (Music, film, theater, sports)
  2. Internet Stars via social media platforms.
  3. Video Games (is bigger than Hollywood where the average 21 year old male has spent 10,000 hours playing video games).
  4. Pornography is a pervasive and unashamedly part of many daily routines. Sexuality is just a personal pursuit of happiness; harmless.

Philosophical pillars:

  • Secularism – Faith is private and not meant to be pushed on others.
  • Relativism – There is no absolute moral truth.
  • Acceptance – Tolerance is not enough, you must affirm.

Four big worldview questions:

  1. Origin – Where did life come from? How did life begin?
  2. Morality – What is right and wrong and who decides?
  3. Purpose – What is the purpose of life?
  4. Destiny – What happens after we die?

Predominant worldview: 

  • Secular Humanism – the religion of self. The idea is that God has been replace, man is at the center, and there’s no outside authority that can tell me how to live my life. The key to happiness is found within.
  • What should our response be?- Nehemiah 1:4; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Broadcast Resource Additional Resource Mentions
  • Nancy Pearcey - "Love Thy Body"
About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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Are you struggling to keep up with all the trending worldviews and pop culture beliefs that are out there? Do you want to have a meaningful conversation with a friend or a child or even a grandchild but you don't know where to begin? Well today, we're going to help you connect with your kids and grandkids by seeing the world through their eyes and then knowing how to start the conversation.

Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international teaching and discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians.

And in just a minute, we'll continue our series, Not Beyond Reach, taught by our guest teacher, Aaron Pierce. He'll begin today by reminding us the major influences young people all over the world are watching, listening to, and engaging with. And then unpack how these authorities are bending these young hearts and minds to a particular set of beliefs.

Well, there's a ton of good content to get to, so here's Aaron for the remainder of his talk, Understanding the Secular Culture. Well, there's basically four key influences. First is entertainment industry, so music, film, theater, even sports to some degree. And the idea here is that we're not just entertaining, we're shaping a worldview. And then you've got internet stars, you know, people that are on platforms like TikTok and Instagram and YouTube that are producing content and connecting with audiences all over the world in a massive way.

And then you've got video games, which is massive, bigger than Hollywood, where the average 21-year-old male has spent 10,000 hours playing video games. It's where we find our community, our identity, our sense of accomplishment. And then finally, you've got pornography, which is so common, so pervasive, it's not even something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is just a personal pursuit of happiness, right?

And pornography is harmless. And so this is literally rewiring our brains and distorting our view of love and sexuality and relationships, and all of these things come together to influence and shape a worldview. And what's interesting is they are not constrained by geographic or political boundaries. These things transcend that. In fact, these things are shaping a worldview far more than politics, far more than laws.

There's a guy called Andrew Fletcher, an 18th-century Scottish writer and politician, that said, let me make the songs of a nation and I care not who makes its loss. And so what's really driving and shaping our culture today is not the legal process. It's the cultural influencers, the artists, the poets, the philosophers that are shaping the worldview.

All right. So what are the philosophical pillars? First one is secularism. So I've already alluded to this, but the idea here is that people are not necessarily atheist. They just believe that faith is private. So you can believe whatever you want to believe, so long as you don't push that on other people. That's the secular mindset. Faith is private. Faith is not something to be brought out into the public. And then, of course, that naturally leads to relativism, that there is no absolute moral truth, that morality is about preference, that you have your favorites.

I have mine. It's like an ice cream flavor. Right. And so you have this relativistic mindset. And then that leads to the idea and the value of acceptance. But then actually tolerance is not enough.

You must affirm. And so it's based on the idea of being open minded and it's based on the this kind of like authenticity and inclusion. But it's a paradox. Right.

Because basically it's inclusion for all except the exclusive. And so that's that's the paradox that we find ourselves in where to tolerate someone to love someone is not enough. We must actually affirm that the way that they live their life, that is the message that you're going to hear in the global youth culture. And what's interesting is all of these things in some way are just a twist on biblical truth. A lot of these things find their grounding truth and then they're twisted. And it's interesting because in the post-Christian culture that we live, we're still very much influenced by a biblical worldview, even if we've divorced ourselves from that. Right. So we are the fight for justice, even if it's twisted, like even those that are pro-choice, it's based on a framework of morality for them of protecting women.

Right. So it's a it's a moral framework that they're drawing on. And that moral framework ultimately comes from a biblical worldview, which is there is a transcendent moral framework.

And so it's really interesting to give you an example of this kind of post-Christian divorcing of of the biblical worldview. A while back, I was at a caribou right around here, and the barista had a pin on her shirt that said, be human centered. And so I asked her, I like that sounds interesting.

So I said, what does that pin mean? And she looked at me, said, oh, well, it means, you know, treat other people like you want to be treated and consider other people's needs above your own. And I listened to her say that I was like, wow, that's awesome. Like, where did you where are those ideas? Where did that come from?

And she looked at me kind of confused and she pointed at the pin. You know, this is where these ideas are coming from. And so it's so crazy because she or she is literally quoting scripture, but she's completely divorced herself from that.

That perfectly illustrates that post-Christian shift where we still hold to a biblical framework, but we've divorced ourselves from that, which, by the way, is an incredible opportunity because people connect with biblical truth, even if they no longer hold that as an authority in their life. So what I want to do now is I want to show you a video of some people being interviewed on the streets of the University of Minnesota. And we basically asked them four big worldview questions. The first is origin. Where did life come from? How did life begin? The second is morality.

What is right and wrong and who decides? The third is purpose. What is the purpose of life?

And the last is destiny. What happens after we die? The way that you answer those four questions, that essentially is your worldview.

And so let's let's take a look how these young people answer those questions. How do you think we all got here? How did life begin? It started with the Big Bang.

I don't really know much more than that. So I believe in evolution and that we evolved from primates. I mean, there's proof that our DNA is 98 percent the same as chimpanzees. Probably just like a meteoroid with like some microbes on it that landed on Earth from a different planet.

And they're like eventually evolved to become humans. What is the purpose of life? Let me know when you figure it out. I'm still working on that one.

Make your own. Like, I don't think there's no like grand purpose for anybody. Just like everyone is just there is no purpose.

Make it make up your own purpose and run with it and help continue the evolution of human beings as a species. So how do you think that right and wrong are decided? I think it's different for like everyone, depending on like what they think is right and wrong, because like people believe in different things.

So it can't be the same for everyone. That goes back to like your morals, I guess, because your right can be someone else's wrong. So it's all like based on your morality.

I take it. I think that like it depends on yourself and what you think is right and wrong and what you believe in. And as long as you stick to your beliefs and like carry out what the Bible says or what the Koran says or like whatever, then like you're living your life to the fullest and that's all that matters. What do you think happens after we die?

I don't know. I mean, isn't that kind of the beauty of it? You know, there's a lot of people who are spiritual and have things in which they believe in. And so it's kind of a manifest of what you what you believe. I also feel like that is subjective because no one knows.

And so I think that's kind of the beauty of it. Nothing happens and hopefully you live your best life. And if there is an afterlife, hopefully I live within the boundaries and make it there.

You know what I mean? So I believe in heaven. I for sure believe in heaven. I don't know if I believe in hell. I think that like if you want to believe in hell, then you'll probably go to hell.

Like rather than being showered with, you know, gold and jewels and we're living in some place where you have to have wings and a harp. Hopefully we just get reabsorbed into that consciousness that allows the oceans to move and the tides and the rivers and the trees to grow. And I hope and maybe there's nothing.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Pretty interesting, right? So here's here's my first challenge to you is when you see that there's there's like a tendency to want to laugh when really what we should do is cry. Right. And this isn't just some kind of fringe group of people that see the world in a weird way. This is the predominant way that people see the world. I just want to summarize essentially what is it that the global youth culture believes when it comes to the origin of Earth? You're going to hear kind of scientific answers for how the Earth came to be. But then we're also kind of drawing in Eastern religious energy and and this idea.

So it's kind of this combination of a naturalistic worldview combined with this vague spirituality that we talked about. This is Chip, and I hope you're enjoying this series from my friend Aaron Pierce. And I want to let you know that the only way that we can bring new teaching and develop new resources like Aaron's book is through your financial support. Would you please consider going to Living on the Edge dot org and giving a gift today so that we can actually reach the next generation? Thanks so much for whatever God leads you to do.

Now back to Aaron. And then when it comes to morality, if you ask the average person, they're going to say that morality is essentially a social construct. Right. But then social injustice must be fought with passion.

Right. So you've got this weird combination of a of a social construct morality, but yet a sense of obligation to fight injustice and then purpose. Well, there is no purpose other than to seek personal happiness. That is the ultimate expression of purpose.

And then destiny. The answer is essentially, I don't know. And I try not to think about it.

Right. Because it's a scary, deep implication. It's the kind of the cold, hard atheistic answers aren't very satisfying. And so what I do mostly is not think about it. What I do mostly is when it's late at night, I'm sitting at bed and I can't fall asleep. And these dark thoughts come to my mind.

I just pull out my phone and I start to scroll, tick tock. Right. Because I don't want to think about the the big, deep, scary thoughts. So this tends to be the world view of this global youth culture is how they see the world. And it all comes down to this idea of secular humanism, which is the religion of self. The idea of secular humanism is that God has been replaced.

Man is at the center. And there's no outside authority that can tell me how to live my life and that the key to happiness is found within. Just follow your dreams and don't let anyone tell you who you are or what you want. Take care of yourself above all else. And so it's it's it's the era of my truth. And in the era of my truth, identity, purpose and morality is personally constructed.

We define those things. You make your own meaning. And if you pay attention, you see this messaging everywhere. This is at a Starbucks and it's a poster that says, don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are? And it's quoting Lady Gaga. And this perfectly illustrates the secular humanistic worldview perfectly. And it's really appealing.

And it really it sounds so good. The reality is that the consequences of this worldview are heartbreaking and it's like poison wrapped in bubble gum. And so that's the secular humanistic worldview. And if you pay attention to it, you see that the consequences are so, so heartbreaking. Nancy Percy, written a number of good books on apologetics, including Love That Body, which is about Christian sexuality, says once a society accepts a worldview, it tends to work out the logical consequences.

So let me give an example of this. A while back, a non-Christian friend of mine from high school posted on social media that his son, who is about the same age as my oldest son, had been diagnosed with brain cancer. And when I saw that post, I mean, it broke my heart because I couldn't imagine the fear and the pain that he was going through with his little boy being diagnosed with brain cancer. And then I began to read the comments on his post and he was getting things like positive vibes, sending healing vibes his way, sending you all positive vibrations and much love.

And then eventually he responded, thank you, everyone, for the supportive words of concern and positive energy you have expressed for my son, Peter. And I couldn't help but think about how hopeless that all sounded, because in the secular humanistic worldview, there is no transcendent hope, just positive vibrations. And it's devastating, right? We live in a culture and a generation that is incredibly confused, sexually broken, lonely, anxious and depressed. I mean, these are universally felt in this culture, in this generation. You know, because in a world where you define truth, what you get is confusion. In a world in which you do whatever makes you feel good, you get sexual brokenness. And when it's all about you, you get loneliness.

When there's nothing to hold onto beside yourself, you get anxiety. And the saddest thing of all is that we as followers of Jesus have the ultimate answers to these things, right? You know, Jesus brings truth to the confused. He brings healing to the sexually broken.

He brings the ultimate relationship with our Creator and with the church, and he brings peace that transcends understanding. We have the answer to the cry of a generation, and the sad thing is they are not looking to the church for answers. They're not walking to the church. And so our response is that we need to go to them, and our hearts need to break. Because this isn't a distant problem. This isn't out there. This is personal.

These aren't just trends and statistics. These are our friends, sons, daughters and grandkids. And so when we hear this, our response should be like that of Nehemiah.

After he found out that the city of Jerusalem was ruins, in Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 4, he said, When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. That should be our response. Because until our hearts are broken, we're not going to do anything about it. Because to the extent to which our hearts are broken is the extent to which we will sacrifice, that we will get uncomfortable, that we will lay down our needs, our preferences for the sake of the lost. We need our hearts to be broken. But we can't change our hearts. You know, that's only something God can do. So what we can do is we can repent.

And we can say, God, my heart is cold. I don't care for people like I should, and it's not right. I've even gotten apathetic about people in my own family. I'm sorry.

Would you forgive me? And would you give me your heart? And when you start to pray that prayer, it's a dangerous prayer, because all of a sudden you're going to start to see the world through God's eyes.

And you're going to start to see people maybe for the very first time. And when he gives you that broken heart, then you're going to be willing to get uncomfortable, to be awkward, to take a step of faith and risk, because your heart is so broken, and God has awoken us from our apathy. And once our hearts are broken, then we need to pray like never before. We need to go on like Nehemiah, which says that for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. And biblical scholars estimate that Nehemiah actually prayed and fasted for four months before he eventually approached the king. And so the question is, why would Nehemiah pray and fast so long and with such intensity? It's because when God opened his eyes to the problem, he knew that he couldn't fix it on his own.

Right? Because like Nehemiah, we need to recognize that the mission that we were called to, to bring the love of Jesus to people that are far from him, that that mission is not hard, it's impossible. Which means that no human strategy, no evangelism script, no approach is ever going to be enough.

I can't even solve the problems in my own family. But we need to understand while the mission may be impossible, we serve the God of the impossible. And then when we get on our knees in desperate prayer and cry out, God have mercy, that's when we're going to see the breakthrough. And so that's, that's where this all starts. The foundation for reaching secular culture, for reaching young people in our families and in this world who will not walk into a church is desperate prayer and a broken heart. That's where it all starts.

Not using the right words or having the right script, it starts with a broken heart. Because I don't know about you, but I look around the world and all its brokenness and I can be overwhelmed. We need God to move. Our human efforts and wisdom are so woefully inadequate. We need God's supernatural power. And it's, you know, 1 Corinthians 4.20 says the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power. And the amazing thing is that God loves to move through ordinary people like you and like me. But to experience God's power like that, we've got to give him everything because Jesus is not calling us to give a lot. He is calling us to give everything. 1 Thessalonians 2.8 says we loved you so much we are delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.

That's what it's going to take. We've got to change our lifestyle. It's a radical shift in lifestyle where we give everything that we have. And the paradox of Jesus is that when you give your life, you find it. That's the paradox of Jesus. And that when you give all that you have, your five loaves and your two fish, which is not enough, he can take that and he can do the supernatural. He can see that hardened heart, that person in your life that wants nothing to do with God, he can see their heart softened and awakened to the reality of Jesus. He can do the supernatural. All we have to do is give him everything that we have.

You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Aaron Pierce has been our guest teacher for this program, Understanding the Secular Culture, which is from his series, Not Beyond Reach. He and Chip will join us in a minute to share their application for this message. If you're a parent, are you concerned about the spiritual health of your kids?

Do you sense they're drifting from the Christian faith, or perhaps they've already rejected it? In this series, Aaron's going to give us some hope. He'll describe a set of intentional conversations you can use to better understand and reconnect with your kids and ultimately lead them to the truth of Jesus. If you've missed any of Aaron's messages, catch up anytime through the Chip Ingram app. I'm joined in the studio now by Chip. Chip, you've spent a lot of time the last few years talking about the importance of reaching today's young people with the message and power of the gospel.

If you would, would you explain where this passion came from? Well, Dave, it could have come from statistics that we're losing almost 70 percent of our young people. And I could give people lots of reasons and rationale that where it really came from is I live in a place in America that long before it went all across the world, the brokenness among young people, the gender issues, the identity issues, the whole sexual identity struggles, the depression, the anxiety, the suicides. And what I just see is brokenness and a lack of hope. I've sat in my living room with Teresa, with young people who don't know how to manage their money.

Their relationships aren't working. Many of them have really good jobs. They've come from either here or all around the world. And just with a little bit of food and a little bit of love and praying with them and caring for them, instead of assuming that they don't care about God and they're just all hardened and evil and secular, what we found was as we just opened our home and as we opened the Scriptures with them and said, you know, maybe you've never heard or maybe you've never really understood, and next week why don't you just read this and we'll discuss this next week. And as we prayed for people, I just see how they're so lost and there's such pain. And the truth of God's Word, when it's wrapped in a genuine, caring relationship, God rescues them.

And that's our heart. We want to rescue the next generation. We want to help parents and grandparents and pastors not be frustrated or upset or angry, but actually love and then get the truth and the heart of young people's lives so they might have hope and life instead of brokenness and confusion. And that's why we're so committed to it, and that's why we're asking the Living on the Edge family to come along with us, help us, pray, give. We can make a difference together.

Thanks, Chip. Well, if you're burdened to help and encourage this next generation, become a financial partner today. And right now, during our mid-year match, every dollar you give will be matched dollar for dollar all the way up to July 9th. To send a gift, call us at 888-333-6003 or go to That's 888-333-6003 or

App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, here again is Chip. Thanks, Dave.

Today I've asked Aaron to join me in studio. And you know, Aaron, today you referenced the man on the street type interviews, and you did these with college students, and you ask them questions like, you know, what's your purpose, how did life begin, and what happens after we die. And actually some pretty deep philosophical questions. But afterwards, you made this really interesting statement. Our natural instinct is to laugh at some of those answers when in reality we should cry. Let me ask you this. What do you say to that parent or grandparent that's just befuddled by their adult child or grandchild that believes some things that they just think, this is nuts, this is crazy.

Talk to that person about why they need to build a bridge rather than laugh. You know, Chip, this is such an important question because sometimes when we hear the answers to these questions or we hear about what young people believe today, honestly it can seem kind of ridiculous. Like, how could you believe this? It doesn't make any sense. And I think we need to remind ourselves that the problem that we're dealing with is not first and foremost an issue of logic or rationality, but in fact we're dealing with a spiritual blindness issue. So if I were to point at a wall but you're blind, it doesn't matter how clearly I point at it, you can't see it. And so in the same way we need to remind ourselves that we are in a spiritual battle, that the fundamental problem is spiritual blindness, and that should break our hearts. And then it should remind us that we can't fight a spiritual battle with words alone, with persuasive arguments. We need God to move in a supernatural way for him to reveal the truth in a way that our words alone can't do.

So that's why I say we should respond not with laughter, but with crying, because this is a generation that is spiritually blinded and has been deceived. Great perspective for us to consider, Aaron. Thanks. Before we close, I want to remind you that we have an easy way to soak in more of that biblical truth, Chip and Aaron were just talking about. Through the Chip Ingram app you'll find this series and many others to listen to anytime you want. When you allow God's Word to fill your heart and mind, you'll truly enjoy the freedom only he offers. So I hope you'll check it out today. Until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-11 04:11:22 / 2024-06-11 04:21:45 / 10

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