I was asked about the need for the separation of Church and State in regards to nativity scenes on government property. One State allowed a satanic statue be placed next to the nativity scene to show that all points of view are held equally in the eyes of the government. What would be an effective response to this scenario to still respect the law and bring the light of the gospel?
Often times, I have a hard time separating Satanism as a polemic to Christianity. Granted, it has it’s own system of beliefs, and incorporates much of other paganistic ideas. Nevertheless, it’s hard to not recognize how much of a role it serves in being anti-Christian, remaining forever in the shadow of Christianity. In a way, Satanism requires Christianity.
As far as the “war on Christmas” goes, I’m a person that believes that a war requires two sides to fight. As such, I’m not willing to get into fighting over Christmas icons (especially those that are also strongly guided by cultural perspectives). I won’t criticize someone for saying “Happy Holidays,” or take the time to boycott a company because they don’t say “Christmas.” The testimony of Christ starts in my life as I live it faithfully on a daily basis, not based on the fights I pick with secular people and organizations.
With that being said, the government does not limit my usage of property to display the nativity scene. I thank God for those leaders who are able to give God glory publically, but with respect to the law, if there is a separation of church and state, there is not much we can do to enforce favoritism of Christianity and denial of all other beliefs at the state level. But it may afford us Christians an opportunity to talk about it with those who would have otherwise not noticed.
Have you had an opportunity to discuss this topic with non-believers, perhaps at your workplace?
What does everyone else think about the perspective of Satanism being always in the shadow of Christianity?
It’s an interesting question. From what I know about Satanism, it is not that satanists actually believe in a metaphysical being “Satan,” rather they tend to be atheistic materialists who simply see satan as a symbol for personal autonomy, especially in all things sexual.
That said, I really am not sure where I fall on this one. I mean, if we put a nativity scene up and someone else puts up a statue of a demon, then perhaps the dichotomy of the two images might actually work in our favor; it might actually draw people to the nativity scene if they see an artistic representation of its antithesis. A lot of medieval painting actually worked this way, although obviously there the intentions of the artist were different. Back then it was meant to show the horrors of hell and its demons. Here is an example:
At the same time, the satan figures are likely frightening to children, since they do present an image of darkness and corruption. However, that said, I can barely walk around the mall or the downtown area of our local township these days at Halloween time with my kids (all under 5 years old). The Halloween costumes and decorations on display (not just in Spirit stores, but even in Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) are absolutely grotesque!
I don’t know; it could be that presenting the alternative to Christ might actually shock people back into the reality that there is a world of spiritual darkness, and it’s best not to go there.
Grace and peace…and Light!
I don’t have any problems with other worldviews displaying things that support their point of view HOWEVER, as a social construct you now have to defend the public good of your point of view. This is where other worldviews fall short and the sad thing is no one is asking the hard questions to them. The reason Christmas trees and nativity scenes (IMO) because they have a positive impact on the community. Jesus is the light of the world and he gave the greatest gift ever to mankind, redemption. I don’t see how this is offensive.
But when you try dialogue on these topics there is more heat than light. Thank you.
@cashusru, I can definitely appreciate the concern. Somehow it’s hard to understand why it would seem more wholesome to sit on the lap of Lucifer (coming from my Christian worldview)! But how would we dialog with someone that believes that religion is the opiate of society and believes that religion is dangerous and warps the minds of the people? How do you bridge that concern with the nativity and Christmas trees as being a positive impact on the community?
First, thank you for your post. I decided to wait and muse the topic before responding. In addition, I am unsure why these types of questions appear to receive fewer responses. Your use of the word war is of interest to me. I tend to limit my posts due the forum’s abundance of thoughts. I have supplied additional questions for thought and consideration:
- What is war?
- Who created war?
- Is war necessary?
- What is the purpose of war?
- Is war bad or good?
- Are Christians engaged in spiritual warfare only?
- What is it about the two nativity scenes that engenders war?
- Has war been normalized?
- Why is war often required to achieve peace?
I value your thoughts and the thoughts of others.