The Unfair Debate
When I was in high school, I dated an atheist. We had dozens of arguments about religion and Christianity and looking back, I’ve realized two things. First, that I was always on defense, and second, that his distrust of Christianity was caused by past hurt.
My always being on defense is nothing new, but it is something I’m finally pointing out to people. In discussions about Christianity, Christians are the ones who have to defend their beliefs. Think about it, from your own personal discussions, no matter which “side” you’re on, you’ve probably seen or experienced it. Why is that? Why does it nearly always turn into an attack on Christianity, and we suddenly need to answer for every Christian who has done wrong?
I’ll say this right here, there are some bad Christians. I hear stories on the news that break my heart because it’s someone who is using the Bible to justify their actions. The situation in the US for example, with the immigrant children being taken away from their families and housing them in what were essentially internment camps. Jeff Sessions quoted Romans 13 to try and justify it, but he missed something. An unfortunate thing that many people do, is they look for a verse to back them up, but they don’t look at the passage surrounding it. They don’t look at the context of the verse. Down a few more verses in the same chapter, is this, “[f]or rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. (Romans 13:3)”
I read that as listening to authority when they are being fair and just, and standing up and calling them out when they aren’t. The laws put in place were not fair or just. They tore families apart and caused a lot of pain to a lot of people. But it’s situations like that one that makes people distrust the Bible and Christians. This brings me to my second point.
My ex would tell me stories about his childhood, and the more I learned, the more I realized where his hurt was coming from. He didn’t trust Christians or the Church, because he had been hurt by them many times. Having a super religious babysitter does that. Once I realized that I started to see it everywhere. People often don’t have an issue with Jesus, they just hate the people who follow Him, and the rules that we’ve come up with. It’s hard to see the heart of Christianity when all that is seen is how badly we’ve acted in the past.
So I challenge you, next time you end up in a discussion (or let’s be honest, a debate) about Christianity, stop and think about those two things. And be gentle and calm in everything you say. Your goal isn’t to make them believe everything to do with Christianity. Your goal should be to get them to stop and think for a second why they believe what they do.
(If you have any suggestions for what I can write about, or any questions, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you, and knowing I’m writing something you actually want to read is very special,)