Friday, May 23, 2008

R4G -4: "You Can't Just Outlaw Religion"

Timothy Keller in the first chapter of his book, The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism (R4G), makes the argument that outlawing religion will never bring and end to religion and especially Christianity. He then states what he means:

But this has not happened, and this "secularization thesis" is now largely discredited. Virtually all major religions are growing in number of adherents. Christianity's growth, especially in the developing world, has been explosive. There are now six times more Anglicans in Nigeria alone than there are in all of the United States. There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than in the United States and Scotland combined. Korea has gone from 1 percent to 40 percent Christian in a hundred years, and experts believe the same thing is going to happen in China. If there are half a billion Chinese Chris­tians fifty years from now, that will change the course of human history. In most cases, the Christianity that is growing is not the more secularized, belief-thin versions predicted by the sociologists. Rather, it is a robust supernaturalist kind of faith, with belief in miracles, Scriptural authority, and personal conversion.

Because of the vitality of religious faith in the world, efforts to suppress or control it often serve only to make it stronger. When the Chinese Communists expelled Western missionaries after World War II, they thought they were killing off Christianity in China. Instead, this move only served to make the leadership of the Chi­nese church more indigenous and therefore to strengthen it (p. 6).

1 comment:

Tony said...

Let's hope this stays the course of true conversion, and does not go down the road of only creating church states.

I think Constantine would agree that doesn't work--that doesn't bring about faith that leads to repentance.