A New Fatalism

There is a trend that has been disturbing me for some time now and it's probably not really a trend at all. In fact, I know it's not. But it disturbs me now because I see it becoming more and more of a trend amongst those who claim to be followers of Christ.

It's fatalism, the belief in the inevitability of actions or circumstances. Let me explain with an example. The debate about the extent to which our children should be instructed in sex education is an argument rooted in fatalism: Kids are going to have sex so we must equip them with knowledge and protection. Do you see the angle there? Kids are going to have sex, period. We know it, it's unavoidable. Therefore, we must avoid archaic abstinence education and focus on prevention of unwanted pregnancies and STD's. It doesn't matter the percentages of how many teenagers do or don't have sex in such an argument. If you dissent and say that not all kids will or that same actually want to wait until marriage then you aren't being realistic.

This type of thinking creeps into the heart of Christians as well. Have you ever heard phrases like these:

Kids are going to party - they are going to drink - so why not just prepare yourself for it and pray that they learn from it?
We all have urges and they are too strong to deny. As long as I'm careful I'll be okay.
We're in love and we're going to be married anyway. Why should we wait?
You only live once. If you don't "sow your oats" now you may never get it out of your system.

The list goes on and on. The mindset behind statements like these is that certain choices we make aren't really choices - they are inevitable. So why not give in, learn from them, and then move on? But do you see what's missing here?

If you are a follower of Christ you do have a choice and that's because you have the power of the Holy Spirit. Fatalism is incompatible with faith in Christ. To say that an action is inevitable is to say to God, "You aren't powerful enough to deliver me from this temptation." God answers this thought with a powerful word of His own:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless." (Isaiah 40:28-29)

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