How do you engage the world? I see two extremes: you may absorb the daily news in all its repetitive outrage, or you are so disgusted you try to ignore it all. I’d like to offer a different way to engage – aware of the cultural context but focused on hope.
Western culture is increasingly secular – it has no need for God. This despite movements to the contrary around the globe, such as in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Sociologist Peter Berger calls secular culture “a world without windows” and a “prison of modernity.” You witness darkness and imprisonment when the news delivers to your eyes criminals driven by hatred or hopelessness, politicians motivated by power and money, and people victimized by the sexual revolution and expressive individualism.
But believers live by a steadfast hope that there’s more to life! You may not realize it, but all humans have glimpses of transcendence. You experience joy, beauty, and kindness. You experience the thrill of discovery, the satisfaction of success, and the love of family. Berger has a description for this as well: “rumors of angels.” The material world and secular culture simply cannot explain everything about the human experience.
Science points to something beyond, in at least three specific ways. Cosmology suggests the universe had a beginning. Logically it could not begin itself. Physics shows that from the beginning to now, the universe is finely tuned for life. Biology reveals the presence of detailed information, which is required to assemble, maintain, and reproduce a living cell. Information like that could only have come from a prior intelligence.
The hope Christianity offers is an understanding of the cultural context of the daily news, both good and evil. It leaves room for the mystical and the mysterious. It gives reasons to believe in the Creator, the Savior who loves you.
“Do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:14-15).