How to Win the Culture War

CHARLES COLSON

Anybody familiar with my writings knows that I am passionate about teaching people to see Christianity as a worldview, an explanation of all of life.

As Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper put it, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ . . . does not cry: ‘Mine!’” That includes politics.

Over the years our Wilberforce Forum has devoted much time to teaching biblical worldview to members of Congress. Through our Capitol Hill lecture series, congressmen hear some of the best Christian minds in the country discussing everything from stem-cell research to economics to business ethics. This teaching pays off richly, as I recently discovered while having coffee with one congressman.

This Christian lawmaker has been profoundly influenced by our teaching. During the Terri Schiavo episode, he championed the cause of keeping Terri alive, drawing much heat in his congressional district.

One day a medical school in his home state invited this congressman to defend his position. The crowd was so hostile that he decided to forego his speech and simply answer questions — a smart tactic.

The congressman allowed the opposition to “vent” about the government “interfering” with medical decisions. And then he responded by saying, “Let me straighten one thing out. Terri Schiavo was not on life support. What was done in her case was simply to remove a feeding tube. Whatever state she was in, she was simply being fed.” He then asked if anyone questioned that. No one did.


One day a medical school in his home state invited this congressman to defend his position. The crowd was so hostile that he decided to forego his speech and simply answer questions — a smart tactic.


The congressman then drew on arguments he had heard from Princeton professor Robert George and University of Texas professor J. Budziszewski, both speakers in our lecture series. He told the angry crowd that nearby there was a nursing home for people who could not feed themselves; for various reasons two hundred people had to be spoon-fed. The congressman then asked if the audience would object if the nursing home decided to stop feeding them. Should the government step in and force it to feed the patients? Absolute silence: Not a single person spoke.

The congressman’s arguments got around, and much of the opposition to his position was diffused.

I was thrilled to hear this story because it is a good example of how a Christian worldview, when understood and argued winsomely, can change the debate. You and I must learn how to do this, because the issues are not going to go away. A few weeks ago, a Colorado woman named Christa Lilly woke up after being in a coma for six years. This case, and others like it, indicates that people who appear to be in a persistent, vegetative state may not be.

There is huge pressure from health-care providers to simply euthanize people like Christa and Terri Schiavo — people whose care is costly. Christians must learn to make rational and accessible arguments that all life must be respected.

Samuel Huntington, a professor at Harvard, has said that the world is divided not so much by geographical boundaries as by differences in ultimate beliefs — in worldviews. He is absolutely right. The task for us is to identify those worldviews and to winsomely demonstrate that the Christian worldview, supported by reason and evidence, is the only one that can be rationally sustained.

For Further Reading and Information

Purchase the “Contours of a Christian Worldview” Capitol Hill lecture series CD set.

Moral Issues We Wish Would Go Away” — lecture by Dr. J. Budziszewski.

BreakPoint Commentary No. 040326, “Lectures on the Hill: A Victory for Academic Freedom.”

BreakPoint Commentary No. 040512, “From Prisons to Politics: Where Worldview Takes Us.”

BreakPoint Commentary No. 060524, “Michael’s World: A Dangerous Place to Be.”

Christa Lilly Awoke,” Blogs for Terri, 9 March 2007.

Wesley J. Smith, “Christa Lilly Has Relapsed into Seeming Unconsciousness,” Secondhand Smoke blog, 8 March 2007.

Erin Emery and Karen Auge, “Woman Awakes after 6-Year Coma, Slips Back,” Denver Post, 8 March 2007.

Kim North Shine, “Brain Injury Survivors Strengthen Each Other,” Detroit Free Press, 1 April 2007.

Learn more about the new Wide Angle worldview curriculum and how you can purchase it. Call 1-877-322-5527.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Charles Colson. "Battle Strategies: How to Win the Culture War." BreakPoint Commentary April 3, 2007.

From BreakPoint ® (3/04/2007), Copyright 2000, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, D.C. 20041-0500. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint ®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries ®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

THE AUTHOR

Charles Colson launched Prison Fellowship in 1976, following a seven-month prison sentence for Watergate-related crimes. Since then, Prison Fellowship has flourished into a U.S. ministry of 50,000 volunteers and has spread to more then 50 countries. Beyond his prison ministry, Colson is a Christian author, speaker, and commentator, who regularly confronts contemporary values from a biblically informed perspective. His "BreakPoint" radio commentaries now air daily across the U.S. and he has written 14 books, including God & Government, Loving God, Answers to Your Kids' Questions, The Line Between Right & Wrong: Developing a Personal Code of Ethics, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages, and How Now Shall We Live: A Study Guide.

Copyright © 2007 Breakpoint



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