Are Christianity and society in conflict?

Oct 14, 2019 by

by Christopher Watkin, Jubilee Centre:


We increasingly hear the argument that biblical values are in fundamental conflict with contemporary Western society, but is that really the case? This paper considers the example of freedom, a core value of Western liberal democracy and also a major biblical theme. Paul’s treatment of the dominant values of his day in 1 Corinthians 1 shows the inadequacy both of straightforwardly opposing biblical and societal values, and of seeing them in simple continuity. The paper draws implications from Paul’s cruciform account for the areas of evangelism, apologetics, and cultural critique.

A new conflict thesis:

Our thoughts, attitudes and actions are shaped and given meaning by stories, even if those stories are false. The ‘conflict thesis’ of science and Christianity is one such story, peddling the widespread but incorrect idea that Christianity is and always has been the enemy of scientific progress. It has been expertly debunked by Alvin Plantinga and Peter Harrison among others,[3] but it nevertheless has an important and ongoing influence on public perception, with one survey showing that over half of Americans believe that science and religion are often in conflict.[4]

Today we are increasingly witnessing a similar – and similarly misconceived – ‘conflict thesis’, not this time between Christianity and scientific progress, but between Christianity and social progress. This narrative is most vigorously and unsubtly propounded by the new-atheist argument that religion ‘poisons everything’,[5] but it is increasingly being assimilated into more mainstream discourse with suggestions that religious rights and sensibilities are among the main obstacles to social progress in areas such as promoting equality and tackling climate change.[6] Two-in-three Australians think religion does more harm than good in the world, along with more than half of the British, French and German populations, with the global average nearing the tipping point of 50 per cent.[7]

Read here


Related Posts


Share This