Today I would like to take you to a post which is typical of the discussion which is taking place nowadays in the culture at large.
Simen over at De-Conversion, an atheist/agnostic blog, has a post entitled “Don’t Ask Me to Read Your Holy Book”. In this post he takes issue with one of the leading arguments which many Christians use to prove the validity of the Bible.
The argument goes like this: Start with the Bible as just a plain old garden-variety book, just like any other. As you read it you will eventually notice that it makes statements about itself by which it claims to be inspired and infallible (2 Timothy 3:17, for instance). So what are you going to do with those? Look at other factors, like the fact that there are more ancient manuscripts of the Bible which go closer to the originals than for any other work of classical antiquity (Homer, Socrates, Plato, etc.), like the fact that you have hundreds of authors on three different continents over a roughly 3,000 year period all articulating the same message more or less, and when the Bible claims to be inspired, you can safely accept that.
This is one of the standard arguments for the validity of Scripture. Just about every evangelical knows this one, and an awful lot have used it at some point in attempting to witness to someone or other. This argument has made the rounds of American society many times over–yet there are many who are not convinced.
This is the new reality, folks. We are no longer the only ones who have the floor when it comes to speaking out to society about matters of eternal truth. Atheists and agnostics are coming out with books, blogs, movies, etc., and their message is gaining a great deal of traction in our society. Is this because men hate the light and love the darkness because their deeds are evil? Is it because we are living in the last days, when liars and deceivers will come to steal away even the elect if that were possible? Or is it because people are just tired of the way in which we present our message? Could it be that people are just tired of us always talking down to them as if we are right and they are wrong, and they’d better get with the program and accept Jesus into their hearts if they don’t want to wind up in the lake of fire?
I think we need to rethink the way in which we engage with the outside world. For starters, take a look at the “Agnostic Atheism Wager” which they have in the sidebar:
Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe when there is a significant lack of evidence of his/her existence.
Amen to that. Let us stop talking to the outside world as if we are right and they are wrong, and they’d better get with the program. Let us treat them as real people. Let us accept, love, and serve them, and be prepared to continue doing so–even if they remain unconvinced.