Atheists! Incoming Olive Branch!
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2007 Sep 20
I am now officially burned out on the exchanges going on in the comments sections of my last couple of blogs. Boringly enough (for me) what started and had amazing legs as a genuinely interesting series of exchanges has now in the main become (a refresingly intelligent, actually) "debate" about evolution. (You can see what I mean at "What the Atheists Taught Me," or, "An Honest Question: Atheists, How Do You Process Your Guilt?" And while I'm at it, might I recommend that you don't miss, "Christians and Atheists in Communion--In Harmony, I Mean. Now What?")
Still. It's starting to get that queasy-making, round-and-round-we-go feel. Which is boring. And I have serious issues with being bored. I hate it. So I want to move on now.
Still, I am by nature a Seeker of Closures. So, by way of not simply stopping the aforementioned comments (because I will, man: I'll do it!), let me hereby offer the statement below as a Healing Balm upon the open wound that is too often the relationship between Christians and atheists. The only caveat I would like applied to this statement is the manifestly obvious one that I don't speak for all Christians. (And remember, everyone: No one does.)
Anyway, here is my olive branch to the atheists:
On behalf of whatever Christians I might actually be speaking for, I would hereby like to apologize for ever in any way insisting that anyone who is not a Christian needs to become one. The reason it's wrong for we Christians to insist upon the conversion of non-Christians isn't because we don't think it is very good indeed for non-Christians to become Christians. It's wrong because communicating that to non-Christians cannot (we now see) help but be righteously offensive to them. And offending people isn't exactly the shortest path to in any way communing with them. We see that now. Sorry we didn't see it sooner.
We certainly get angry enough when you tell us why we shouldn't believe in God, don't we? So it's then unreasonable for us not to expect you to get at least as angry at our insisting that you should believe in God. Of course that's how you'd respond to that. What were we thinking?
Please do understand that what we were, in fact, thinking, is that we love you. The Big Push behind our rather-too-constantly insisting that you need to become Christian is simply that we do not want you to go to hell. As you know, a great many of us are deeply convinced that that is what happens to people who die without first believing in Jesus Christ. We don't want that to happen to you. We don't want that to happen to anyone! It sounds awful!
So please don't think of us as shallow, egotistical, intolerant, obnoxious power-mongers. Think of us instead, please, as people who love you, and are trying to stop you from suffering in a way that our belief system tells a lot of us you will if you don't open up your heart to the joys and realities of what we very definitely believe is God. That's all it is. We deeply and sincerely apologize for all the times, and for all the ways, that we've turned what we only ever really meant as an expression of love into something that we now understand you couldn't have possibly received that way.
Our bad, for sure.
Further, we'd like to extend to you our true and deep respect for the way you've utilized and shown your respect for rational thought, which we certainly understand as a critical, paramount value. We're actually huge on rational thought -- a fact which we know too often gets buried in some of the, shall we say, louder aspects of our public presence. We apologize for not often enough making clear the degree to which we value rational thought -- and for how much we appreciate why anyone would want to make it the primary vehicle they use to wind their way through this decidedly bizarre series of experiences we call life.
Okay? One love, atheists. For sure.
Well, thanks for listening! Bye! See ya' ... constantly! Everywhere! What with our all sharing the same world, and all.
Comment below, or here.