So while many young Christians have rejected the notion of sex as negative or shameful, there is a significant divide in the way in which their pastors are addressing the issue. Many of the hipster churches I’ve reported on across the country have adopted an attitude similar to Monts’. They don’t necessarily condone sex before marriage, but they’re also not going make a performance of telling you (that God says) to wait. It is, in many ways, analogous to their softer-sell approach to evangelizing: Jesus loves you, and Jesus died for you, but we’re not going to hit you over the head with it.
To be clear, not only is Easter not about Jesus’ “resurrection into heaven,” Christians don’t believe Jesus “resurrected into heaven” period. There are some ancient creeds that could be quickly accessed (for those who have never heard them) that explain all this. Those creeds confess Christ’s ascension into heaven, not “resurrection.”
The difference between the two polls shows a 13 percentage point drop in the number of Americans who believe that Christ rose from the dead, since last Easter. Additionally, this year’s poll found that 19% of Americans reject the central tenet of the Christian faith and do not believe that Christ was resurrected. That’s compared to only 7% who said they didn’t believe that Christ rose from the dead a year ago. A staggering 12 percentage point jump.
Dostoevsky, believe it or not, actually valued life and wanted to live it more fully. He sought to realize his own purpose and function, and then share his findings. He believed that just because we can’t know everything about our existence and the on-going tale of humanity does not mean we cannot know anything. Nearly all of us say we want to find answers, but most prematurely resign from the hunt.
Martin, a confessed agnostic who nonetheless uses religion as a central plot element throughout his books, asserts he holds a “realistic” view of human beings. For Martin, realistic means his characters are complex, “gray,” and morally ambiguous. There are no heroes in Martin’s books like there are in The Lord of the Rings. There is no echo of Calvin’s description of human beings as “glorious ruins”—broken, but still able to bear the Image of God. Martin’s image focuses on the ruin, not the glory.