How times have changed! In the days of Abraham Lincoln debates between political candidates would last several hours, involving the opportunity to present well-developed lines of thought. Much of the U.S. public, being well read and accustomed to researching the issues, afforded the luxury of forming candidacies based more upon the needs and answers of the day than upon the negative swipes taken by the respective candidates and their supporters.
You may have noticed that today’s campaign world is somewhat different. Mere thirty-second sound bites carry huge weight. Public persona and the ability to skillfully craft one-liners seem to exert more influence on voters’ decision making than actual campaign platforms. And those attack ads! How we detest the mud slinging by candidates and political action committees to shroud the opposition in a murky fog of negativity!
In the short term these ads are very effective (and so they continue to be utilized), but in the long run they create a sense of political malaise that alienates the average voter from what he or she comes to regard as the repulsive world of negative politics.
But this post isn’t about political campaigns. What I’m trying to address is the reality that a massive smear campaign has been launched against God, and that many of us have fallen prey to its lies and negativity. The resulting price is steep!
It all began thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3 we read that the serpent filled the minds of Adam and Eve with doubts about the loving intentions and all around goodness of their benevolent Creator. Beguiled by the serpent’s hiss, our ancient parents opened the door to an evil fury that continues to wreak havoc across the broad spectrum of our human existence.
Our loving God has gone to extreme lengths to reverse the curse and provide redemption for humanity, but the ongoing Smear Campaign continues to undermine His redemptive efforts. In other words, we continue to be had.
Why do so many of us have so much difficultly living by faith? Part of the problem is due to our natural tendency to walk by sight rather than by faith, but our issues with unbelief go much further. In the recesses of our hearts we find doubts; doubts about the credibility of the Bible, doubts about God’s willingness to meet our needs, doubts about whether the benefits of a life of faith are worth the price paid.
For years Christians in the Western church were at war without even realizing the battle pressing upon them. Today’s landscape is quite different. Emboldened and energized by key victories in the secularization of our culture, militant atheists are launching a plethora of attacks against Christianity—much of it against the character of God.
As it is with navigating the political landscape, so it is with the religious. If we don’t identify and study the issues, we fall prey to misinformation and underhanded smear tactics.
The answer? Ignoring the issues won’t help. Neither will attempts to suppress our doubts. It falls upon us to be honest with our faith struggles, to confess our unbelief to God, to painstakingly search out answers to our nagging questions. Only then will our gaze pierce the negative haze of misinformation to see our faithful and loving God as He truly is.
Does this mean effort on our part? For sure. But the price paid pales in comparison to the benefits gained. Search for Him with all of your heart! No amount of mud slinging can mar His image, nor can any question ever intimidate Truth!
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NASB)