... casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 10:5, New King James Version).
"You can't bring your religious 'opinion' into the debate! Religion is a personal and private matter." Have you ever heard that said by anyone? Most likely you have one time or another. It seems to be a common sentiment among many people today, including some Christians. They are of the opinion that neither God (read: the Christian's God) nor His Word has any place outside of the home and church. Those Christians that do dare bring their religion into the "public square" are quickly ridiculed and accused of pushing their morality down other people's throats. In fact this latter attitude is so prevalent in society today that it has effectively silenced many Christians from speaking to cultural issues and, therefore, has left the God of the Bible out of moral and ethical issues. Can religion and everyday life be divorced?
The Christian cannot divorce religion from his life or life's matters. To him everything is "religious" because the God of the Bible is the center and controller/owner of all of life ( Psalm 24:1). The Scriptures remind us that "in Him we live and move and have our being" ( Acts 17:28a). This means that everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, is dependent upon God whether he acknowledges it or not. This also means that life is to be centered on Him and what He has to say in His Word. As well, the Apostle Paul told the believers in Corinth to strive to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" ( 2 Corinthians 10:5). Therefore, the Christian's thinking (as well as his speaking and acting) is to be brought into conformity with the "all things" of Christ and His Law/Word, the Bible. He is to strive to think God's thoughts after Him (see Isaiah 55:8-9 where our Lord rebukes Israel fornot doing just that). As a result the true Christian cannot even enter into a conversation with a neighbor without having Christ give meaning to that conversation. Even our everyday things like eating and drinking are to be done with the goal of giving glory to God through Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
To ask us, as Christians, to leave religion out of public life is the same thing as to ask us not to breathe. Because I am a Christian I cannot leave my religion at home or church. Neither can you, if you espouse the name of Christ. Everything is religious. God, as the Creator of heaven and earth, is the Definer of all things; so man is to derive meaning from Him. Without God in the picture even meaning is meaningless.
The sad fact is that our society, by leaving God and His Word out of the Public Square and cultural issues, is quickly deteriorating. Society cannot survive when it strives to privatize morality and keep God silent. A philosophy that claims that religion and morality (especially the Christian religion and morality) are irrelevant for social order is suicidal. That is why Christians have to "live out" their faith and religion. They know that God speaks to issues, both private and public. Whether those issues are about abortion, homosexuality, economics, welfare, or whatever, God and His Word have something to say. Any person or any society that refuses to listen does so to his or its own destruction. You see, the true fact is that every society and its law order is deeply religious. Either it acts as if it is "a god" or it acknowledges that there is only one God to whom it is accountable. One way leads to moral and ethical decay and eventually destruction. The other way leads to maturity and blessing.
Therefore, the Christian that strives to bring "every thought captive" (and every Christian is instructed to do so) must bring religion to all matters of life – both in private and in the public square – for he has no other alternative. Indeed, he knows that this is true religion in practice and is the only hope for individuals and society as a whole. Is your thinking being led captive?