Friday, November 28, 2008

An Objection to Christianity (Part 2)

We continue our look at president-elect Obama's quote:

(1)“I'm a big believer in tolerance . . . I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding . . . (2)there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty . . . (3)I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. (4)There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell . . . I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That's just not part of my religious makeup.”

Let's look at the phrase "there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty." The twentieth century was the bloodiest century in human history. More people died in wars in the twentieth century than all the other centuries combined. And yet, none of the world wars of the twentieth century were religious conflicts. In fact, one could argue that World War II was a result of the secular ideologies of evolution (survival of the fittest) and nihilism as nations like Germany applied such atheistic thinking to the human race.

There is nothing inherent in the Christian faith that would lead to war. In fact, the Bible calls on us to put to death by the Spirit those desires that lead to war, things like envy, greed, and hatred. James 4:1-4 says:

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

The next objection to Christianity is stated this way: "I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize."

Here I just want to say to such "sensitive" souls, who find the attempts of Christians to persuade others that Jesus Christ is Lord offensive, learn to turn the channel! Persuasion is not compulsion! It is absurd to be upset because someone is trying to persuade someone else of the truth of their position, especially in a country that purportedly believes in free speech.

Could it be that the people who are offended at even the attempt of anyone to evangelize are really troubled by a guilty conscience? Could it be that some don't want to hear about sin and grace because deep down they know that they are sinners, who are not right with God?

Even if this is not the case, it is simply the way God created us that we try to persuade others about the things we are passionate about and believe to be true. Parents counsel their children. Educators educate. Advertisers advertise. Politicians seek votes. Postmoderns try to convince us of the truth that there is no truth! And, Christians believe the One who is the truth, who saves us from sin and God's judgment, and because of love speak of the One who can save us from the coming judgment. Why is that offensive? Why is that a threat to anyone?

Next time we will deal with the final part of Barack Obama's statement.

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