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Was It Our Fault?

We Christians are often appalled or scared by large movements that seem to be against Christ. But was it our fault? At least partly?

Perhaps, if we had responded as Jesus Christ would have done, things would have gone differently, and the movements would have remained trickles. Perhaps, instead of treating them as "enemies" we should have thought carefully, prayerfully and humbly about the root issues that led them into existence - some of which we ourselves are guilty.

This page looks at some of these movements and, by exposing their roots and causes, examines to what extent Christ's people have played a part in giving them momentum.


This page is written for Christians of an evangelical or charismatic persuasion. It should still make sense to other readers, but they might miss or misinterpret some of the implications, idioms, jargon terms that inhabit the evangelical lifeworld.


Islam came to birth in a corrupt Christian context, and one in which atrocious heresy was popularly believed: that the Trinity of God is: Father, Mary and Jesus. That the One True God should do sex with a human woman was, naturally, offensive to people like Mohammed. It is not surprising that Mohammed began a new movement.

Was it our fault that Islam came to birth?

But then the reaction of the Christian church to Mohammed's movement left much to be desired. Instead of trying to think through the issues, take warning, and repent, the Christian church fought, and so Islam became strong.

Was it our fault that Islam became strong?

Anti-clericalism and the French Revolution

The French style of anti-clericalism and subsequent violent revolution arose in a situation of an over-weeningly powerful church that took sides with the a corrupt, self-serving aristocracy, which sought pleasure at the expense of the basic needs of the poor. Should the Church not have severely criticised the life and injustices of the aristocracy? No wonder the people, when they rightly turned against the aristocracy, also turned against the church and even the idea of God. The French church had refused to show a God of Love in Christ Jesus. Indeed, the earlier persecution of French Protestants, who had discovered God's love in Christ, left France without a witness to the love of God in everyday life.

Was it our fault that the French Revolution occurred, and all since then?

It has been suggested that it was the work of God through the Wesleys and others that prevented a French Revolution in England, Scotland and Wales.


Communism arose in a situation in which the Christian churches favoured and supported the aristocracy and the wealthy in various countries, and overlooked gross injustice to the poor. Especially in Russia.

Was it our fault that Communism arose?

Once Communism arose, we did not "examine ourselves" nor did we repent of our siding with injustice.

Is it our fault that Communism became strong for a century?


Ostensibly, Atheism arose because of science and reason - yet science and reason are no enemies of the Christian faith. What was it that really motivated Atheism? Was it partly because we had presented a false and unattractive picture of God? Have we shown God as harsh, with an emphasis on sin, and One who dislikes enjoyment? Was it partly because we elevated faith and revelation and suppressed reason, so that a backlash occurred?

Is it our fault that Atheism arose?

Luke Muelhauser believes that a materially peaceful, healthy, happy society tends towards Atheism, as Denmark and Sweden have done. There is both historical and Biblical evidence that material shalom comes from a right relationship with God, especially of the Protestant sort that previously imbued Denmark and Sweden. Is it because the Christian church, in focusing on the sacred, has not given those in such societies a 'narrative' about the material shalom that is believable - no godly way of dealing with the secular?

Is it our fault that Atheism arose?

Our reaction has been to focus our efforts on countering Atheism, rather than doing God's work of justice in the world. We enjoy it when an atheist is found to lose an argument. We have tried to prove scientific findings wrong. and/or to seek proofs of God's existence. Yet the Christian philosopher Dooyeweerd argues that it is impossible to prove God's existence. Because of our reaction, Atheism has grown strong.

Is it our fault that Atheism has grown strong?


Evolution arose initially as a scientific theory about how species came to be. Some of the Church reacted against this because it seemed to contradict a couple of verses in the Bible. We did not, unfortunately, seriously consider the type of contradiction and whether perhaps our interpretations had been wrong. The Christian church refused to deeply understand the issues at stake. Our reaction only made its supporters more determined.

Was it partly our fault that momentum built up for evolution?

Some atheists pushed it because they thought it gets God out of the equation. At the Monkey Trials the evolutionists won and Christian opponents were vilified and humiliated. Since then Christian opponents of evolution have been smarting and trying to get their own back. This is not what God wanted. But since some Christians make a fuss over evolution its supporters made more of a fuss too. Gradually, the Western population at large has increasingly accepted evolution as a 'fact'.

Is it our fault that most of the population believes evolution?


Secularism has swept through our European mindset. But it is said that the Jewish religion is the most materialist. God values material, values the secular side of life because it is part of what He created.

Though, in God's creation all spheres of life are important in His eyes, we treated them as less important than the religious and moral spheres. During the mediaeval period we had the upper hand, and what we did with that hand was unwise and against God's intention. We drove secular apart from sacred?

So when the inevitable reaction occurred, people turned away from sacred toward what we call secular, rather than maintaining a balance. That is, secularism. We did not see this as a signal to question whether we had got our mindset wrong and repent of misusing our upper hand. We, the people who are supposed to have the "mind of Christ", chose to retain an ungodly dualism of sacred versus secular, so it is no wonder that the people also adopted this dualism, but from the opposite end. We continued to see the secular as nothing to do with the sacred, or the enemy of the sacred, and something to be battled.

Was it our fault that secularist mindset has the upper hand today?

In the United States of America, revivals occurred before, during and after the 1800s, for example during the Civil War (on both sides), and subsequently, such that USA Christianity still seeks revivalist-style large phenomena. [Is that a correct picture? Do let me know. Assuming it is ...] But such revivals focused too much on the 'sacred' side of life and too little on the 'mundane'. Secularism filled the gap of understanding the mundane, because we offered no Biblical positive understanding of it, and it became 'secular'. Yet, being part of God's creation that 'secular' side of life (economics, jurisprudence, media, entertainment, academia, etc.) works powerfully - and yet there is very little Biblical narrative or understanding of it.

Mark Surey has studied the revivals of the Civil War and found that not enough attention was given to such things as justice on one hand and PTSD on the other, and so when one side became 'victor' its revivalist tendency was ill-prepared to cope with peace and victory, and then secularism filled that gap.

Was it our fault that secularist mindset has the upper hand today?

Christians have too long side with war and military, despite Jesus being Prince of Peace and Yahweh as a whole being "God of Peace". It has been largely left to the secularists of the left-wing, and a few Christian groups that are seen as 'fringe' to question our siding with war. Secularism has an answer (not a very good one); do we?

Was it our fault that secularist mindset has the upper hand today?


Postmodernism is disliked by many Christians, because they believe it relativizes truth, and we hold Jesus to be "the Truth". But we have not tried to properly understand postmodernism and what it is trying to achieve.

Postmodernism is a reaction against modernism, which is the doctrine that reason can lead us into all truth. Modernism tends to see reality, including human beings, as machine, and acted the bully for a century. Postmodernism, reacting against the bully, allows for human freedom of opinion and interpretation. Modernism loves neat hierarchies; postmodernism loves flexible networks. Postmodernist writers tried to make their point by shocking people. We have treated the shock statements as the nub of their beliefs and have reacted by retreating back into modernism - even though modernism is that which denies that there is a God.

We did not try to understand postmodern concerns, so we reacted against it. Are we partly to blane for the rise of postmodernism?


(Homosexualism is not the same as being of a homosexual disposition; Homosexualism refers to the belief and ideology that homosexuality is Good and To-Be-Promoted, and is held by the liberal elite who are not necessarily of homosexual disposition.)

Homosexuality seems to be condemned in both Old and New Testaments. The church for centuries has treated it as a sin worse than the sin of adultery - strangely since the OT penalties for both were similar. Some Christians argue that today's homosexuality is not that of the ancient Greeks or Canaanites, and that it is 'OK' before God if it is a committed loving relationship. (I am not here declaring my own beliefs on the matter; I criticise the debate about it.)

The Church as a whole has refused to listen to those of a homosexual disposition. Partly this is because of the antagonism of militant homosexuals down through the decades, but mostly is it because we have scared to try to understand? Has it been too easy and forced-upon-us to take sides rather than think?

Did our refusal to listen and think drive some people struggling with a homosexual disposition into hiding and into a clique of homosexuals where they felt accepted?

Is it our fault that homosexuality has become an issue and that homosexualism has arisen as a cause celebre of the secular liberal elite?

Is it our fault that homosexuality has become an issue and that homosexualism has arisen as a cause celebre of the secular liberal elite?


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About This Page

Offered to God as on-going work, this page is designed to stimulate discussion on various topics, as part of Andrew Basden's pages that open up various things from one of the Christian perspectives. Contact details.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all the dates below. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext.

Created: 16 October 2013. Last updated: 21 July 2014 Scripture, atheism. 25 March 2016 Intro and headings added; counter removed; simplified comment box. 27 January 2017 French anti-c and American secularism and homosexualism. Rewrote What We Learn, all from paper notes. 20 February 2017 request dashes. 12 April 2019 roots in intro. Added contents; made the isms h3 not h2.