“Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.”
This quote is printed on the last page of the rifle data books issued to every U.S. Marine for their annual marksmanship qualification. The source of the quote was General Alfred M. Gray, the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps and the only commandant to have his official photograph taken in a camouflage utility uniform. The message was sent loud and clear: Every marine is a rifleman.
Since the War for Independence, the U.S. Marine Corps has been distinguished by its dedication to marksmanship. Every recruit is trained early and thoroughly. Regardless of their military occupational specialty (MOS), be it infantry, technician, food service, or music, every marine is expected to be proficient with a rifle.
Here’s the thing…
I believe Christians would do well to learn from this legacy. There are certain things that are so intrinsically tied to the Christian identity that no Christian should go without. There are certain subjects every Christian ought to learn early and thoroughly, namely theology.
Every Christian to one degree or another ought to be a theologian. Continue reading “Every Christian a Theologian”
Christians must not be afraid of the whys which we encounter, whether it is from nonbelievers challenging our faith or our own young people doubting theirs.
Why is inevitable. But, why is also valuable. Continue reading “Why: Two Values, Two Excuses, One Reassurance”
How do we deal with the whys of this generation or any generation for that matter?
As always, the conflict with the cultural current drives us back to an ancient book. God has blessed us with His Word which transcends all cultural whims and addresses every cultural concern. In the middle of the Apostle Peter’s first letter, we find a command, which presents a solution to the question at hand, why.
The Theological Significance of the Resurrection of Christ
It is that time of year again. We Christians are gearing up for Easter services in our churches, Easter egg hunts in our yards, and Easter clothes on our children. As with Jesus’ birth at Christmas, we put forth a concerted effort to commemorate the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, culminating in dying on the cross and rising from the grave.
This is that important time of year when we return to the resurrection.
Continue reading “Return to the Resurrection”
A Modern Misconception
For many people, the term “blind faith” is redundant. The popular assumption is that a sort of blindness is inherent, and often intentional, in religious faith. This notion is prevalent in popular conversation on the topic. Famous quotes are thrown around, like that time that Mark Twain quipped, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Or there was that one time Ayn Rand wrote, “Faith is the commitment of one’s consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof.” In his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, Peter Boghossian identified his two favorite definitions of faith as “belief without evidence” and “pretending to know things you don’t.”
By definition—at least by popular definition—faith is blind.
Consequently, faith and rationality are often seen as incompatible, mutually exclusive terms. They are treated as opposite approaches to truth. On a popular level, it is assumed by many unbelievers that if a person is rational, they have no need for faith. On a personal level, it is assumed by many believers that if a person has faith, there is no need for rationality.
But why do we assume that there is this great divide between faith and reason?
Here’s the thing…
I don’t know.
The Bible describes a marriage between faith and reason, not a divorce. Besides, everyone’s worldview at some point rests on accepting a foundational idea by faith, no matter how much rationality precedes it.
Continue reading “No Blind Faith Here”
Previously, we considered the generational realities facing our young people and how those realities affect the way they view the world. Next, I would like to discuss two spiritual realities that should shape our conversations with our young people regarding their worldviews.
What is the ultimate nature of the problems our young people face, and what should we consider the solution to those problems to be?
It is easy to get bogged down with all of the statistics and studies being done regarding our young people. What is often overlooked is the spiritual nature of all that they face. As different as their world is, the ultimate problem has not really changed. Nor has the solution.
Continue reading “Talking to Young People about Their Worldviews (Part 2)”
How important is theology, what we believe about God? What happens to a culture when there is a breakdown in theology? What can we do about it?
The Theology We Had
In 2005, sociologist Christian Smith, leading a project called National Study of Youth and Religion, released the findings of a monumental study in a book titled Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Eyes of American Teenagers. The book was the culmination of the project’s five-year study, interviewing over three thousand teenagers ages thirteen to seventeen from across the U.S. regarding their personal religious beliefs. Of all studies done on all the aspects of American teenage life, religious ideas have usually gone unnoticed. This study, however, left no stone unturned.
Continue reading “The Necessity of Theology”