Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bashed Potatoes?

“Bashing Christians.” I have heard that phrase now twice in as many days. What exactly must one do to “bash” a Christian?

The impression given is that we have run out of arguments; we have run out of debate; we have depleted all common courtesy. That all we have left is the ability to hurl unrelenting insults, with no basis. The image of a man, towering over his victim, and beating him with a stick over and over without cause.

Admittedly, I can be quite involved in my discussions on-line, and certainly suffer from arguing a topic about four posts too many. I am sure that a few people have walked away from me feeling a bit black-and-blue. But is that “bashing Christians?”

Is simply discussing Christianity from a skeptical point of view enough to achieve the label of “Bashing”? Why? A Christian is claiming to hold “Truth.” Not some minor, little “truth” like one falls if one steps off a cliff—rather some big “Truth” that was instituted by the very entity that created the concept of truth, created the language by which we can say truth, created the lips, the tongue, the ears and the mind by which each person who reads this understands immediately what I mean by “truth.”

You have God on your side! “If God is for you; who can be against you?” Rom. 8:31. Skepticism should not be feared—it should be welcomed! Every question and inquiry would give stronger demonstration of the viability of Christianity.

It seems rare, but once in a while I get a case where I hold truth. Every piece of evidence, every testimony, every inference falls directly in line with our theory of what happened. Every corner turned just gives greater justification, and more light on exactly what we propose.

I would LOVE to take those cases to trial! Oh, what fun to watch the story unfold exactly as I portrayed in my opening statement. “Please, please,” I beg my opponent, “Take this to trial. Ask any imaginable question you have. Show again and again how right I am.” They settle.

A Christian is claiming to have ten times that amount of truth on their side. While it may not be as clear-cut as a human civil lawsuit, at the least they should welcome the opportunity to display the strength of their arguments and how skepticism emphasizes how strong their case is. Enough to convince the skeptic to settle.

Yet with this immeasurable amount of truth by which the Christian claims to support their position—what do we see? “You skeptics are too hard. You ask for too high a burden of proof. You just want to bash Christians.” They act like this is some school board debate as to whether to charge a dollar more to see the Varsity Basketball games in order to pay for new uniforms.

As if this is just one of many debates in which one human attempts to persuade another. The best argument God is not on your side? The fact you don’t act like it.

So what exactly are we doing that is “bashing Christians”? Have you ever asked yourself that? Rather than a reflex response of “that is bashing Christians,” have you paused for a moment and wondered why the other person is saying what they are saying?

Isn’t a sign of being a Christian that the world should hate you? (John 15:18-25) I would think the conversation would be more like this:

Christian: Are you bashing me?
Non-Believer: No.
Christian: Nuts. Because a sign that I am doing it right is that you should hate me.
Non-Believer: Why should I hate you?
Christian: How I live should convict you of the sin in your life.

Christians are commanded to love each other. John 15:12. We are supposed to be able to pick you out because of your love for each other. John 13:35. And THAT is why a Christian should be bashed. Because you are showing us up on how well you are at this loving thing.

Is that what we are saying? Are Christians hearing, “Wow. You guys sure display a level of compassion and concern for each other that is far above anything a human could do.” We all know the phrase: “Christians are the only army at war in which the wounded are killed.”

We deconverts have been in church. We have been in ministries. For years. We know the level of “love” Christians display for each other. (If sarcasm was measured by grains of sand, there is not enough sarcasm in the universe to cover that last sentence.)

Why are Christians complaining about being bashed? This is key--Because they recognize that they are not being bashed for the right thing! We cannot pick out Christians by reviewing the list of charitable contributors. We cannot pick out Christians by how they treat their fellow humans. We cannot pick out Christians by what they drive, by what they buy, by the people they associate with.

They aren’t being bashed for being loving—they are being bashed for being hateful.

Oh, don’t get self-righteous and assume that simply because we do not care for your attempts to legislate morality, that you must be doing something correctly. You DO understand that the Pharisees portrayed in the New Testament were also attempting to legislate morality and equally were hated for it. Somehow I don’t see bashing them as being approval from the Christian God for what they were doing.

First of all—it isn’t bashing for us skeptics to question precepts that Christians are attempting to foster as truth. If it is, (and truth from a God!) any question should be welcomed and addressed—not avoided and complained about.

Secondly, if you are going to be bashed—how about being bashed for the thing that your Bible says you will be hated for—your morals! All the arguments in the world become unconvincing if you don’t act like you believe it, either. You want to convince me you have faith in God? Rather than buy the newest, fanciest car, use some of that money toward a monthly contribution to a local homeless shelter. Care for the poor, the orphans, the widows. Rather than watch football on Sunday afternoon on your Big Screen TV; go to a nursing home and watch it on a 13” black and white with a lonely grandparent.

Start showing such a love for each other that we all want in.

Stop complaining about bashing if you are being bashed for the right thing.

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