Several months ago I wrote in an article on WorldNetDaily that the Christian Church could transform the culture more effectively by raising educated, informed Christians, then by passing legislation reflecting Christian values. The legislation would follow the changed hearts.
With the 2008 presidential election behind us we have an opportunity to reflect on the arguments I made in that article. George Barna has released polling about how Christians voted and I believe that it is quite telling. For example, Barna says, “The Republican challenger generally won over a majority of people whose beliefs reflected a conservative Christian faith.” Later he adds, “Adults who claimed to be "absolutely committed to Christianity" voted overwhelmingly for Sen. McCain (59% to 40%).”
And here is where we begin to spot a trend:
However, those who were only "moderately committed to Christianity" were overwhelmingly persuaded to back Sen. Obama (64% to 35%). People who called themselves Christians but said they were not committed to the faith also sided heavily with Sen. Obama (79% to 21%).
If there was any question that there was a correlation between beliefs and one’s voting habits, it is dismissed in reference to the ‘second largest faith group in America, trailing only the Christian segment,’ that is, atheists and agnostics. He writes, “Three-fourths of atheists and agnostics (76%) gave their vote to Sen. Obama, while only 23% backed Sen. McCain.”
The more convinced a person is of the Christian faith the more likely they are to vote for individuals reflecting Christian values. If a person isn’t as convinced, or has downright dismissed Christianity, they will vote accordingly. It is self-evident, isn’t it? Obviously people will tend to vote in accordance to their values, what they believe, and the degree of conviction they bring to them. Obviously.
It is obvious and self-evident but the lesson to be drawn does not seem to be obvious- at least to the Christian Church. Secularists already ‘get it’ and are working hard on their end. The stakes are too high to fail to grasp the lesson and it pains me to say it, but with the election of a president Obama and both houses controlled by the Democrats, we are about to see the stakes become even higher.
So what is the lesson? The lesson is that if we want to see Christian values reflected in our society, we need more Christians.
That is not quite enough, however. As the Barna stats show, even the gap between “absolutely committed to Christianity” and “moderately committed to Christianity” has profound consequences. The former voted 59% to 40% in favor of McCain while the latter voted 64% to 35% in favor of Obama. So we don’t just need more Christians, but rather we need Christians who are thoroughly convinced in the truth of Christianity and know why they believe what they believe.
How do we move people into the “absolutely committed to Christianity” category? It isn’t through legislation.
I will not re-visit the arguments made in my previous article right now. In short, I believe that a more robust approach to Christian education which incorporates apologetics and other things is a huge part of the answer. Others may disagree - but let us at least agree that there is a problem and it needs fixing… and it begins with us, and not them.
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God…” (1 Peter 4:17)
If you agree at least that the Church ought to engage in some introspection, or even agree with me that we need to contemplate the strengths and weaknesses in how we currently transmit the faith, I invite you to contact me so that we can work together to turn this society around - while we still can.
Anthony Horvath is the executive director of Athanatos Christian Ministries. He is the author of the Birth Pangs series, and his apologetics website, sntjohnny.com, is frequented by both believer and unbelievers. He is a member of the Lutherans for Life speakers bureau.