New Openness & Old Distortions

One of the least-expected results of September 11 is a new openness to faith. As columnist Peggy Noonan put it, "God is back" and "he's bursting out all over." The inadequacy of contemporary sources of wisdom has been exposed for everyone to see. And this creates an opportunity for Christians to make the case for Christian faith. But doing this requires refuting the often baseless accusations leveled against Christianity by its critics. These misrepresentations often create obstacles to faith. But how many Christians can make the case that Christianity is a blessing to our culture? How many of us have the factual knowledge to explain the contributions Christianity has made to Western civilization? Or the knowledge to refute the charges leveled against us? A new book helps Christians to make this case. The book is entitled Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Religious Bigotry. Its authors are two veteran journalists, Vincent Carroll and my friend Dave Shiflett. Their journalistic background compelled them to look at the evidence objectively. Therefore, the authors don't overlook the wrongs done in Christianity's name. Still, their conclusion is that Christianity has been an unparalleled blessing to humankind. Christianity is responsible for many of the human achievements we all celebrate. As the authors remind us, Christianity was born into a world brimming with slaves, yet our faith became a seismic force in eradicating this curse. The anti- slavery movement, the authors note, was and indeed continues today to be the greatest human rights story in history. Many of its leaders were, and are, Christians. Likewise, Christians were at the forefront of the creation of modern science. Scientific exploration was considered an attempt to better know the beauty and majesty of our creator God. Christianity was also the first religion to see God's presence in the face of the poor, and has historically taken up the cause of the weak and the oppressed. The chapters on the creation of modern charity, and Christian efforts on behalf of Native Americans are antidotes to the current caricatures of Christianity we see in the media. And the authors tell readers about Christianity's central role in the explosion of the democratic ideal -- an ideal that has found its fullest expression in the United States. The problem is that many of these stories are untold -- and this is not by accident. It's the result of a powerful cultural effort to marginalize Christianity and its good works by writing them out of history. As the enemies of the faith know well, those who write and record history will control the future. That's why it is vital for believers -- and our kids -- to know the huge positive role our faith has played in this suffering world. Over the next few days, we will be discussing some of the achievements documented in Christianity on Trial. Stay tuned and hear about our faith's contribution to the world we live in. Paradoxical though it is, before we can take advantage of newly opened minds, we've got to close them first. Not to the truth, of course, but to the old misrepresentations that hide the truth. You can order a copy of CHRISTIANITY ON TRIAL from the BreakPoint Resource Center at the URL below: Peggy Noonan's weekly column can be found on the Wall Street Journal's . The "God is Back" column is from September 28.


Chuck Colson



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