Folks are always telling us that we need to keep our eye on the ball. Having played baseball as a kid, I understand the imagery and know how important it is to look closely at the lacing for a curve ball. Baseball imagery aside, however, I wonder whether there might not be times we ought to turn away from the ball and take a look around the park. What do I mean? Only this…
There is no problem convincing Americans that Islam is a problem. There is no problem convincing Christians that the new atheists are militant. But I would have my work cut out for me if I tried to tell you that our real threat as Christians, and our real threat as Americans, is coming toward us with neither the fast pitch mentality of Muslim jihad, nor the curveball (or screwball) interpretations of new atheism. Rather, the real threat is paganism. Postmodernism–as many have determined to call the period we now are inhabiting–is not going to be a new era of intellectual accomplishment and technological advancement; rather, it will be a period of regression into a newfound paganism.
Forget slouching toward Gomorrah; we are slouching toward the tribal animism of Africa. New Age [Eastern] Mysticism, environmentalism, and anti-intellectualism (often posing as tolerance) are eroding the ground beneath the feet of America’s future. Eastern mysticism and environmental monism are seeping like water into the ground beneath us, saturating everything we think. We are becoming pagans, and we don’t even realize it because there is no fight, no confrontation, no attempted political takeover. All it takes is ignorant Christians unable to articulate a biblical worldview to neighbors and classmates, and the job is done. Our churches have sadly proven all to eager to comply. So, pagans have filled our pews (see this helpful book by Peter Jones).
A recent Pew Center study found that there is little distinction between Christians and non-Christians on “spiritual” issues such as reincarnation and contact with the dead. Though admittedly quite vague, a chart from the Pew study shows how religious “experiences” have been on the rise in America since the 1960’s. According to the chart, we are now at the “tipping point,” where there will be more people professing to have mystical experiences than not. What this means is that we are starting to think more like pagans and spiritists and less like Christians. Because such decay is so insidious, it appears to be a fatal disease.
The only hope of being saved is the true gospel of Jesus preached and lived out in the life of the church. So, if we are serious about keeping our eye on the ball, we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.