Oct. 6 is “bring your Bible to school day,” and I think we should talk about that.
In church this week, I noticed one especially excited youngster who couldn’t wait for Oct. 6 to come because of this event. As a Christian, it struck me to see someone that enthusiastic about that particular day. Then it hit me – why aren’t we always that excited to carry a Bible? Why don’t we take our Bibles to school or our place of work every day? Why was it even striking to me that this kid was so excited?
A lot has changed in the past several decades. The world has become increasingly more “accepting of all views,” and Christians are pressed to become quieter about their own beliefs. No, Christians are not oppressed, and I am not saying that Christians are being oppressed. If anything, it’s our own fault, among other things.
See, there’s a line between ‘acceptance’ and ‘sitting back and doing nothing.’ Should Christians deny others their own free will? No. Should we sit back and inadvertently let the same thing happen to us? No. We are called to not judge, but love everyone – but we are also called to stand firm in our own faith while doing so. That’s how we learn to do all of that. How can we be standing firm in our faith when we let our nation’s worldviews shut us down?
By now, you’re probably wondering how on earth Oct. 6 ties into any of this – I’m getting to that, trust me. I haven’t gone insane yet.
I am not stating that others should shut up about their ideas or theologies (or the lack thereof) so Christians can be dominant. But I do think that we, as Christians, have slipped a long, long way from where we used to be. The nation tells us to let this group do this, or that group do that; the Pledge of Allegiance is offensive because it has the G-word in it, and Christians should “accept it,” and we’re un-Christian-like, judgmental, etc. if we disagree with someone else because their ideas clash with ours. That’s the thing, though. We are not called to follow what the world, the media or anyone else has to say, and I think that in the attempts to make our religion seem more ‘soft,’ ‘easy to handle’ or ‘accepting,’ we’ve actually let the media etc. fog our own practices for the sake of appearances.
This is exactly why we should not be so lenient: if everyone –all religions, groups, ideologies, etc. – were so lenient, we’d all think the same way, be a collective and the world would be quiet, but very incredibly boring. We’re also not meant to do this, we’re meant to have free will and, therefore, different opinions. We – and this is all of humanity, not just Christians – are quickly becoming so afraid to speak our minds (or of people who do so) for fear that someone will cry ‘foul’ and then we’d be slapped with scorn, stereotypes, etc. We’re in a major backslide. Our nation will suffer because of it. If we become too concerned with how others think of us, we’re more likely to act in manners that directly contradict who we are, and that includes voting, religious views, even how we talk, educate, the list goes on.
But we are. We’re so used to opinions being fed to us that we can’t think of any other way to act, or we’re viewed as ‘pushy’ or something else if we don’t stick with a popular idea.
At this point, I have to quote both the Captain America comics as well as a piece in the Captain America: Civil War movie. Might seem odd or childish, but in this quote stands an important truth, and I recommend looking up the whole thing online. “This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences…” Therefore, why are we letting other groups do as they wish while we sit back, thinking that if we voice personal opinions or beliefs that may contradict theirs, that we’ll be seen as awful people, ostracized or bullied? Isn’t that actually the reverse of what acceptance is? If acceptance is given, then acceptance should be reciprocated. I’m tired of sitting down so I don’t hurt anyone…and that’s the thing: how can just stating your beliefs hurt someone else, or make them feel threatened due to events that probably happened decades or centuries ago? It’s simple: we’re trying to become so accepting that we’re accidentally becoming intolerant instead, and we can’t stand it if someone disagrees with us…and in real life, we can’t just block and delete someone. Every person ever is at fault for this, not just one group over others.
How do we get out of this rut? Well, here’s where Oct. 6 comes in. We should approach the right to take our Bible to school or work with zeal every day, not just once a year. We should walk out in our faith, loving others for who they are but not setting aside our own beliefs to do so. I heard on Focus on the Family’s radio station that most of our nation’s great and historical revivals started with young people, and that’s absolutely true. If we want to change our world, kids have to learn that their ideas are OK too, and that includes sharing their religion in a respectful manner – that is, not pushy but not quiet, either. Teach your kids to create their own opinions and to not be afraid to stand up for these opinions when pressured. Don’t let the pressures of the world make your kids think that they shouldn’t speak up because they think they will offend someone. Finally – teach yourself this too! Regardless of who you are or what you believe, maybe everyone could learn a little something from a kid who’s on fire for their beliefs. Why don’t we make it a norm to be on fire for our beliefs?
Finally, reader – what do you think?