Recently the Executive Editor of the New York Times said of his publication that “they don’t get religion.” Keep in mind this is the New York Times considered the newspaper of record for the United States. This is the same newspaper that proudly espouses a liberal worldview. This same newspaper says, “It doesn’t get religion” and yet is one that does news stories on religion.
You and I are living in a culture where one may say it’s okay to live however he wants. As Christians, we are live to the glory of God. It’s this same culture that propagates a worldview whereby its thought-leaders candidly write, “They don’t get religion.” Often these are the same thought-leaders who want to suppress religion, specifically Christianity because they think that the Christian worldview and all it entails is ancient and outdated. These are the same people who “don’t get religion.”
Often the clarity of the liberal left shocks me. They espouse a worldview I find very conflated, confusing, and conflicted. Growing up in Seattle, Washington considered one of the top three liberal cities in the USA, I saw this worldview upfront and personal. I watched as friends got addicted to drugs like marijuana, then cocaine, and heroine. I watched as friends had abortions and slept around, drinking all the time to cover up the pain of their lives.
We are living in a day when the liberal media wants Christians to be silent. They want what we believe only to be said in private, in our homes, and in our churches. They don’t want our beliefs and worldview to be shared in the public square. Instead, they tell us that we aren’t to have a voice in the public square of ideas. Yet, their ideas are to be shared, and even believed, by the vast majority of Americans.
This is what makes a claim by the Executive Editor of the New York Times, considered the liberal newspaper in the United States of America, so shocking. When the editor of this magazine says, “They don’t get religion” we should all stand-up and take notice. This is not someone who lacks significance. Instead, this is someone of true significance who leads our nation’s newspaper of record. This statement demonstrates a lot about the secular worldview.
First, it shows us that the culture of intolerance doesn’t get the religious beliefs of others. When you get something you can not only explain it in an intellectual way but simply so others can understand it. The New York Times doesn’t “get religion;” they don’t understand and perhaps even care to understand that while they advance they’re own philosophy to the point of forcing others to believe what they believe, they insist that Christians don’t have a voice in any conversation.
Second, it shows us that truth does matter. This issue is more than just religion being kept private. This is about religious liberty and the freedom of expression. When people speak, they have the right in the United States to have, their voice heard. That doesn’t mean that poor speech must be heard. It doesn’t mean that it also doesn’t lack consequences. Instead, it means that freedom of speech is allowed in our society because in the marketplace of ideas everyone has a voice. When one people’s convictions are placed above another, everyone in a society of free speech suffers. Not only is it threatened but it also causes religious liberty to be under attack.
In our society, today truth does matter. Behind every truth is a worldview. People are always preaching their worldview. Some are clearer about that worldview than others. We can thank the Executive Editor of the New York Times for his clarity when he says he and his paper “don’t get religion.” With that said, we should also pause to think about what this means across the spectrum of our society. It should cause us to realize how great the need is for the biblical worldview to be in the marketplace of ideas in our society today.
As Christians, we need to stand firm on the authority of the Word of God. We need not be silent. We need to stop hiding behind a façade. We don’t have to be quiet about what we believe about the Bible and a whole host of issues, including what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and gender roles. Instead, we need to teach with clarity and conviction the truth of Scripture.
Our greatest issue we need to understand in our day is that secularism is not just a philosophy. Instead, it’s theology. Everyone is doing theology. The question is whether we are good theologians or bad theologians. Secularism is a bad theology because it’s central conviction is that if you don’t believe it’s own beliefs you should be silenced. And at the heart of those beliefs is the advancement of the moral and spiritual revolution telling people that they must believe in homosexuality and whatever other issue comes up related to gender that it believes is good and right. If you don’t believe in those “things” that it espouses, well, you shouldn’t have a place at the table.
At the end of the day, the story from the Executive Editor of the New York Times is not at all shocking. We’ve seen already that the liberal media doesn’t get religion. Not only doesn’t it get religion it doesn’t have the categories to deal with the chaos it covers on a daily basis. The liberal media is so busy covering stories that advance it’s own moral and ethical revolution that it’s violated its sacred trust of delivering fair and unbiased journalism.
We are living in a time when the truth to one person is not the truth of another. We are seeing the erosion of religious liberty and the freedom of speech before our very eyes by people who don’t “get religion.” They don’t see that their viewpoint is a religious viewpoint. They don’t understand that their philosophy is more than a philosophy. They want converts, disciples, and followers who will bend to their theology and live according to how “they” interpret life.
We are seeing the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3 before our very eyes. We are seeing the vanity of vanities and how it all is grasping for the wind. In the midst of it, we have a clear statement from the paper of record in the United States, the New York Times, and from its Executive Editor who says his paper “doesn’t get religion.” He’s right, of course, they don’t get religion, nor do his colleagues in the mainstream liberal media.
Christians have been called to stand firm. We who are in Christ have been called to be soldiers. As soldiers, we need to stand now in God’s grace. We need to enter into the public square of ideas because we have a rock solid foundation for truth. As Christians, we are a countercultural people. Christians not only get true and undefiled religion as James 1 talks about, but we practice true and undefiled religion because of and by God’s grace.
Let us go out in the marketplace of ideas. There we challenge the ideas and convictions of men and women not to score points but to point them to Jesus Christ. We enter the public square out of a sense of urgency knowing that there are a real heaven and a real hell where people are going. We go knowing that people are blind all around us without Jesus. This is why we share Christ and him crucified with people.
We go forth into our culture because we know the truth, have been set free by truth, and love the truth and people. Let us go forth into a culture of intolerance with the most intolerant message of all—there is only one Savior and Lord who alone can save sinners from their sin and give them friendship with God both now and always.
The gospel message is the most intolerant message of all, but it is also the most exclusive message of all even as it’s the most transforming message the world has ever known. As Christians, that’s our message, our aim, and our charge to carry forth the light of the gospel in a dark world. Let’s go, soldiers. We have our marching orders, now let’s take up the mantle and get to work by God’s grace entering the marketplace of ideas for God’s glory.