Thursday, 12 May 2011
I used to waste countless hours of my life arguing with atheists (and others) who didn't agree with what I had to say about Christianity. It turned out that all along, I was more in love with being right than I was in love with God and others. When I came to that realization, I began to listen to what others had to say. I eventually got the hang of treating others the way I'd like to be treated and actually started acting out of love, rather than fear.
To me, it seems safe to assume that that is the reason we tend to go on the defense and bicker rather than have a nice mellow discussion: fear. The idea that atheists have opinions that differ from Christians drives many Christians insane. Of course, I can't pick on the Christians alone, because many atheists (of new atheism in particular) fear that religion is a terrible thing for our world because it promotes ignorance, encourages delusion, causes war, and discourages human progress. Something I, being a Christian, definitely don't agree with.
Religious differences aside, I believe it's possible for all parties to get along. Many atheists have told me that they respect me and my opinions. And this is not to boast. To some Christians, it's because I give a little too much credit to atheism, I don't shove their sin in their face, and I don't stick up for God when He's being put down. That's not the way I see it, though. I believe that God is revealed through others. God chose those who believe in Christ to show the world that Jesus is still alive, and that the proof is living in us. Some will see it, but some won't see it. When there are those that won't see it though, we have two options.
- Be patient
I feel like too many people choose to fight rather than be patient and let the Word of God speak for Himself. Eventually, He will- even if some are deaf to it.
One thing I feel like we have to remember is that it's one thing to answer a question. It's a completely different thing to be quick to tear down the views of others that they've spent so much time and effort building up to begin with. This is why everyone tends to go on the defense.
I'm reminded of the story told in Luke 9 when Jesus sent his disciples out to minister in pairs. He told them that if someone welcomes them, then to stay in their house. If the town does not welcome them, then they were to dust off their feet and move on. I think we can learn from that. There will always be ones who are willing to receive the Word God has sent us to teach. Others, on the other hand, will not receive it, no matter what you do. We can't force people to believe, even if what we believe in has totally changed us, reshaped us, and currently motivates us. Arguing will not get us anywhere. In fact, it distances us from each other. A good work is being done when an atheist accepts a Christian. It's reversed when a Christian attacks an atheist's position. These matters could and should be handled in love and understanding.
Christians love seeing others come to Christ. However, it is important to see that atheism offers Christianity something that nothing else can: evidence that God loves us. He allows us to have the option to follow and obey Him, or turn our backs on Him. This is true freedom. Freedom shows God's love.
One last thing. How we react will show what we reflect. When talking with others, are we revealing the kingdom of God, or are we serving ourselves and our own selfishness? This is a good question to meditate on.