Recently I’ve read several articles about the waning of religion in our modern society, especially among young people. This turning away from faith seems to be accompanied by growing animosity toward religion and those who practice it.
The implications are alarming. As older generations die, people of faith will become a smaller and smaller proportion of society. They will eventually be outnumbered by those who are antagonistic toward faith. We see the signs of that even now.
I don’t expect to see faithful Christians—or Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus—hauled into the nearest football stadium to be met by hungry lions. I don’t expect we will see believers burned at the stake or arrested in the pews on Sunday and hauled to prison.
Abinadi before King Noah, shortly before being martyred for his witness of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. See Mosiah 12-17, Book of Mormon. Painting by Arnold Friberg, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Nevertheless, I expect people of faith will face increasing persecution.
Believers may well be punished by irreligious, “progressive” thinkers who feel that because of their intellectual superiority they have the right to coerce us into their way of thinking. Ironically, many of them have adopted a holier-than-thou attitude toward those of us who follow what we believe are commandments and teachings of God on moral and gender issues.
Do you believe that we are born a specific gender because our Heavenly Father created us that way before we came to live on this earth? Do you believe that gender is a part of our eternal being? “Homophobic”! Intolerant! Not scientifically supported!
Do you believe that marriage was ordained of God to be between one man and woman, allowing two people to help each other develop in their eternal roles? Bigoted! Non-inclusive! Hateful!
Do you believe that sex is not just a pleasurable physical part of life but also a sacred activity between a man and woman committed to each other in marriage? Prudish! Impossibly idealistic! Old-fashioned! Just unreal!
People for whom gender identity or diversity are parts of their very core do not allow people of faith the same freedom of belief. If you believe gender identity and chastity are governed by the laws of God, you must be corrected. Such ideas must be stamped out.
If conscience will not allow you to celebrate other people’s philosophies on gender and marriage—e.g., you won’t bake a wedding cake or take wedding photographs—you must be shamed, ostracized, and punished by the weight of the law. Freedom of belief is for those who uphold norms acceptable to progressive thinkers, but not for those recalcitrants who believe they are following commandments of God.
There is a glaring, logical fallacy progressives never address: When believers cannot accept that marriage between two people of the same gender is “equality” or that “diversity” means we must discard our own faith, this is not a sign of hate. We do not wish to bring pain or shame or hurt to others. There is no reason we cannot work and live in peace with them—sometimes within our own families. But loving and serving them does not mean we have to change core beliefs.
Many progressives—those who consider themselves intellectually and ideologically superior to others—cannot leave people of faith alone. They seem to feel we must be cured of our ignorance, stripped of our faith-based biases, and, if necessary, be compelled by law to acknowledge that they are right, and our beliefs are wrong.
They like to mock this view, saying they are only standing up for what is obviously and logically right. They say the idea that they try to suppress opposing views is “extreme” or “paranoid.”
Think about current trends in our society. If you are a person trying to guide your life by what you believe to be commandments of God, how do you feel your views are accepted in academia? In government? In the entertainment industry? How often do you see people of faith depicted as positive characters in movies and TV shows, and how often as villainous hypocrites?
Each of us who tries to live our life guided by core principles of faith will sometime have our motivations challenged. Will we be strong enough to face the criticism, the ostracism, the social and mental punishment that may come?