June 26, 2007

During my trip to Massachusetts I found myself having to endure once again the ridicule and brickbats of so-called ‘well-meaning’ (at least I hope so) friends and co-workers who have felt the need to engage me in debating the fundamental beliefs of my Christian faith. Whether it has been directing me to certain Internet websites (how’s that for an authoritative source!), or discussing the relative merits of Dan Brown’s foolish piece of crap, The Da Vinci Code, or putting forth once more the tired (and, in my view) intellectually bankrupt argument that if science can’t prove Jesus existed, then He obviously couldn’t have, it’s just one of those things Christians often find themselves having to face in an increasingly secular and anti-Christian society. Along these very lines, a few thoughts come to mind:

1) I often wonder why so-called ‘non-believers’, be they athiests or agnostics, feel such a need to debate, ridicule, and/or criticize someone’s faith when that person’s belief does them or serves them no harm. I’ve never felt the need to criticize, debate, or condemn anyone who isn’t a believer; I wonder why they feel it necessary to do so with me? Perhaps I’m just approachable. Or unafraid to wear my faith on my sleeve.

Want to know what I think? I think deep down many who are so quick to ridicule, or feel the need to debate, Christianity are deep-down afraid – afraid that there might very well be such a figure as Jesus Christ, and Heaven and Hell, and Judgment, and a moral code of ethics that comes with the teachings of organized religion, and that the very prospect of such is so threatening to non-believers that they feel the need to somehow reassure themselves of the ‘rightness’ of their beliefs by seeking to debate the issue time and again with believers.

2) To use science as a basis for discounting anything and everything associated with Christianity is, on its face, both asinine and ignorant. Science only knows what science knows at any given point in history. During Columbus’ day, science taught that the world was flat. Until amazing discoveries in the field of biology and medicine, science’s conventional wisdom treated people with bleedings and leeches and amputations, because it didn’t know better. To say that if you can’t see it, you can’t prove it existed (as in, for example, Jesus’ existence and resurrection) is, in effect, to say that anything that never left any kind of a trace that can be quantified in some way could never have existed.

Such a stance is both laughable and absurd. How can you quantify or measure love? Or passion? Or empathy? Or hatred? You can measure symptoms or the by-products of those things, but they in and of themselves cannot be measured. The same holds true for those civilizations and people and kings and cultures that we know very little about; nevertheless their very existence is understood to have taken place, even by science. Both Jewish and Roman historians provide evidence of Jesus’ existence and the existence of the movement he founded; again, one wonders if the prospect of such a figure having existed might be frightening and intimdating to those who were not raised in the Christian tradition or did and have rejected it.

3) The whole argument that Christianity is some by-product of the figment of someone’s vivid imagination is, on it’s face, an indication of the ignorance people have when it comes to human history, culture, and communication – in Christianity’s case, in the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Those who try to imprint their understanding of Christianity from a 20th century perspective is like me trying to tell a nuclear physicist that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The fact is, unless you have a real understanding of the way the ancient Greeks and Romans communicated and passed history down from one generation to another, you’re speaking nonsense. If you hate Christians and Christianity for some basic and fundamental reason, that’s fine – but if you’re going to discount it from a real and historical perspective, at least understand where and how it came about so at least you’re not talking out of your ass.

4) In the end, one’s religion comes down to faith. You can’t rationalize or quantify it, but you can live it before God and in the presence of others. I have confidence in my faith. I believe I have been touched by the hand of God several times in my life, and I have also seen face to face the presence of Satan and all his lies, distortions, and temptations. Does it make me perfect? Of course not. Does it make me qualified to judge others? Absolutely not. But I do know from my experiences and the teachings of my faith that those who knowingly and willingly work against the Cross of Jesus Christ in their lives and in the lives of others live with their souls at risk and in a very present and real danger from the Evil One.

5) People love to criticize the Church, as if somehow just because people are Christians they’re supposed to somehow be immune to the trials and temptations of life. The Church has made a lot of mistakes over the millennia, and I’m not going to defend it in the many areas in which it has gone astray. All I wll say is that the Church has done a lot of good in the world, and that, when all is said and done, the world has been better off for it. Another thought: if the Church’s teachings are so abhorrent and their faithful so misguided, why do athiests and agnostics feel the need to compare the way they go about and live their lives against the teachings of the Church? To you athiests and agnostics out there, I say, go find yourselves your own moral code to live your lives by (more on that another time).

So here’s where I stand on all this – bottom line: I’m done debating my faith with friends and co-workers. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, pure and simple, unabashed and unashamed. You feel the need to argue Christianity with someone? Go find another patsy. But do yourself a favor – before you do, try attending church on a regular basis or do some reading – serious reading – on the Church and its history and beliefs ahead of time. To do otherwise deflates your whole position and makes you sound foolish, petty, and ignorant. Of couse, if an argument is what you want, an argument is what you’ll get. But it won’t be pretty, and it won’t be fought with one hand tied behind my back anymore. I’ve tried to be nice. I’ve tried to be understanding; but now you’re on your own. Good luck.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (4)
  1. Dear Doug,

    Interesting blog! I disagree with your review of “The DaVinci Code” as a “foolish piece of crap.” I do not understand why there was such a hullabaloo about it. It is a novel–a fictional piece of work. It is not a great work of art but it is a fast paced fun suspense novel. I greatly enjoyed reading it. It is a book written to entertain and I think it does that very well.

    I have never been challenged about being a Christian. Most of my discussions have been with fellow Christians and disagreements have centered on differing theological beliefs.
    I hope that you have lots of friends who share your faith and encourage you. Peace, Dona

    Comment by Dona — June 26, 2007 @ 4:12 am

  2. Next time someone questions your faith, ask them if they believe in gravity. If they say yes, ask them to fully explain it. Not many people can. Then say, “You believe in gravity, but you can’t explain it!”
    As Paul says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Comment by Pete — June 26, 2007 @ 10:15 am

  3. I can agree with Dona and disagree at the same time. The DaVinci Code was not a piece of crap. It IS a novel, true, but it is also a novel based on (some) supressed historical facts. Remember, history is written by the winners, and Christianity won. Now, do you think that the Christian leaders of that time are going to want to write about everything that happened, exactly as it happened, or do you think that the Christian leaders of that time are going to write about themselves and their religion in the most favorable light?

    What makes them so different from the winners of today?

    Your faith (and mine) should be able to take a couple of hits to the chin every so often, even if those hits may expose our cherished beliefs about those that may have occupied this earth as different than what the winners may have written. I can still choose to believe that there is a God, even if I also may believe that not everyone associated with early Christianity was as the Bible depicted them to be.

    The Bible is a noble document of faith, but a questionable document of history. Some may disagree with me, but I believe that I have been given the gift of independent thought so that I can make informed decisions about what I choose to believe in.

    I can believe in devine inspiration without the Cecil B. DeMille designed information.

    Comment by Dave Richard — June 26, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone. This post was designed to stir controversy and opinion, and I’m glad it did! After all, you can’t be blogging about bunnies, Beach Boys and brewskies all the time, otherwise we risk turning into Paris Hilton robots, endlessly entering and exiting the jails of our own metaphysical domains and limitations. And that’s something this dude’ll never do!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — June 26, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

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