The earth is flat! The Sun revolves around it….. we all know this is true!! Well that is what many people used to believe and were taught.
There are many things that we can all believe of course. Such as life is not possible without a daily cup of coffee or some chocolate!
Does it matter what we believe? Can I suggest that it does since it impacts how we think, speak and act.
If we believe for instance that we are inherently superior to people who have a different ethnicity, all kinds of prejudice, discrimination and abuse of others can follow. So too if we believe that everyone who has a different worldview is to be labelled as ‘evil’ or to be shunned or silenced or something like that. Further heightened tensions since the shootings in Paris is but one example of this.
Now some see certain beliefs, especially religious ones as being very harmful. The actor Stephen Fry recently spoke out in an interview on RTE (an Irish broadcaster) about the idea of God. The Telegraph newspaper in the UK summarises his words that if God exists then “He is monstrous, utterly monstrous, and deserves no respect whatsoever. The moment you banish Him, life becomes purer, simpler, cleaner and more worth living.”
If you want to hear more of the context of what he was saying and responses people have given, it is easy to find it all on the internet.
Hosier’s recent hit song “Take me to church” has also stirred quite some discussion as the church is seen as being represented in the song as repressive, particularly concerning sexuality.
A 2015 survey published by de Trouw shows that for the first time in the Netherlands those who state they are atheists outnumber those who say they believe in a divine being (23% vs 17%). Leaving 60% in the ‘agnostic’ middle.
If you are reading this and do not have any belief in God, let alone Jesus, then may be you are simply saying, “Yep, religion – time to get rid of it!”
But have you really looked at the life of Jesus Christ, his claims about how he revealed what God is like and that through him it is possible to know God? The God that Christ revealed is nothing like the God that Stephen Fry is decrying. I wouldn’t want to follow a God like that either!!
If you do believe in God, in particular I guess if you are reading this, that you are a Christian; how do you respond to the examples from the media given above? Defeated? Not sure what to say?
How about instead…..
Pray for others
Live out the love of Christ among family, neighbours, friends, colleagues, fellow students…
Seek to understand where others are coming from – show genuine interest not just pretending to listen so that we can then ‘pounce’ with the Gospel.
Expect that the Lord can touch people’s lives – the Gospel is what the word means: “good news’!
With the Lord’s help, embrace grace and truth in how we treat others. Truth on its own can be a real killer!! It has to come with grace too!
If you are asked things that you are not sure about, it is okay to admit it. But say you will also go away and think about it some more and get back to the person you are speaking with.
Know why you believe what you believe but also think about how you communicate it with others. It’s not about winning arguments or proving points….
I finish with some words from one of Christ’s early followers….
“in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:5-16)
Thanks for reading.
P.S If you want to engage about anything written here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org