Is American culture an unbelieving culture? Have we given this culture or generation good reasons to believe? Simply saying, "you need Jesus" is ineffective because most people have no clue what that means. What does it mean to "engage the culture" and not loose one's spiritual identity in the process?
These are the questions that we must ask as we engage this modern generation and modern culture. They have been fed so much information, much of which is centered on the supremacy of man and mankind. Given a steady diet of the world and what the world thinks, can be corrosive and damaging to the center of ones being, because life does not revolve only around material and materialism, it is a spiritual journey and what ones spirit aspires to could have an eternal weight of measure.
In our Facebook forum, "In Defense Of The Faith~1 Pet. 3:15" I shared a recent incident in which I overheard a young lady discussing the bible, God and her opposition to the theistic beliefs and the Christian narrative in particularly.
She was a nice young lady and her conversation struck me in particularly because she had no idea who I was and I certainly didn't ruin it for her. Before we parted, I explained to her my interest in what she was saying and asked her to join the conversation on facebook as I dealt with her concerns and the things that she brought up.
Here are a few of her concerns as I remember them:
1- I don't believe in God because I don't know where he came from or who he is. Everybodyhas a birth, but God just is. What is that? I mean I understand Jesus, because he had a mother and a father. I understand other people 'cause we know where they came from and who their parents are. I don't know where God came from. Can't no preacher tell me where God came from they just tell me to believe so I can be saved....I said believe in who and what?
2- (because of 1 above) What gives God the right to just tell me and everybody else what to do? We don't even know where he comes from!
3- I am here because of my parents. I am not here for anything else but for what I want to be here for.
4- I am a self directed person. I just do what I think is right. Can't no God that we don't know, tell me how I should do anything. That don't make no sense to me.
5- If there was only 2 people in the world then where did everybody else come from? You mean to tell me that Adam and eve's kids had sex with one another and had kids? That's just nasty! That don't make any sense to me.
6- Read the bible. There is a lot of stuff in there that don;t make no sense like all of us coming from 2 people. Like how could Eve come from somebody's rib? Be serious? How does a person come from somebody else's body parts?
While some of my atheist friends who are regular readers will think, "smart girl"...and while I would agree, I would also affirm that her sentiments when examined are only apropos to the culture and severely short-sighted.
While I dealt with all of her objections on facebook, I will deal with part of her assertions in this post. I will deal with the rest in the comments as various other parts come up. It was particularly interesting as I am writing a new book called "Manifest Purpose" and also reading a Myles Munroe classic "In Pursuit Of Purpose". Dr. Munroe says in his Introduction:
"There is also a generation in every nation that seems to have lost its sense of purpose. They are out of touch with the values, morals and convictions that build strong families, secure communities, healthy societies and prosperous nations. Thus the moral fabric of most societies is being stretched and tested to its outer limits. In every nation the concern is the same."
At the heart of the issue is purpose. If we are products of blind chance and a cosmic accident, we have every right to self direct, because nothing ultimately means anything. However, if we are created by an intelligent mind, then that mind created each individual for a purpose and every life serves a purpose.
Engaging This Generation
This is what I said regarding what she stated in #'s 3 and 4 which was really only about purpose:
Objections 3 & 4 ~ "I have my own purpose in life, noone else, especially a God can do that for me" & "I follow the dictates of my own mind"
I restated the objections because that is what it basically comes down to. Is our life about fulfilling our own purpose? Is following the dictates of the mind the best way for us to live? The young lady offers some good food for thought and something that seems to be a center thread of this modern generation.
First, I am sure that most people who have this thought have never thought about the nature of purpose, or what relationship life has to purpose. This is why having the proper belief system is vitally important. If we are just cosmic accidents or products of blind material existence, then we can ultimately have no purpose. All things are simply accidents.
In a God or Christ paradigm things are different. Under our paradigm purpose deals with intent or the way something was intended to be used or presented. You are who you are by design and you have the ability to do what you do by intent. In other words, you are not an accident and by virtue of that, your life and actions mean something.
One aspect that is often overlooked is that purpose also deals with solving a particular problem or an issue. Every engineer knows that the first stop is to receive a set of problems that need to be addressed. After that assessment has been made, then you begin the design with the intent of solving or addressing the issues. You give and take to accomplish the outlined goals.
Any other use outside of the intended design may be a self directed type of purpose, but it could also be a misuse of the way things were intended to be and work. In that case, operating outside of the design specification creates a problem for the designed piece.
So although we can have purposes relative to our experiences, and live in those things as many do all the time, we can never implement our own ultimate purpose. We did not design ourselves and our parents only facilitated the material process of our being, not the spiritual or more overarching premise of who we are.
If we believe that we are only products of material creation, then we short change ourselves. We underestimate our value, our intent and our design. One may follow the dictates of their own mind, but to do so is much less than how we were designed and intended to be used or directed in life. This is in part why the mind of all things, is so unstable. Only God can tame and or direct both it and the desires of the heart.***********************
Understanding purpose means to understand that God did not make preparation for our lives on the fly. There is an intent and a design for our lives, even if we can't currently understand it. From suffering and pain, to the greatest victory and the highest heights. God has a PLAN for each of us and it is not a surprise plan.
As I said, I addressed the other elements of her conversation and also invited her to view and engage further. Hopefully we will meet again so I can tell her that there are good answers to her concerns. I was encouraged more than ever to continue to tell the truth and uphold the standard of Jesus because WE may be the only light that the world will ever see and it is more than worth blessing a soul!