Why Are Conservatives Losing the Culture War?

Category: Culture Wars/Popular Culture 106

Brannon Howse, founder of Worldview Weekend, opens his book, Grave Influence, with the following words:

“We’ve lost the culture war. I wish I could tell you otherwise and go happily along with the many Christians who still think we can recapture America, return to our moral and spiritual roots, and revitalize our wayward institutions. But I can’t, and someone needs to tell you – loudly and clearly. My job is not to be optimistic or pessimistic but to be realistic.”

“When I say we’ve lost the culture war, what I mean is that we are not going to reclaim the culture in America and return to the days of June and Ward Cleaver. We won’t see a majority of the officials in legislative and judicial branches of our government go back to the original intent of America’s founding fathers as reflected in the U.S. Constitution and other original documents. We are not going to witness prayer, Bible reading, and [the] posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools again. There will be no drastic decline in divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and homosexual ‘marriage.’ The United Nations will not be eliminated. The undermining of our national sovereignty and parental authority will not be reversed. And we will not return to unlimited religious freedom.”

“Please understand I am not advocating that Christians retreat from the culture. I am asking Christians to stand for righteousness by defending the unborn, opposing same-sex marriage, fighting active euthanasia or the attacks on religious and parental authority – even if we know the laws and hearts of Americans resist our Biblical worldview.”[1]

Those are some powerful words. I think it should be obvious to any conservative Christian that we are losing the so-called “culture war,” and if Howse is correct, we have already lost. Homosexuality is gaining ground (just look at the latest news concerning gay marriage), there have been tens of millions of abortions over the past few decades, the Bible is constantly being mocked, and Christianity at large is always in the crosshairs. In fact, our culture has become so secular that even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, has openly mocked Scripture and even the teachings of Jesus. There has even been a study that shows that two-thirds of youth that attend church have rejected Christianity while in middle and high school, and not college as most believe.[2]

But why has this happened? Why are conservative Christian values constantly under attack, and why are we losing so many battles. Let’s take a look at what some of the leading conservative Christians have to say about the Bible.

What Conservatives Believe

The Telegraph reports the following concerning former President George W. Bush:

“’I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don’t think it’s incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution,’ he told ABC television. Asked whether the Bible was literally true, Mr. Bush replied: ‘probably not. No, I’m not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it.’ ‘The important lesson is “God sent a son,”’ he said.”

Another top conservative is John McCain. What does he think about evolution and Christianity? The Aspen Times reports the following:

“’I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view,’ he said. ‘I happen to believe in evolution. … I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not.’” [see here, here, and here for good reasons why Christians need to think twice about accepting evolution]

Then there is Bill O’Reilly, the popular television host on Fox News. O’Reilly got into a heated debate when he said that those who oppose gay marriage are thumping the Bible (see the video here). O’Reilly has also stated that the Gospels contradict themselves and that the Bible is allegorical. He criticized the belief in Adam and Eve, Noah, and Jonah. Concerning the thumping of the Bible comment, The Blaze reported the following:

“Reading one viewer’s email that said faith will always be linked to policy when it comes to opposing same-sex marriage and calling gay lifestyles a ‘sin,’ O’Reilly said it was a losing argument. ‘This is the crux of the matter: Your belief system is constitutionally protected and I respect it,’ he said. ‘But if you think you will influence any U.S. policy with a ‘sin’ analysis, you are misguided in the extreme. Want to stop your country from going down the drain? Fight smart.’”

The Problem with “Conservatives”

The reason why conservatives are losing the culture war can be seen in the reports mentioned above. President Bush, Senator McCain, and Mr. O’Reilly, (and many other “conservatives”) are the reason why conservative values and morals are being overturned in America. This can be clearly seen with O’Reilly. One of the oddest things about his remarks concerning the Bible is that after he finished saying that the Gospels contradict themselves he said, “and certainly the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, have been played down in this country.”

He doesn’t seem to realize that he had just “played down” the Scriptures with his comments. He and the others do not seem to realize that conservative beliefs are based on the Bible. If the Bible is not true, then conservative values fall apart. I have written about how the theory of evolution contradicts the teachings of Jesus, that God is either stupid or evil, and that it contradicts what Jesus, the Apostles, and the Prophets taught about heaven. Yet Mr. Bush, McCain, and O’Reilly believe that God used evolution.

By doing this they have compromised the foundation of the Gospel. One example is marriage. Jesus looked to Adam and Eve to teach about the union between man and woman (Matthew 19:1-12). If the book of Genesis is false, then what conservatives believe about marriage is also not true. If Jesus thought that Adam and Eve were real, but, in fact, they are only allegory like O’Reilly thinks, than Jesus was wrong. How can we trust him to save us if he was wrong on such a simple matter?

And it doesn’t stop here. What about abortion? Jeremiah 1:5 says that God knew Jeremiah before he was born. This clearly means that Jeremiah was a person before he was born. This quite naturally leads to the conclusion that abortion is wrong. But wait! According to our conservative friends that I quote above, the Bible contradicts itself, and is only a bunch of stories. If so, then how can we trust it? How can we trust the Bible for a teaching on abortion if we cannot trust Genesis, the Gospels or any part of the Scriptures?

What O’Reilly, and every other conservative who thinks like this, doesn’t understand is that conservative values are based on the Bible. Take that away and you only got a bunch of conservative opinions. If the Bible is false then we can believe whatever we want. Who cares if we are gay, kill babies, or do anything else? If the Bible is not the authority on truth, then we can decide truth for ourselves, unless you want to say that another religion’s holy book(s) is true.

If the Bible is not our authority, why not allow people to have more than one spouse? Why not extend abortion to babies outside the womb like Princeton Professor Peter Singer has taught? Why not allow sex with animals, or with close relatives?

It also has nothing to do with taking the Bible literally (like what Bush said). We are to interpret the Bible within its context, allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, and to respect the author’s original intent. It has nothing to do with literalism or even allegoricalism (that’s not a word, but I like it).

One last thing to consider: O’Reilly believes that we should not use the Bible when determining issues such as homosexuality. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that all policy on this issue (and others like it) is based on our religious views. Those who do not mind homosexuality are using their worldview to argue for it. So would O’Reilly tell them not to “thump atheism” (or whatever religion) when discussing this issue?

Here is the point of the matter: conservatives are losing the culture war because they have given up the very foundation of conservatism. Should we not be surprised that our culture has become so secular? We have removed the very reason not to be secular! Christians need to wake up and learn how to defend their faith. And if the culture does not listen, then ok. We are still to defend the Scriptures even if they do not listen. Jesus, Peter, and Paul did.


[1] Brannon Howse. Grave Influence (Collierville: Worldview Weekend Publishing, 2009). 7.

[2] Ken Ham & Britt Beemer. Already Gone (Green Forest: Master Books, 2009).

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