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Friday, March 6, 2009

God Bless These Pagan Notes

A speaker at a student conference was once comparing both the positive and negative features of attending either a Christian or a secular university. After describing the benefits and detractions of each, he cautioned, “Just because you attend a Christian school doesn’t mean that you will receive a Christian education. If your professor, who may have received his education at a secular university, hasn’t integrated his field of study with his faith, his opening prayer at the beginning of class may be nothing more than ‘God bless these pagan notes’”. Too often Christian professors can unconsciously accept the assumptions of their discipline of study and meekly mention God’s name now and then.

Upon reflection, this raises an interesting question. Christian parents may send their children to a religious elementary or secondary school, or to a Christian college or university in order to provide them with a Christian education. But their children may not receive the Christian education hoped for. It all depends upon how well the teachers and professors have integrated their education with their own personal faith. The name “Christian” in the title doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

Our schools are not the only place where this occurs. We can experience the same situation in seeking a Christian counselor. The mere fact that the counselor is known to be a Christian doesn’t say anything about the nature of the counsel he or she may give. Their advice may be totally non-Christian. It all depends on how well they have integrated their training with their faith. We have also seen the problem surface in the corporate scandals that have occurred during the past decade. Yet some of the individuals involved in the scandals were considered to be Christians. Faith and ethics sometimes appear to be divorced from each other.
But this problem doesn’t only affect others. It also affects all of us. Throughout our lives we have been learning many facts and ideas, organizing them, and developing our own personal philosophy of life. We have been influenced by our schools, our churches, our jobs, our friends, the media, and things we have read or heard. This information has come to us from both religious and secular sources. They all help us make up our own personal worldview. Oftentimes we aren’t even aware that we are developing one. But the worldview that we embrace affects all aspects of our lives. It affects our jobs, our parenting, and our relationships with others. It affects how we live out our faith. It influences everything we say and do. Have we also passively accepted everything we have learned and also occasionally bring God into the picture?

Today we live in what many have called a post Christian, post modernist world. We are faced with many competing philosophies. We confront New Age, existentialism, naturalism, postmodernism, etc. Most of them do not espouse a Biblical world view. Several are actually hostile to it. Yet many Christians have blindly accepted them without even questioning their background. They have not evaluated their own worldview from a Biblical perspective. They have accepted it without attempting to compare it to and integrate it with their faith.

We are constantly being bombarded with a non-Biblical worldview. How are we handling it? If we blindly accept it, we are doing as the professor above, saying in effect “God bless these pagan ideas.” Have we filtered everything through the filter of our faith? “Or are we really secularists in Christian clothing?” Have we integrated our jobs, our education, and our lives with our faith? Or are we really wolves in sheep’s clothing?

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