The Friendly Atheist, Part 2

March 13, 2007

church / politics

Clearly, most churches have aligned themselves against non-religious people. By adopting this stance, Christians have turned off the people I would think they want to connect with.

To return to the ideas presented by the friendly atheist, this is the first statement of several that I want to look into. It’s no secret to anyone, I don’t think, that this man is absolutely correct in the above statement. I won’t be attempting to argue with the points he has presented, but rather to take them to heart. I want to warn myself, at least, in the hopes that I won’t forget the heart of God. The issue that is behind this first statement is the sobering thought that we deserve many of the words that Jesus had for Pharisees and the rest in his own time; specifically the idea that we refuse to enter the kingdom ourselves, while refusing to let others enter either.

We do this for the same reason they did: we feel threatened. We (and the people Jesus rebuked, in the same way) feel threatened by the way non-religious people think, the way they talk, the way they live, and the challenges they put in our faces. They challenge our own ways of thinking, talking, living, and the assumptions that we have about ourselves, about them, and about the world. We think they’re going to take our children, kick our dogs, change our minds, and convince us that we don’t know everything.

Obviously, if they are able to take our children, either:

  1. we haven’t taught our children in such a way that they took hold of it for themselves, and were prepared to be real with it
  2. they’ve got something better than we do
  3. our children simply wanted something else

Whichever it is, either it’s our fault or it’s the choice our children made. The same points can be made for our other issues. If we’re unable to be real people, think authentically about life, and work out the relationships we have with Jesus, we’re going to be in worse shape than we think we are.

The worse shape we’ll be in is that we’ll never introduce anyone to Jesus, and we’ll miss him ourselves. The Pharisees and Sadducees and the rest were, in all likelihood, sitting in the temple praying for the Messiah while he was riding by on a donkey! He hung out with the non-religious people challenging the religious establishment, and challenged it himself, and they didn’t want anything to do with it. If we’re in the same position, we’ll miss the things he wants to do just like they did.