A few days ago I flew with my wife and daughter to visit family in another state. The plane ride was a bit bumpy and took about 15 minutes longer than scheduled. When we finally arrived at our destination and were preparing to exit the aircraft, the pilot made an announcement. He apologized for the bumpy ride and casually said “Mother Nature did not cooperate with us today.”
I am sure that the pilot was just trying to be jovial about the ride, but it did make me wonder about the religious implications of his statement. Mother Nature is a modern adaptation of an ancient pagan god. Reference to the true God, Yahweh, whose story is found in both the Jewish and Christian scriptures, has slowly been removed from American life. This slow removal of references to God has been calculated and planned by those who do not follow the Judeo-Christian God. Yet somehow it is still okay to invoke the name of a pagan god and give that god credit for controlling something as powerful as the weather.
To be fair to the pilot, I’m sure he did not intend to “convert” anyone to a pagan religion. He may even have been a Christian himself. Seventy-six percent of Americans claim allegiance to the Christian faith, so the odds are good that he is indeed a Christian. But my point is that it has become so easy for people to cast aside public references to a faith that has inspired us, comforted us, motivated us and united us for generations and instead embrace concepts and ideas that most people in our society would consider empty and meaningless. And yet that is exactly what most Americans have done. We have let our religious convictions be taken away from us and replaced conviction with empty euphemisms. No wonder we have so many problems in our society!
If we hope to pass our faith on to the next generation, parents need to reinsert Christian concepts, phrases and deep felt religious conviction into discussions with their children. Christians should feel free to use similar terms and phrases in casual conversations with others. I am not suggesting that we swing a big King James Bible in the air and attack those who disagree with us. But a simple, “God bless you,” or “Merry Christmas,” or “I’m praying for you,” should clearly be acceptable in a nation that is as religious as ours. After all, no one threatened to sue the pilot when he gave Mother Nature credit. No one threatened to fire him. To my knowledge, no one on the plane was offended enough to write a mean spirited letter to the home office about his reference to a pagan deity. So why would anyone suggest any of those actions would be needed if he had invoked the name of Jesus Christ instead? Our children deserve to hear about the God of the Bible in common references in everyday life. The freedom to do so is vital in passing our faith on to the next generation and is an essential part of what it means to be an American.