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A former Anglican bishop tells the story of when he served as the chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford. It was his duty and privilege to greet every incoming freshman, welcoming them to the university and offering them his guidance. He recalls that the vast majority of students replied in basically the same way: “You won’t be seeing much of me,” they’d say. “I don’t believe in god.”
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Christians - Rationality - Theism - Student - Gospel
At this I suspect many Christians would want to launch into a full-scale apologetic, defending the rationality of theism and imploring the student to believe the gospel. Instead, the wise bishop would say, “Oh, that’s interesting. Which god is it that you don’t believe in?”
After recovering from his surprising response, most students would go on to describe some kind of angry sky fairy who occasionally intervened in human affairs but whose main activity involves little more than sending bad people to **** and allowing good people into heaven. To the amazement of nearly every student, the bishop would then reply, “Well, I don’t believe in that god either.”
Time - World - Word - God - Level
There was a time in the Western world when the word “God” had a significant level of intelligibility. Virtually everyone recognized God as a reference to the supernatural being who revealed himself in the life of Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14–18). Even atheists used the word God in this way, for to be an atheist in the West was to disbelieve in this specific deity.
Today, however, the West is a secularizing, post-Christian culture. And though all of America isn’t post-Christian yet, even the Bible Belt isn’t far behind. We have arrived at the point where the common conceptions of many vital words—like “God,” “Christian,” “church,” “gospel,” “sin,” and “salvation”—are distantly removed from what the Bible means by them.
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