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Some thoughts on the SSA Conference (Part One)

August 4, 2009

Hey Everyone,
Well, the atheist/Christian blogosphere is alive with the news about the SSA going to the Creation Musuem. I’m going to provide some links below so you can see some of the controversy yourself.

I’m going to be right in the middle of it. Why? There are quite a few reasons I’m going. Some I will share, others I won’t. The biggest reason I’m going is that the SSA and my atheist friends asked me to go. There is no way I can turn down them down. They are my friends. I like them.

Even more importantly, I’m trying to be Jesus in this whole situation. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. But after you read the blogs, Christian and non-Christian, I think you will see what I mean.

The debate about science and faith has grown to mythic proportions in this country. Most of the debate revolves around name calling, misunderstanding, and just plain willful ignorance to understand the opposite side in the debate. I think this goes for atheist and Christian. There has to be a better way forward in the discussion.

I’m not going to speak for the atheist, but for the Christian, there are some things to consider.

It really comes down to remembering the Gospel. That is, through no merit of our own, Christ saved us. And if He shows that much grace to us, how can we not show it to others? I’m disturbed by the fear I see in Christians in this country. We are afraid to talk with atheists. We are always concerned about our “rights” and overly sensitive to being mocked. This results in us not being able to recognize opportunties to be a light when they come across our path. We are too busy shaking our fists at people who disagree with us.

Are those people unfair? Yes, they are. Do they misrepresent? Of course. Does that mean we can change the way Jesus commanded us to act? God forbid. I have often found that Christians do the exact same thing to atheists. I have seen blantant lies and misinformation in regards to what atheists actually think. Nice way to represent Jesus.

The time has come for us to stop reacting to the way people MIGHT treat us with hostility, anger, and defensiveness. It’s time to stop insisting on our rights because we forget the only thing we have a “right” to is death.

Instead, it’s time we start remembering the Gospel and remember love. Remember, perfect love casts out fear. It casts out the need to be right all the time. It casts out the need to attack our “enemies”. It casts out the need to be whiners on blogs about how atheists are mean, don’t understand us, etc and so on. It enables us to be humble, to listen, to discern, and THEN to present a coherent picture of Christianity. Atheists don’t mind when we do that. They welcome it. They may not agree, but they are always happy to listen.

What they don’t like is when Christians act contrary to the Gospel.

Why am I going to the Creation musuem with a bunch of atheists? Wrong question. How could I not?

Here are some links to the blogs. For those of the sensitive persuasion, there is some possible offensive language in these blogs:
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/
http://hardtruth.squarespace.com/home/2009/7/31/atheists-hate-ham.html

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Steph permalink
    August 4, 2009 4:25 pm

    Woo hoo! I hope everyone involved has a great time. Thanks for posting this!

  2. August 4, 2009 9:49 pm

    Great post, Jonathan.

  3. August 9, 2009 11:44 pm

    Good post, I come from this with a different perspective but when you talk about people being concerned about their rights and being overly concerned about some mocking I agree. The mocking thing bothers me a fair bit as in general I think everyone needs to grow a little thicker skin, learn to take a little bit of hostility directed towards them, to ignore the comments that have little content and reply to those that question us thoughfully. Sadly it seems all to common to do it the other way, and to latch onto the fact some people are mean to you. Not that I do not understand the wish to do that at times. I also think that many people forget that their rights are everyone’s rights, that the other people have the same ones (they also often need to realize their rights are often not what they think they are).

  4. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 9, 2009 11:49 pm

    Thanks Travis! I think that’s exactly right. Everyone needs to stand down a bit and have rational discussion. Sadly, that ability has seemingly left the country.

  5. August 10, 2009 12:23 am

    I think things are slightly better in the great white north, but not really that much better. Across the whole worth rational discussion is still a challenge. However I am not a kid gloves kind of person, I think a spade should be called a spade, and sometimes things can be harsh, I just wish that did not so often ruin any chance of a real discussion.

  6. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 10, 2009 12:25 am

    Well, I think people would just rather not think about things. Sad, but true.

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