People are angry! Surprised? Me neither. While a plethora of reasons exists for people’s angst, permit me in this space to focus on one particular area: the conflict of worldviews. And it exists in the religious as well as the decidedly non-religious cultures. It starts like this:
First, you find a worldview that seems to fit their outlook on life (keep in mind: I will say that this is not why many should embrace Christianity for various reasons, but that will have to wait until the end). The journey to find purpose and peace—your raison d’être, if you will—goes through a sharpening process, either moving toward something or reacting against something (or both). Then, through a convergence and confluence of events and various light switches in the soul being thrown—you arrive!
Secondly, once you arrive, you hope other people will arrive with you as well. After all, you may think, if I can see how right and true this worldview is, why can’t those around me? It’s so obvious, you may say. How can people with eyes and ears and a soul not see the world around us like we do? I just don’t get it!
Thirdly, you who have arrived come to the proverbial fork-in-the-road. To those who agree with them, to them we gravitate. “They get it,” we think or even say. We have our worldviews reinforced, glad to have the fellowship, will feel filled to the brim and even overflowing with this connection and confirmation of your worldview (and the more you respect that person who agrees with you, the more you feel filled and alive in your arrival).
To those who disagree with us in our passionate pursuit of purpose and peace, we come to a sub-fork, if you will. We can say, “Well, they disagree with me? Fine. I will pray/persuade in a peaceable manner, and will treat them as a fellow human being on the journey.” Or, as the article’s title speaks to, we can become angry. How so?
Those leaning left have been known to say, “Those of you who believe in pro-life/pro-God/pro-church/pro-man-woman-alone marriage are bigoted/intolerant/antiquated/hateful/vengeful/backward/stupid/rube-ish, etc.” Those who lean to the right side of an issue have been known to say, “You baby-killing/God-hating/church-burning/Sodomizing are murderous/anything-goes/liberal/hateful/vengeful/educated-beyond-your-intelligence, etc.”
Anger! Hateful! Both sides! And thus the last step in this process.
If you don’t agree with me, then you hate me. If you don’t agree with me, then you need to be
It goes to the logical fallacy of the ad hominem—where both sides move from addressing the argument to berating the man making the argument. “You disagree with me? You must be stupid!” “You believe in this? You must be a liberal!” “You still hold to that? Then you are hateful to those who hold to something else.”
Now, some who are reading this who are well-acquainted with the worldview of this writer and this blog will likely notice that the picture I used above is from a Francis Schaffer website—an evangelical Christian. You have a fork in the road to take. You can look at his argument and evaluate whether what he says is true or not—or you can dismiss it because the argument came from someone who holds a worldview you may find hateful. Take the high road and evaluate the argument.
If someone disagrees with you and you become angry and spiteful, regardless of which side you may be on, the issue is a deep, personal angst that doesn’t do anyone any good. Whether you believe Jesus or not, you can see the wisdom here:
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:21-26).
When we speak our worldview, do we speak it so we will show everyone, “I’m right and you’re wrong?” That’s a selfish motive. That’s not necessarily a quest for truth—it’s just yelling loudly, a desire to yell louder that those who disagree. Whether Christian, atheist, or all points in-between, you will only gain traction by those who agree with you and not persuade because the hate being spewed will run others off. You may be right in what you believe, or you may not—the anger and hate will cloud out the veracity of your argument.
What about Christianity? Those who submit to the teachings of Christ and the Bible and do so because it fits their lifestyle right now must beware. The gospel is all about undoing your life, not fitting into your life. Paul warns us not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind so we know what God’s perfect will is.
Conformity to the world’s system is the most natural act a man can do. Just ‘be’ and you’ll conform. Just resist any outside authority in heaven and on earth, and you’ll conform because it’s the most natural thing to do. Christianity is not simply a repair—it’s an overhaul, and it’s too much for many to endure. The most natural thing to do is to look to the ones we can see (people) rather than accept that there is One over all we cannot see. The most natural thing is to believe that we are OK in our own faculties rather than recognizing we need rescuing.
Which gets back to the ‘arrival.’ When we finally arrive at our preferred worldview, we not only believe we’ve arrived—we believe in a sense we’ve been rescued. Rescued from purposeless to purpose! We finally found our reason for being—aaaahhhh!
Which goes to what Christianity has said all along: every person on the planet worships something and believe they need rescuing. Every person looks for it, longs for it! But we cannot rescue ourselves! We need a rescuer! Who or what will that rescuer be?
“As I seek to [move a man toward the natural direction his presuppositions take him], I need to remind myself constantly that this is not a game I am playing. If I begin to enjoy it as a kind of intellectual exercise, then I am cruel and can expect no real spiritual results. As I push the man off his false balance, he must be able to feel that I care for him. Otherwise I will only end up destroying him, and the cruelty and ugliness of it all will destroy me as well. Merely to be abstract and cold is to show that I do not really believe this person to be created in God’s image and therefore one of my kind. Pushing him towards the logic of his presuppositions is going to cause him pain; therefore, I must not push any further than I need to” (Francis Schaeffer).
Some people on both sides use their belief systems to leverage for hate! As for my team, we use Christianity to show what Christ and His followers have to say and do so in love, not hate. It’s not my job to convince you of that, because I know that mere message of us being sinners who need to repent and believe in the cross and empty tomb of Christ for the forgiveness of sin will be seen as hateful, regardless of how lovingly I may put it.
But if you are angry at even those who lovingly say these things, examine why? If you don’t believe it, why spew venom at them personally?
And if you are angry, dear Christian, at those who may say there is no God and religion is harmful not helpful, etc., examine why you are angry at them!
In both cases, it would seem that the person making the argument is not worth loving. I cannot speak to the atheist or secular worldview—I don’t hold to that—but I can speak to the Christian. Every person on the planet is an imagebearer of God. Before you spew the venom to one of God’s creation, remember that this person was “fearfully and wonderfully made… formed in the womb” by God Himself (Psalm 139:13-14). We don’t see people as a product of random particles that came together—if we did, then the venom would be justified. No care from a Maker, no care need be extended for we are all on our own, fighting for survival with our own cause.