Before we continue I must make two points so that one may understand the direction we are going.
First, while I will utilize the term “society” to identify the general population during a particular time frame, it by no means is to implicate that all people fall into this generic category of “society”. Through the years we have had people who have adhered to the Word of God and used His guidance to direct their lives regardless of outside societal impacts and influence. To place a negative “moniker” on any one group of people or age group would be a gross miscarriage of justice. The term “society” is meant to identify the general direction the majority of people…citizens…appear to be tending toward.
Secondly, the word “religion” refers to Christianity. In my studies of the foundation of this nation I can find no other reference to any religion other than Christianity. So when I use the term “religion”, unless otherwise noted, I will be referring to Christianity. Today “religion” has become so twisted that it can mean anything from the worship of God, to the worship of the sun or moon, to the worship of a statue, to the worship of a social icon, even to the worship of a bank account. For some “religion” is self-worship. If you have information contrary to my identifying Christianity with religion, please let me know. I welcome your feedback.
Last week we finished up looking at the direction our “values” and “virtues” have taken over the years. We will now start to take a look at how new beliefs in today’s era are shaping our todays and tomorrows. Just a note, we must be careful to not let our national morals shape our national ethics. It’s happening today and the results are not very good. There is a difference between “morals” and “ethics”. “Morals” is associated with the word ‘is’ while “ethics” is associated with the word ‘ought’. Values largely reflect our emotional and experiential perspectives. Our beliefs typically stem more from our spirituality. Like values, beliefs play a powerful role in shaping our behavior. Our ideas about the existence, nature, and engagement of God; about the existence of absolute guidelines for right and wrong; about our ability to influence God’s responses to humanity through prayer; about our obligations as Christians in government; and about our sense of eternal destiny…all of the perspectives play a discernible role in how we view ourselves and our world and in the decisions and actions that come to define our lives. The church can play a critical role in developing these perspectives as long as it does not fall in line with secular world values and tries to maintain relevance by “modifying” the Word of God. As we take a look at the transition in our beliefs, notice the inescapable interplay between values and beliefs.
Next week we will take a look at our beliefs as established by the role of faith.
– Bob Munsey