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  • 40: Geo–Politics, Pagan Spirituality, and the Scandal of Gospel Witness
  • 40: Geo–Politics, Pagan Spirituality, and the Scandal of Gospel Witness

    Posted in ,
    September 17, 2007

    At truthXchange, we take seriously the notion of a pagan planet and of the need for Christian witness to it. Such witness becomes more difficult as Christians discover the all–encompassing planetary nature of our world.

    As they say, a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the globe and a violent storm arises on the other side. Acid rain observes no national borders. The “market” never closes, and red–eyed investors can follow global economic trends 24 hours a day, while Google Earth shows you the license plate numbers of the cars parked in any street you choose to observe. Big Brother is no longer fictional!

    This new sense of global community may explain some forms of contemporary pacifism. The many nations of Europe, committed to non–violent diplomacy for a unified world of peace, are irritated by American unilateralism. American pacifists think the same and come in all forms. US citizen Carlos Hartmann axed to death a Dutch student in the southern city of Roosendaal, Holland, when he could find no American soldier to punish for US militarism! In the annual Rutgers/Navy football game, Rutgers students shouted obscene chants at the Navy players–not because they were the rival team, but because they were part of a detested military machine. Such sophomoric pacifism is deeply affected by the sense of global oneness, which at its core, is religious. Can’t we all get along?

    The underlying religious conviction that we are all the same and belong to the same human family explains the dominant ideology of multiculturalism on the Western college campus today, which, inconsistently, cannot tolerate Christianity.

    The belief in a common human family has generated a curious eco–ethics. Consider the strange ecumenical event in September 2007: Standing on the bow of a passenger ship before the fast–melting Ilulissat glacier in Greenland, religious leaders from around the world (Sunni, Shiite, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Jewish, and both liberal and evangelical Christian) lowered their heads in a silent prayer for the future of the planet. A common concern for the planet has led to the belief that religious truth must also be equally common to all. Globalism has led us to religious syncretism.

    The postmodern rejection of absolute truth in favor of radical relativism means that truth is merely personal. Human consensus is all we can expect, which fits perfectly with the pagan notion that we are all divine and find truth within ourselves. The convergence of geo–politics and spiritual monism has created a formidable opponent to the Christian claim of unique truth, revealed by God to a world in rebellion against him. Perhaps cowed by this opponent, certain Christians have decided that the Gospel has to change.

    A leader of “Emergent Village,” a radical voice in evangelicalism, says: “in the global, multicultural world we live in…God’s intention for individuals and for collective humanity is to bring together the full integration of God’s agenda with our world.”

    This coded language means that the global culture becomes the source of “bottom up” truth. In case you missed it, the quote continues: “there is an irresistible force of movement encompassing science, industry, architecture and education which is shifting everything… It would be foolish if the church was left behind, for it seems the whole of civilization is gradually catching up with what nature already knew…” So this cultural trend, made up of “nature” and a new, evolving, global “civilization,”–what the pagans have already been calling for some time the Age of Aquarius– emerges as the new source of divine revelation. The Gospel revealed by God in Scripture gets left behind.

    Things have not changed. In Athens, a city filled with altars to all the gods (including the one they did not know), Paul met Roman imperial “globalism.” In Miletus an enterprising religious professional called himself “a priest of all the gods.” The Stoic emperor, Marcus Aurelius, of “Gladiator” fame, believed there was “one Cosmos, one God, one substance, one law, one common reason, and one truth.” Into this universally held monism, Paul scandalously declared a politically incorrect opposing truth, “the gospel, the power of God for salvation.” This revelation “from heaven,” an offense to human autonomy, is still the only source of saving truth, whether for the globalism of the first or the twenty–first century. The Church will forsake it at her peril. This too has not changed.