Daily Archives: June 4, 2012

Answering the Contrarian, part 2: How not to Evangleize

In this article, a netizen going by “the Contrarian” presents a seriously distorted view of the gospel.  After that, he helpfully tells us Christians how not to evangelize him:

Don’t come to me telling me that you are different from ‘other’ christians, and that you represent a god of love, and that you are peaceful, intelligent and worthy of having your beliefs propagated into the legal and education system of the land. You are the very definition of a fundamentalist, and like the proverbial village idiot; you cannot see what is wrong with you, or why others think you’re nuts. !

First, I’d proudly say I’m different from other Christians.  For example:

  • I never say “Oh my God!” as an expletive.  One of the Christians I work with at a youth ministry co-op, however, uses it liberally.
  • My pastor has, in three different sermons, condemned the TV show The Big Bang Theory as something no Christian should watch.  I, however, watch it almost every night.
  • I’ve condemned gay marriage on this blog numerous times in the past.  However, I know of committed Christians who are openly homosexual.
  • I believe God is absolutely sovereign, and has planned and purposed reality to a certain end.  However, open theists (like John Sanders) believe that God has done no such thing; and in fact cannot predict the actions of humans by virtue of our free agency.

I’d never say that I represent a God of love.  The God I represent is love.

I’m peaceful.  Prove otherwise.

I’m intelligent.  People who know me know that I’m the kind of person who knows a little bit about almost everything.

As for having my beliefs propagated into the legal system, I’m afraid that many of them already are:

  1. Social programs (especially Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security) take care of “Honor your father and mother” (Ex 20:12) and they also pay homage to Deuteronomy 15:7-9.
  2. Murder (Ex 20:13) is a capital crime in most states.
  3. Theft of any sort is illegal (Ex 20:15).
  4. Perjury, obstruction of justice, and other sorts of misdirection while investigating or prosecuting a criminal case are all illegal (Ex 20:16).

Other examples could be found, but I think I’ve made my point.

Now to be charitable to the Contrarian, he’s likely referring to proposed laws to eliminate gay marriage, or laws that interfere with him buying liquor on Sundays.  He thinks that such laws are religious nonsense and have no place in a secular society.  Worse, he thinks these laws are self-evident religious nonsense; that everyone should take his word for it because “it’s obvious.”

To wit, I’d like for him to find “No alcohol sales on Sunday” in the Bible.  It isn’t there.  The only so-called blue laws still on the books are sales of alcoholic beverages, probably retained out of tradition and convenience.

You can’t legislate morality, and the Bible isn’t written with the assumption that you can.  In fact, most of the New Testament assumes the law of the land will be hostile to Christian practice — a tide that is headed this way in the United States, especially where our practice forbids gay marriage.

I agree with anyone who says gay marriage is a non-issue.  It shouldn’t be an issue at all, because it is not marriage.  Marriage is always between a man and a woman.  Variations exist (one man, many women; one woman, many men; varying numbers of men and women), but both genders always participate.

As to my beliefs being placed in the education system of the land, why not?  The atheist beliefs already are, and with quite a lot of force.  Why can mine not be shown as an alternative?  We can give fair time to other religions as well — I’m okay with that because I believe that truth always wins out.

What is the atheist scared of?  If what he offers is truth, will that not win out?  Or does the atheist think when offered a choice between religious myth and scientific truth, that religious myth always wins and society will remain unenlightened?

If so, maybe religious “myth” is true, because it is winning out!

Moving on, the Contrarian writes:

Don’t come here claiming that you are a ‘good’ or a ‘real’ christian. The better and more real a christian you are, the more inhuman, amoral, sick and twisted you are. You are a bloodthirsty beast with an inflated ego because you think your skydaddy is real and will vindicate you shortly. Dream on! If that is what sustains you, if that is what gives you purpose, then nothing in this physical world is violent, torturous, absolute, sick and offensive enough to satiate your wicked mind and your black heart!

I’m not good.  None of us are.  That’s the reason we need a Savior.  I’m not even a good Christian!  I fail all the time.

The Contrarian is going to have to expound on why a “better and more real” Christian is “inhuman, amoral, sick, and twisted.”  I don’t see it that way.  The marks of the Christian, according to the apostle Paul, are:

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:10-21)

That’s “inhuman, amoral, sick, and twisted”?  If the Contrarian’s ideal person behaves the opposite of that, then I don’t want to live in his world.

Of course, all the best bloodthirsty beasts with inflated egos try to outdo everyone showing honor, bless people who persecute them, overcome evil with good, and live peaceable with everyone as much as it depends on them.  That is why people call them “bloodthirsty beasts” — because they are so peaceable with others and easy to get along with.

The Contrarian says, “I’ll take the exploding dot and the swamp water into humans story any day!”  Why?  Simple: it makes him the star.  In this story, there is no good or evil.  He is a slave to his nature, as he would be in Christianity, but that nature is neither good nor evil because it cannot be (by definition).  Therefore, he doesn’t have to face judgment for being who he is.

Theism isn’t the crutch.  Atheism is — atheism is comfortable because there is no ultimate accountability.  Which brings us back to my (apparently sick, in the Contrarian’s eyes) belief that God is real and will vindicate me shortly.

Vindicate me for what, exactly?

The world has wronged God, not me.  He will vindicate himself and take his wrath on the wicked — those who persist in their unbelief in his Son.  I deserve every bit of that wrath as well, but I have been protected by the blood of my Savior.  It’s nothing I did to get to heaven.  And I will not rejoice over the lost.

If this is the Contrarian’s understanding of the gospel, then no wonder he’s an atheist.  That’s as distorted as it gets.  He needs to buckle back down and read that Book he despises so much.  Only this time, maybe he should take the time to understand it.