Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest Post - Christianity's Worst Enemy

Some time ago I was asked on Twitter what evidence I felt made the best case in favour of Christianity. In the same tweet I was asked what presented the strongest evidence against the faith. Mindful of the character limit I answered both questions the same: Some Christians I've met.

I've given perhaps undue focus to those who represent Christianity badly. This is not intended as a tirade against believers; flicking through my past issues I see a preponderance of faith healers and attackers of science. I think it's important to debunk these, but I'm starting to realise that this blog presents a jaundiced view of Christians in general.

With that in mind I'm happy to announce my second Christian guest post. I offered Roger the opportunity to write about the subject of his choice. He could have chosen to evangelise. He could have written counters to any number of posts I've written. He could have turned his focus on atheists in general: we are not flawless. Instead he took the opportunity to examine those who profess Christianity.

Roger says that there are few further apart than he and I on the spectra of religion, politics and societal matters. It is true, and that is why I enjoy our conversations - when we cease to disagree it means only that we have nothing left to learn from each other.

I hope you enjoy his post. Do consider following him on Twitter and checking out his blog.

First let me express my gratitude to Geoff for this opportunity. I have only ‘known’ Geoff for a short time, but have grown to value his gracious and gentlemanly spirit and count him as a ‘friend’ already. I once said that I think there are very few things that Geoff and I would agree on, but I have enjoyed discussing the issues we have discussed.

You see, I am a Christian. I am not just a ‘Christian’ in the generic sense of the word but I am one of those ‘evangelical, born-again, Bible believing’ Christians. I doubt there are very many people who could be farther apart on the religious/political/social spectrum than Geoff and me.

However, as a Christian I find my views, opinions, ideas, and philosophy becoming less and less popular and less and less respected. I sometimes wonder why that is the case. I wonder where the opposition comes from and, in my mind often wonder where the greatest opposition comes from. In other words, what is Christianity’s worst enemy?

I am old enough to remember changes in that answer. Through the years I would have answered with some or all of the following. Obviously this is not meant to be an inclusive list

Drugs and drink

…and even atheism.

However, as the years have passed I think our worst enemy is, well, as a Twitter follower put it this week, Christians. Pogo, from the American comic strip by the same name, put it so well when he said, ‘we have met the enemy, and he is us.’

Let me clarify. What I mean by that is that I think our worst enemy is non-christian Christians.

What do I mean by non-christian Christian? I mean people who claim the name of Christ, but ignore His teaching. Jesus summarised what is expected of Christians with a few simple words – ‘love the Lord your God with all your might and all your soul and all your strength and love your neighbour like yourself.’ In others words ‘love God and love other people.’

I find love sadly lacking in many supposed Christians. I could take the time to condemn the obvious ‘christian’ hate groups, but my thoughts were drawn to this idea by a comment when Geoff mistakenly identified me with a particular pro-life group (thanks for the apology by the way Geoff).

Because space is limited I think I will just deal with one issue. Abortion is all over the news now so I just want to pause and discuss how some ‘christians’ deal with the abortion debate. . I am unabashedly and strongly pro-life. However I disagree with a lot of what is done by ‘christians’ in the name of pro-life.

I have problems with Christians who oppose abortion, but have no concern for a woman who finds herself with an unexpected pregnancy. I have problems with people who tell a young teenager that she has to ‘keep her baby’ but never help her find an alternative to abortion. I have a problem with people who claim to be pro-life but demean women by calling them ‘baby killers’ or ‘murderers.’ Yes, I believe that every life is sacred. I believe that every child in the womb deserves a shot at life. But I don’t believe in the way that many ‘christian groups’ deal with the dilemma.

When it comes to abortion I could not disagree more with those who find it acceptable to abort a child in the womb. I hate that thought. But I don’t have to hate the person who holds that view. My vitriolic pro-life rhetoric and slogans are going to do nothing but embitter those who disagree with me. People and groups who use hateful speech and show no compassion do more than anyone to harm the Christian pro-life movement. In my mind these are our greatest enemy.

How am I going to deal with the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate? I am going to express my views and opinions. I am going to stand up for what I believe. But all the while I am going to strive to ‘love God and love people.’ That means all people, both those in the womb and outside the womb.

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