Religion and Culture Expert Dr. Alex McFarland: -Isms Are Nullified in John I, Which Tells Us Everything We Need to Know About Baby Jesus
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Naturalism, secularism, progressivism, atheism, materialism and even commercialism. All these “-isms” have again wormed their way into Christmas, making loud claims and declarations at a time that is supposed to be about the quiet of a stable and the little baby inside.
But religion and culture expert and author Dr. Alex McFarland (www.AlexMcFarland.com) says that the first chapter of the Gospel of John silences them all.
McFarland recently wrote a column titled “Academia’s Failed Search for Truth” for CNS News, where he shares that academia has become a place where those who profess Christ are dismissed.
“Over the past 20 years, this mindset has really morphed into a militant secularism,” McFarland wrote. “Professors who do believe in God or who are Christians dare not ‘come out of the closet’ for fear of losing tenure, being ostracized in their department, or being blackballed when it comes to budget allocations or grant money. Students who question certain tenets that academia has—for the moment—made matters of “doctrine” (such as Darwinian evolution, the legitimacy of homosexuality and transgenderism, or that climate change is definitely caused by human activity) pay a price. They may be shamed in class by instructors, harassed online by their peers, and even failed.
“But isn’t education all about the search for truth, wherever that truth may lead?” he continued. “One would think so. But even when things like historical facts, unexpected scientific data, or present circumstances mitigate against widely held assumptions about reality… well, let’s just say that the power to influence culture (not to mention school budgets) is not given up willingly.”
So what does all of this have to do with Christmas? Could the birth of a Jewish baby 2,000 years ago somehow relate to 21st century concerns in America and the West? Yes, McFarland says.
“If Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be—and if the backstory about His life and mission is factually true—then He is the key to understanding reality,” he continued. “And I mean real reality: The way things truly are. Regarding Jesus’ ‘backstory,’ consider the implications of John’s Gospel, chapter 1: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ Right there, atheism, naturalism and materialism are all nullified. The physical world, it turns out, is not all there is.
“Because that Bethlehem babe was actually the eternal Creator taking on a human body, He is thus, Maker and Messiah,” McFarland added. “Our search for truth may then rule out undirected evolution and look seriously at creation. A powerful Being initiated a beginning and intentionally caused the world around us. The cosmos has purpose and is not all that there is. If the subject matter of John 1 corresponds to reality (and the case for the Bible’s absolute trustworthiness is compelling), then atheism, secularism, moral relativism and politically correct pluralism are all false. God is real, life has purpose, and yes, humans are accountable.”
Therefore, if Jesus did indeed come from heaven, is divine and shows us the way to God, everything changes. A culture that has tethered itself to godlessness is investing itself in that which is false.
“Because this season is so much about gift-giving, let us be grateful for another benefit of Christmas,” McFarland concluded. “The gift of knowing what is true and being ‘in on the story’—that’s no small thing. God has shown us Who He is, how we may know Him and essentially what’s going on. If we seriously want to find ultimate truth, then we must make sure our journey winds through a little Middle Eastern town called Bethlehem.”
McFarland recently unveiled his new blog at www.AlexMcFarland.com, with categories such as Church & Ministry, U.S., World, Politics, Entertainment, Relationships and Inspirational, with posts including “Don’t Let Our Kids Be Eaten by Lions,” “Five Freedoms No President Can Take Away,” “5 Questions About the Bible Every Skeptic Asks” and “The Truth About Political Correctness.” Read more here.
McFarland serves as Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University (www.ngu.edu) in Greenville, S.C., and is also the author of “The God You Thought You Knew: Exposing the 10 Biggest Myths About Christianity,” “10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer,” “10 Issues that Divide Christians,” “10 Answers for Skeptics” and the “Stand” series of devotions for teens. McFarland is an expert in the field of apologetics—the practice of defending the Christian faith in a world where faith in Christ is plummeting at alarming rates.
McFarland has spent years working with young people and takes their questions to heart. He has preached in more than 1,300 churches and has been featured at conferences such as the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Focus on the Family’s “Big Dig” and California’s “Spirit West Coast,” sharing the platform with Chuck Colson, Eric Metaxas, Josh McDowell and others.
Part evangelist, part apologist, part educator and part broadcaster, McFarland focuses on communicating the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. He co-hosts the daily, live radio program “Exploring the Word” on American Family Radio’s Talk Network, heard on more than 125 stations across the country, and the weekly television show “Viral Truth,” airing on the National Religious Broadcasters Network, which he co-hosts with Jason Jimenez.