The Road to Unchristianity

Here’s a quick video that I believe is worth the few minutes it’ll take you to watch it both due to its cultural insight and entertainment value. It’s a typography animation of a poem by Taylor Mali. In this particular one he attacks several movements predominant in our culture which I think you’ll pick up on (and laugh along with…uncomfortably much of the time because he’s more right than we wish to admit).

Watch and enjoy, and I’ll make a few quick comments afterward.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Culturally he’s on to several things.

1. He calls this generation “the most aggressively inarticulate.” Studies have shown that reading, writing, and communication skills have diminished recently. Is it because of technology? Are facebook, email, and twitter going to be the doom of our children? I’m not willing to go that far, but I believe it to be true that we are not as articulate and skilled at communicating ideas as previous generations.

2. Conviction and authoritative speaking are largely frowned upon in our society. Instead of declaring something to be unwaveringly true, it is often hip and politically correct to waver about almost any statement we speak out loud or conviction we hold internally.

As Christians this has several applications.

1. Biblical literacy is down markedly in America today. There was a time when the Bible was well known to a person whether he or she was a Christian or not. Undoubtedly cultural biblical literacy is down, but it is also so for Christians. The seminary I graduated from (Covenant in St. Louis, where many of The Crossing’s pastors attended) has a required “biblical literacy” exam which each student must pass before moving on in their degree. You have two opportunities to take this exam, and if you do not pass you must take several extra classes. I don’t recall the exact percentages, but it was something close to this: 20 years ago, 70% of students passed…today it is close to 30%.

If we are to articulate clearly the truths of Scripture we must be biblically literate. One of the roots of are “inarticulate nature” in speaking biblical truth is certainly this.

2. But maybe more importantly is the impact of postmodern relativistic thought on the church. We live in an era where absolute truth is assumed to be an illusion and where no worldview is inherently better than another. Go watch Oprah or read commentaries in just about any periodical or journal. It is uncouth to pronounce Christianity to be true…for that means all others are false.

Therefore, it is tempting for Christians to soften certain doctrines or convictions. Maybe homosexuality or elective abortion aren’t really anti-Christian. Maybe the doctrine of hell isn’t really found Scripturally. Maybe I shouldn’t express my biblically informed opinion about greed or sexual activity.

So as Christians we are tempted to insert “invisible question marks,” “parenthetical ya’ knows,” and an “interrogative tone” not only in our conversations but in our beliefs.

But we must realize that once this path is embarked upon, the end is somewhere none us of wants to be. A place which many pseudo-Christians have already arrived.

A place where Christianity no longer resides.

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