August 11, 2018

Six Challenges to Christian Theology

There are six fundamental challenges to the influence of Christian Theology. Christian leaders, theologians, and followers cannot ignore these issues. They will not go away. Failure to address them invites an acceleration of Christianity’s decline in the United States and Europe.

Specious Confusion
Christian religions are frequently confused with Christian Theology. A theology is an organized set of ideas which deal with the astral reality of our existence. Religion is the organized practice of a theology by groups, churches and institutions. Critics of Christianity often fail to distinguish between the perceived moral failures of Christian institutions and the unassailable ethical values of Christian Theology. But such failure must be identified and communicated as a failure of a specific religious institution, rather than a failure of Christian Theology.

Human failure
Human failure exists. When an individual Christian strays from the virtuous behavior of Christian Theology, the lapse must be communicated as a human failure, rather than a failure of Christian Theology. We should always be careful to differentiate the human mistakes of individual Christians, including clergy, from the faultless underlying philosophical doctrines of Christian Theology.

Socialism
Christian Theology is under attack. Christians are openly scorned. Anti-Christian zealots vociferously believe Christian Theology, and Christian institutions, must be abolished. Leftist internet environments routinely spew a toxic swill of irrational hatred for Christian beliefs. Socialist, liberal, far left and autocratic individuals promote the propagation of an amoral, class oriented, tribal pop-culture theology. Let us respond. Christians must proclaim the ethics of Christian Theology with its emphasis on moral behavior, individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the enduring wisdom of God.

Welfare
Christian institutions frequently fail to distinguish the positive, constructive and moral doctrines of Christian Theology from the negative, destructive, and corrupt doctrines of socialist doctrine. This specifically includes the creation of a subservient welfare class. Dependence on the state replaces self-reliance. Insecurity replaces self-confidence. Personal failure is always blamed on someone else. Welfare recipients are being enslaved to the self-serving manipulation of the political elite. Let us never forget, Christian Theology champions the value of moral strength, personal independence, and individual achievement.

Islam
Muslim zealots routinely express hatred for Christian doctrine. This is somewhat incongruous because both theologies trace their roots back to Abraham and the Old Testament. But exposure to western mass media, coupled with the availability of Internet services, has disrupted traditional beliefs and cultural norms. Muslim activity suggests the turbulence of painful cultural change is encouraging anti-Christian and anti-western violence. The Christian community must work on ways to assist Islam with its transition to an enlightened moral philosophy based on love.

Christian Theology
Christian Theology has not kept pace with human knowledge, including the revelations of physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, and archeology. Many Christian beliefs are based on the limitations of first century mythology and observations. As a result, Christian doctrine has a credibility problem. 

We are being challenged to establish a reasonable consistency between the doctrines of Christian Theology and our comprehension of the Cosmos. The knowledge content of 21st century Christian Theology must be compatible with well-established human knowledge.

Christians cannot ignore this challenge or pretend it does not exist. It is time for a renaissance of Christian Theology. We must revise ancient beliefs in order to bring Christian doctrine into the 21st century. Although zealots may scream heresy and blasphemy, such anger is detrimental to the preservation of a robust Christian Theology. Repeating ancient dogma over and over again is not helpful.

And by the way, what would Jesus do? By his example, Jesus clearly demonstrated he was willing to teach a message that started with past doctrine and added new concepts to reach his audience. Let us follow his example by bringing together contemporary knowledge, common sense, inspirational theology, and a deeply spiritual sense of the divine. Christian Theology and natural science are compatible. They both come from God.


So. Is the Christian community capable of dealing with these six challenges?

Maybe. Maybe not.



Ron
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