The Conflict of Christianity vs Naturalism
Christianity is Theistic, we Christians believe that a transcendent God created the universe. A God who is apart from the universe. The great challenge and conflict to Christianity comes from naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that natural causes alone are sufficient to explain everything that exists.
The following questions reflect this conflict:
- Is the ultimate reality God or the cosmos, the world?
- Is there a supernatural realm, or is nature all that exists?
- Has God spoken and revealed truth to us, or is truth something we have to invent for ourselves?
- Is there a purpose for our lives or are we just another cog in a natural world?
- If I believe and desire strongly enough will it be true?
- Is something true because I feel it?
What are your answers to these questions?
How we answer these questions reveals whether we are Christian or a naturalist. If your answers reflect naturalist belief you will always struggle to follow Jesus and not your feelings. The Christian knows that we can’t believe a lie into truth, but I can believe truth in face of lies, and that truth is true regardless of how we feel about it.
The Conflict We Face
- Naturalism reduces truth to personal preference. As Christians we believe God has spoken and revealed unchanging truth. Christians align with his truth not themselves.
- Naturalism considers that whatever works best is right. As Christians we judge actions not by what works but by what ‘ought to be’ based on God’s revealed truth, a conflict. We understand from the bible that much of what is happening on earth is not God’s truth, plan, or purpose but the consequences of people doing what they think works best. Christians choose to live agreeing with God even when they don’t understand.
- Naturalism tends to believe that the human nature is essentially good, if we could only create the right social and economic conditions we would find utopia. As Christians we know sin is real, we are essentially evil desperately needing a Saviour because humanity is inclined to evil and disorder, a conflict. Christians know that Jesus is their Saviour who they need, so Christians live free from guilt and condemnation because they trust Jesus salvation, not because they are better than anyone else.
- Naturalism considers only what happens in this age, this life. As Christians we consider things from the perspective of eternity because one day there will be a judgement, a conflict.
The naturalistic perspective and belief dominates western society. It forms the standards and shapes the culture of our society, in conflict with Christianity. The Christian expects to be misunderstood, judged, and even persecuted by the forces of naturalism within cultures. The Christian takes Jesus words as truth, and he said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Much of our Christian walk is learning to live in the truth of Jesus words, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We don’t overcome in our conflict with naturalism by being a good student of naturalism and the demonic forces using it. We overcome naturalism by being a good follower of Jesus Christ. Loving and obeying Him.
In John 15:10 Jesus said: “If you obey my commands you will remain in my love” If we are concerned about the influence of naturalism on our children, our first response must be to look at our relationship with Jesus Christ. What precedence does loving Jesus and his body the church take in our day to day life?
Obedience to God Requires Courage.
Our world desperately needs men and women who possess the courage to obey God. Sometimes when you look at the consequences of obedience you may think that following Jesus isn’t worth the cost. Oftentimes God allows trials in our lives that are so imposing that we think He has either abandoned us or made a mistake. But God does not make mistakes. He allows affliction in our lives in order to call us into truth, strengthen us and cause us to grow. These obstacles allow Him to demonstrate His faithfulness and the incredible capacity he has given us to rise above adversity.
If we are to exercise courage in our obedience to God, we must face the challenges He sends or allows in our lives without fear and uncertainty in our spirits. God is our refuge and strength; he will take care of us regardless of the trials we encounter.
To maintain my courage I need to:
- Daily reflect on my circumstances and feelings from the perspective of God’s word, realigning my thoughts with his thoughts, this means meditating on the Bible and doing what it says.
- Regularly remember his saving grace and forgiveness. I rest in his mercy and faithfulness again, receive afresh being made clean in the blood of Jesus, and new life in Holy Spirit, testifying again to myself and my circumstances, I am a child of God.
- Not forsake the weekly gathering of the church.
- Daily give thanks in all my circumstances and to pray for protection.
And you will find the same. As I maintain my courage in this way, God gives wisdom for specific situations. Christianity is not living a formula, or following a set of instructions, it is a living relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit’s leadership and wisdom for the trouble we face.
I pray that the eyes of your heart will open to the greatness of God’s love for you, and the power he is in you, and that the life of Christ in you is much greater than the trouble you face from the world around you. This is our shield of faith.