Monday, February 08, 2016

What’s the Christian faith ever done for us?

 
There have been a number of gloomy articles of late (gloomy for me, at least) on the apparent decline of Christianity in our country. Church attendance is plummeting and when the church hits the news it is often for the wrong reasons. The Christian faith no longer shapes our culture and moral outlook as it once did in this country. Yet, Richard Dawkins of all people recently commented, ‘I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.’

In other words the arch-atheist has to admit that Christianity is of at least some benefit to society. That is indeed the case. The Christian faith asserts the unique value and dignity of each and every human being and insists that all human beings should be loved and cared for from womb to tomb. The belief that all human beings are made in the image of God has spurned a host of causes that have let to the abolition of slavery, improved working conditions, universal education and so on. Not to mention the impact of the Bible on literature and the arts.

But all these things are by-products of the Christian faith. The big thing is that God loves human beings and that he sent his Son into the world as one of us that we may be forgiven and have hope in the face of death. That’s why Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Those who believe in him are called to follow him and put his teaching into practice. As they do that at home, in the workplace, in the community, in our nation and on the world’s stage, believers try and make a difference. However small that may be.

It seems to be the case that many half-hearted churchgoers have given up on things here in the UK, but all is not lost. There are still millions of people at home and abroad whose lives have been transformed by knowing Jesus. His followers continue to devote their lives to serving him by helping others.

To return to my question, ‘What’s the Christian faith ever done for us?’ Quite a bit, actually. The key factor, however, is not that Christianity may act as bulwark against negative elements in our society, but that it points us to Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. That's what it's all about. 

*For February editions of News & Views and Trinity Magazine

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