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In modern-day Christianity engaging in communication with a non-believer is almost non-existent. To put it mildly, according to Os Guinness, “most people are not open, not interested, or not needy, and fewer people are less open and over a generation ago, when our grandparents lived. ” Today we engage people who are not open, not interested are not needy, or their indifferent, hostile, etc. and requires some persuasion, quite simply most people don’t care are have closed minds. Therefore, according to Guinness, “what they think about God or Christians is the Heart of the problem or the heart attitude. ” That means more people are closed minded and reject Christian ideas than ever before which includes the past generation. Culture and preconceived assumptions of Christianity is partly the reason for the attitudes and closed-minded people. We first must look at their culture plausibility structure to understand how the assumptions of those who disagree with the Christian principles.
According to our textbook culture provides “a framework for thinking, believing and desiring. ” To put it mildly most people, assume that the cultural experiences are influenced by the world around us and through our families and communities and these assumptions internalized and become of part of the framework. Therefore, to use the inside approach, we must carefully respond to the secular level and approach it with caution. But when using the inside approach, we must affirm the assumption, challenge its weakness, and finally offer another way of thinking in hopes of creating a positive view of Christianity. I will list some examples below to demonstrate the execution of the inside approach as it applies today. It appears that Christianity mentality is intolerant and judgmental. According to a survey done by David Kinnaman, “nearly nine out of ten young people, considered outsiders, which is a whopping (87%) said the term judgmental and describing present-day Christians”. This study suggests that this young generation is dyer trouble, because the young people are so negative about Christianity and its principles. Almost 90% of our young people today are becoming more and more unreachable every day. When we look at this further about the Christian perception. Some Christians do tend to look down on others with that judgmental mentality. Some may put more on the issue of the individual than appreciating the value of that person.
Jesus said, “judge not, lest ye be judged” in Matthew 7:1. He warns us not to look down on others, just for the sake of making others look good. The chance of devaluing a person with enough evidence is very high risk to take when it’s based on preconceived ideas. We can all agree that the judgmental attitude is among both religious and non-religious groups. A good example would be politicians that judge each other based on the parties per-conceived ideas. Communities judge each other on economic status. In these examples, the intolerance and judging are just an issue among all people. The beautiful thing about being a Christian, is that is gives a solid approach that does not matter about the religion, political party, or economic status, all people and cultures remain valuable. Intolerance was never integrated into Christianity. According to Timothy Keller “Christianity has been more adaptive (and maybe less destructive) of diverse cultures of secularism and many worldviews” Christianity brings all cultures together through adaptability and not division as some worldview might proclaim.
Another Christian ideology by secular world, is the sexual ethics view, which by them seems to suppress the human desires and the freedom to live a fulfilled life. This statement, in some ways can be agreeable to a certain extent. Sexual desires are suppressed so deep in Christianity and with so many restrictions. I know as young girl growing up the Christian restrictions on just talking to the opposite sex was frowned upon. My parents were so strict with me about dating that it forced me to outside the realm of Christianity and caused a big sexual issue in my life and I ended up not only getting pregnant at age 18 but marring a boy that God had not intended for me to marry. Therefore, creating a life misery, with alcohol abuse, sexual affairs, etc. by my husband. Christianity in general does not suppress sex with all the restrictions, its man that does. These individual’s in the clergy that seem to set the restrictions, fail to follow their own advice that they give other. Moreover, God does not suppress our basic human desires or needs. He created us for sexual purpose, he says in Genesis 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply”, if he hadn’t put that in the word, why were we created to start with. I know Adam and Eve failed in Genesis 2:16-17 “by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” and seeing God’s purpose with sex to soon, because I feel He would have revealed to them. But this is what caused the sin in the world. God did not suppress the sexual desires at this point, but he does gives us boundaries to protect us from our desires that can potentially harm ourselves and others. According to Augustine, “what we love or desire pushes (or pulls) us to act in certain ways, develop certain relationships, pursue certain goods, make certain sacrifices, enjoy certain things. ” Therefore, our desires are influenced by the decisions and pursuits we encounter daily. So, our sexual desires were created by God from the beginning, so why has Christianity distorted its meaning so over the generations. It is as I stated above and what Augustine said, sometimes the distorted view of sexual ethics can push us into doing whatever want too. And we all can agree that some desires are not a good influence for us. God gave Adam and Eve, in the beginning even after they had sinned to “be fruitful and multiple”, that meant they could have the freedom to fulfill their lives sexually, mentally, and spiritually, but they ignored their boundaries set by God, and allowed disobedience to distort their desires.
Another example is the story of David and Bathsheba. David seeing her beauty fail to ignore the bounties of his desires for Bathsheba that his consequences of his actions affected his entire family. As believers, Christianity allows us to fulfill our sexual desires through the sanctity of marriage. When we go outside of God’s boundaries to engage in sexual immoralities, we risk hurting ourselves and others. We should honor our bodies, ourselves, the person we are desiring, but most of all we should be honoring God. That’s what Augustine say about our desire for Love, we have it, it’s not directed to the right source, God. When looking at Christianity overall, it does present a safer way of fulfilling our sexual desires, free from disease hurt or regret through marriage.
In conclusion, we need to get a better understanding of culture plausibility structure of the person in which we are communicating for the inside out approach to be successful. This cultural plausibility structure of a person influences their assumptions of how they view the world. To engage inside-out, we must address certain issues, challenge and affirm assumptions and finally tie them together. We hope to enable others to see the issues in their view of Christianity and create an open mind through the inside approach.
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