If you were walking on a pier and looked down to see someone obviously in distress, would you throw them a life preserver? Would you try to get someone to help them? Or would you keep to your own business? If you were in a car with someone and they turned the wrong way down a one way street, would you point it out to them? If you saw a movie that you really enjoyed, wouldn't you tell a friend? If you found a medicine that cured a disease you've struggled with all of your life, wouldn't you want to tell everyone else who is suffering from that condition? If you saw a parent beating a child in the store, what would you do? The word "evangelism" comes from the Greek for "Good News." At its best, the evangelistic movement in Christianity is just that: sharing good news. "This is what works for me, it might work for you."To the reader's credit, he does acknowledge the arrogance in this attitude. If the reader quietly used the sharing of good news approach with me, I'd be open and willing to have that conversation. And I believe that a great many Christians would approach me in this way. The problem I've had, throughout my adult life, is that there is an underlying belief that the way I believe is wrong and will result in my spending eternity in hell. So the discussion takes on a sense of urgency, or worse, of judgment that I'm inferior. Because of that experience, I admit to having my guard up against proselytization. I admit that I am defensive against anyone who thinks his belief system is more spiritual, more enlightened, or more perfect, than my own. The reader wants non-believers to make Christians compete in the world of ideas. The trouble is, religion isn't an idea, or at least a grounded, rational one. Religion is based on irrational, emotional, and uncertain things like faith. Anyone who views his faith as anything except something personal, subject to doubt, and incomplete is not a person of faith. He is a spiritual bully.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Overdue Response to Reader
I missed this in the reader comments for this post: