Staff Editorial: Biola should learn for the sake of loving others

Christians know less about world religions than agnostics and atheists, according to the Pew Reseach Center.

Chimes Staff, Writer

Christians might not consider it possible to ever over-emphasize the spreading of the gospel message. But apparently, in our home country of the United States, some people have heard enough and seen too little.

A study published late last month by the Pew Research Center revealed that atheists and agnostics know more about world religions than Mormons, Jews, Muslims and several broad denominations of Christianity. And, of the 12 survey questions that focused on Christianity, Mormons scored higher than Protestants.

We should find this data fundamentally unsettling.

Atheists and agnostics often ridicule Christians for being ignorant. But, as the data proves, they are actually right. How are we to give thoughtful answers to people of other faiths if we do not take the time and courtesy to learn what they believe? And how is it possible that Christians are not educated about their own faith?

Also, atheists and agnostics were the strongest in answering questions about the role of religion in public life, raising questions about Christians’ ability to practically bring their faith to bear fruit. Perhaps not surprisingly, the study suggests a strong disconnect between knowledge of faith and acceptance of it. Non-Christians in America have heard the gospel certainly, but hearing is not enough. For many, the greatest thing keeping them from Christianity may be Christians.

Self-professed evangelical Christians engage in hateful acts, with recent examples including protesting military funerals and mocking homosexual teenagers. These are the things that an unbelieving world finds very unbelievable.

We must live like we’re being watched, because we are. It may not be fair that we must right the wrongs perpetuated by those who claim the name of Christ, but it is a reality. And let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are not in some way responsible for the image many non-Christians have of Christians.

Ignorant Christians are a turnoff to our faith. So are those who arrogantly spout judgment upon others. At Biola, we have all the tools to learn to be neither ignorant nor arrogant. And, with God’s help, we have all the tools to right the wrongs done by those who abuse the branding of faith. We have a calling to learn both things of God and the doctrines that oppose Him, and to let those truths of God shape our lives and our ministry.

Biola students have come to this school for a solid education rooted in Scripture and theology. As a result, we will be equipped to show God’s mercy and grace to people who have heard of and rejected Him a thousand times.

Let us take our education seriously, Biola students; not for the sake of a perfect GPA or to be puffed up by intellectual knowledge, but for the sake of practically loving others. Let’s strive to soak in all that we can, wherever we go, so that our lives are ministries that speak volumes about God that even the religiously jaded cannot ignore.

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