In a dusty spot along the ancient King’s Highway in Jordan lies a cultural oasis: King’s Academy. Modeled after New England’s fabled Deerfield Academy, the academy was founded by King Abdullah II to train up a new generation of Arabs to lead the Middle East into a multicultural future. The academy itself embodies the diversity it envisions: actual princes and paupers from all religious and cultural backgrounds live, study, and play alongside one another.
King’s Academy states that its vision is to welcome talented students from all backgrounds, religions and social classes, the Academy aims to foster empathy, tolerance and harmony. A philosophy teacher at the academy once boasted of the academy’s own commitment to pluralism (merging faiths) and told of Buddhist students observing Ramadan, Muslim students observing Easter, and Christian students practicing transcendental meditation—all in a show of solidarity with one another. He was later asked how these merging practices might disrupt a student’s commitment to his or her own faith. “That’s the price of pluralism,” he replied.
Let’s be honest, we are living in some bizarre times! I’m sure like me, you’ve seen the COEXIST bumper sticker (using the major world religions symbols). This push was much more than just an effort to say can we all share planet earth together, it’s actually a statement of saying all religions are equally valid. This sounds good, but can it really be true? Can all religions be valid/true? Since religions make competing claims on objective truth, we can’t say they are all equally true without invalidating truth itself.
If the claim that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead is untrue, then the central tenet of Christian faith is untrue. Where different religions make conflicting claims about historical events—as they do—they simply can’t all be right. However hard it may be to prove what happened in the distant past, if we abandon the concept of historical truth, we abandon truth itself and reality unravels.
But like it or not, this is our culture today. We are living in the days of what philosopher’s call, Moral Relativism, giving permission for truth and right/wrong to be different for each person. This makes “the person”, the standard. We may not agree with this world view, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that culture is having its influence within the church. More than ever we are seeing a divide within the church. Some insist we must become more open-minded and relevant, but there is still a great number who hold to God’s Word as never changing and always relevant.
In the face of mounting cultural opposition, Christians can be tempted to place their hopes in political candidates, boycotts, programs, and other human solutions. While these solutions have value, placing our hope in anything but Christ betrays lack of trust in his Kingship. At such a time as this, the primary strength of Good Faith is its urgent reminder that “Christians” are called not to determine the outcome but to be faithful.
This next month, we will begin a series called, Counterculture. Our goal (Eph. 5:11) is to identify ways culture is working tirelessly to invade our church, homes and personal faith in Jesus Christ. And once we expose cultures schemes, we can steer clear of them. I believe the best way to make a difference is to be different. This month is going to be so empowering and uplifting to your faith. You won’t want to miss one week, and you’ll be really happy you invited your neighbors!