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HomeIn the NewsPart 1 - Christianity & Culture - Qualitative Results

Part 1 – Christianity & Culture – Qualitative Results

January of 2022 marks the one year anniversary of BCWorldview.org (BCW). Its focus was, and continues to be, a discussion on the intersection of our culture and a Biblical Christian Worldview. This effort has expanded into daily devotions, guest authors writing on similar topics, podcasts, and daily/weekly email newsletters. In September of 2021, I began cross-posting my writing on BCW to a blog site called Medium

Today, BCW sends out over 1000 read emails each week and the website receives nearly 15k site impressions monthly. However, by far the most active (and time-consuming) part of our efforts is on Medium. We are currently averaging an additional 20k monthly views on that platform and I have individually responded to over 500 readers since September of last year. To put the size of Medium into perspective, in the month of May 2019 alone, they reported 237 million views, ranking them 199 in all US websites in terms of traffic.

This first of a two part series will offer a summary of remarks we have received from readers of our Medium posts. In the second part, I will offer some insight, from my own personal experiences, of positive ways to communicate with those who are strongly opposed to a traditional Christian worldview.

In the interest of full disclosure, Medium is considered a “left-center” blog site. Further, the search tags on our articles relate almost exclusively to “Christianity” even though many of the reader responses gravitated toward politics.

What I have learned from the experience. 

Of the nearly 350 articles on BCW and over 100 of my posts on Medium, 98% are written either intended to promote spiritual growth or the intersection of Biblical Christian theology and contemporary issues in America. So, the reader responses I have received (from Medium) revolve around these somewhat hot-button issues. 

This has been an amazing ride so far and one of the best aspects of it is the unique perspective it has offered observing the pulse of our nation. It is from that perspective, I would like to offer some personal observations, based on reader conversations. Overarching nearly all comments is the reality that there is a great deal of anger in America. I know this should not come as any surprise, but those who write use their real names and are very open about their frustrations. As a guideline for responses, next to specific topics below are the number of individual articles which include some use of these terms. 

Politics 

  • Trump (22 posts) – Approximately 50% of the 500+ conversations I have had on Medium have the word Trump in a response. It has little to do with the topic since the vast majority of my posts are totally apolitical. Of those who include President Trump in their comments, over 98% range from negative to extremely negative regarding his general character, his impact on America, his trustworthiness, and his interests related to 2024. I can’t remember a single positive statement, however, there must have been some that were benign.
  • Links – There were a great many responders who link Donald Trump, the Republican Party, Conservatives, and Christians together. Every one of them viewed that relationship in the negative. Further, many responders assume there is also a direct link between Christians and anti-vaxers, Fascists, and Racists. 
  • Fascists Christians – One of my greatest surprises was the view from some Progressive commenters that Christians are successfully taking over the country to impose their (our) “Christian-Sharia” type laws on all Americans. I am writing an article offering speculation on the reason for this reoccurring view.
  • Our Country – Every conversation that included a reference to the state of our country expressed a belief that it was headed in the wrong direction. Some did not identify why. Others referenced Biden. Many felt that Republicans were blocking President Biden from doing a good job and that he inherited a mess from his predecessor.

Christianity

  • Confusion – There is so much confusion on this subject that it is hard to even quantify. As a Biblical Christian, I hold to a very narrow view of systematic theology. However, from all corners of religious doctrine, there is chaos in what people define as Christian. The largest group that considers themselves Christians reject both the Bible as ultimate truth, and reject any need to follow even the general teachings of God. They see their Christianity as evolving for some and deconstructing for others, which is the same thing. There is no need or desire to pin theology down to any core beliefs. Instead, there is a desire to not dig too deep into an antiquated ledger (Scripture) to provide any advice for contemporary morality. The one common theme that was largely consistent across all responders who saw God as real was that He is love, nothing more and nothing less. To the few exceptions, god was evil, if he existed, because he allows pain and evil in the world.  To go any deeper beyond these general statements would be to get so splintered into fragments of Christian half-truths as to become lost in the weeds. Suffice it to say, the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians (commentating on my posts) are not Biblical Christians based on the definition offered here
  • ­The Bible – This was a very hot-button topic and is part of nearly every article written on BCW and Medium. As you might imagine, my view was to defend Scripture as written by God and penned by man. Approximately 90% of responders considered the Bible somewhere between non-essential and anti-Christian. A few took me through the development of the Bible to demonstrate their knowledge that it was solely written by man and twisted to conform with our changing theology over time. I spent considerable time responding to these readers, some of which became articles in and of themselves.  
  • Heaven & Hell (34 posts)– Heaven was referenced in nearly every post on Medium. Beyond the atheists, there were very few who challenged the reality of Heaven. Further, there were surprisingly only a few who were critical of my grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone view of those who will be in Heaven. In addition, few disputed the existence of Hell. I cannot explain this other I suspect many just thought I had lost my mind. In fact, at least 10 responders on other topics made that exact point.
  • Evangelism – Most of my articles had some evangelistic component, some more overt and some more covert. Comments that were made on this subject were equally split between favorable and unfavorable.  
  • End Times (12 posts) – Interestingly, few took offense or challenged my views on the subject. 
  • Church – (36 posts) I received only one or two comments from folks who admitted they still attended some form of a regular church service. Further, there were only two people I can recall who disclosed that they listened to any form of online service. Half of those who discussed church as a construct believed it was a source of evil in the world and had left the church years ago, erecting their own exclusive and personal connection with God. The other half who discussed “church” also considered it a source of evil in the world and never had or wanted any part in it.
  • Other Religions – There were very few references to other formal ‘religions” such as Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc… They could have been out there and just choose not to disclose. I would estimate that approximately a third of those responding to my posts considered themselves atheists (no agnostics that self-disclosed). 

It is both sad and interesting to note that deconstructing and anti-Christians hold, by far, the highest number of followers on Medium than do Christians – under the sort tag “Christianity”. 

  • Anger – Frustration was not limited to politics. Approximately 70-80% of readers who commented on my posts were critical of my Biblical Christian stance. In this day of highly charged rhetoric, it’s not surprising that those who read my posts in a favorable light did not comment, and those who were angered by my narrow-minded opinions were emboldened to lash out. 

Other Topics

  • Media (48 posts) – The media and its influence on America, viewed from a Biblical Christian perspective, is one of the two reasons our content exists. So, it is not surprising there are 48 posts that include this subject in some form. Since Medium tends to lean Progressive, approximately 70% of reader comments were critical of my mostly balanced views. Nearly all of my responses focused on reminding readers that BOTH sides (the Progressive and Conservative media) are failing our Nation, rather than just Conservative commentators, which my readers were so quick to point out. 
  • COVID (21 posts) – Of those who commented on this topic, approximately 80% were strongly pro-vax and pro-lockdowns. Most were critical of any consideration for free choice on masks or vaccinations. 
  • Abortion (22 posts) –Of those who commented, approximately 60-70% were strongly in favor of women’s right to choose. 
  • The Christian Founding of our Nation – BCW does have a specific article on this subject, which was never published on Medium. However, there were 5-6 articles published on Medium that touched on this subject. It was surprising to me that as little attention I had given it, there were many responses, all of which argued strongly, some with long historical references, that America was not founded by Christians nor with Christian principals. 

Overall

The above qualitative observations were written without consideration of the repercussions if generalized across our population. The sample size is so small and likely biased towards a more Progressive audience so I would prefer not to offer any summary insight on its validity if any. However, taken as a whole, and from my perspective, it confirms that America is a heavily divided nation regarding views on Politics, Religion, and other polarizing topics. As I have written many times, our lack of trust in the media, coupled with the explosion of news sources, has turned our nation into tribal groups that are being fed what they want to hear rather than a balanced and honest version of the truth. I do see some small trends that may be helping to turn that around, but they are too fragile and unclear at present to offer too much hope. Ultimately, our hope needs to rest in Jesus Christ. There is much work to be done in the harvest fields of America. 

This is a two part series. This first part has offered a summary of my experience responding to 500+ folks, mostly on the blog site, Medium. In the second part, I would like to offer an approach to communicating with those who have very different, and extreme points of view. It’s a method that has sadly been lost in our anonymous, social media based culture: civility.

Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org

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