Friday, November 24, 2023

So I've Been Listening to Christian Radio Again...


My journey through Premier Christian Radio continues.

“Me? Listening to Christian radio?” was something I never thought I’d say, if I can be honest, on the principal that it tends to be hopelessly out of touch and lame, where apologists lean back in their armchairs to participate in the theological equivalent of a circle jerk. But Premier Christian Radio, a British radio station, complete with a programming line and numerous non-Christian guests, continues to surprise me.

I’m listening to the “Unbelievable” podcast with Justin Brierley, which features guests of different faiths (or non-faiths) to discuss the differences between their views and Christianity. Typically these are dialogues, not debates, something that I think is important to distinguish. Each speaker shares their background, their faith, and throughout the discussion points of distinction arise. What I like about this model is that, if we assume that Christianity is the only path to God (ie. The “best” religion), then the orthodoxy and orthopraxy will speak for itself, and there’s no true purpose to developing an argument or debate.

The idea of wanting to mutually understand one another, I think, is something that is relatively new. In times gone by, resource scarcity motivated us, and there is something to be said about hope (namely, in the afterlife) being one such thing everyone contested. If person X said something that contradicted person Y’s metaphysical framework, the end result was a destabilization of an important resource to Y’s life. Today, our needs are mostly met by the institutions we have erected. (Perhaps this is why the marginalized have always been more orthodox than the middle and upper classes?) So our institutions lessen the blow when someone questions the source of our hope. In fact, most of us probably put our hope in things other than the metaphysical, whether intentional or unintentional.

As I write this on Black Friday, I’m reminded of a quote that I can’t rightly place where I heard it. “Where religion failed, capitalism took over.”

I suggest that the good feelings at Premier Christian Radio on the Unbelievable podcast are probably symptomatic of this overabundance of resources, metaphysical or otherwise. Or maybe the Existential has supplanted the Metaphysical? Christianity has always been offensive in some aspect, whether implied by Jesus’ claim of exclusivity or because of the misguided zeal of those too impatient to wait for the Holy Spirit to work on His own time. (This may be why most of the New Age guest speakers on Unbelievable insist that “it’s all the same thing,” because the full measure truth is too threatening and mired in the toxicity of institutionalized religion influencing geopolitics.) But few draw blood on the program, and it’s refreshing that Justin, the Christian moderator, is the one that endeavors to lead the conversations away from that. He even aspires to ask the hard questions of the Christian speakers, anticipating the objections an Atheist might raise. The argumentation, consistently made in good faith, is so rewarding as an American to hear, compared to the spiteful and, oftentimes, courtroom spirit of debate that I’m constantly exposed to in the USA.

At the end of the day, I remind myself once more that Christianity speaks for itself. It is Truth manifested through the Hope of the Resurrection of the Son of God. While Apologetics is important, and must be studied to acquire a “thinking faith,” the core of our hope comes from our relationship with God and how we talk to Him. And our Hope in God, evident by our actions and disposition, is the best evidence for Him we could wish to have. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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