One of the things that B and I talked about in “The B/S Show Episode 2 – ‘I Believe Virtually Everything I Read…'” was the notion that we as people, but especially as Christians need to stop protesting everything we don’t like, especially if we are potentially ill-informed (which we are always potentially ill-informed). This is something I have continued to think about since recording the episode, and all the more since reading about all of the hub-bub over the Islamic Cultural Centre (in Canada we spell it with an ‘re’), as well as many Americans’ belief that President Obama is a Muslim and an Islamic Fundamentalist sympathizer.
I’m not going to share my own thoughts on those matters, nor will what I say really have anything to do with those two issues, save that those two issues have got me thinking about this topic. If you want my opinions (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t), feel free to ask; I share opinion freely!
Okay. In the podcast we talked about wanting, specifically Christians, (but not exclusively) to put aside their absurd obsession for protesting and picketing everything… especially when it is something they don’t know anything about.
How many people were against Harry Potter without having even read it?
How many people were against the Di Vinci Code because someone told them too?
How many people were standing outside ComicCon in San Diego protesting homosexuality with the usual line up of “Fags Doom Nations” and “God is Your Enemy” signs? (The answer is “a lot”. Seriously? It’s a COMIC BOOK CONVENTION!).
Here’s the thing:
2. It’s not that I’m against having convictions. It’s not that I am against freedom of speech (quite the opposite). It’s not that I don’t think that, as a Christian, or even just a human being for that matter, you should stand up for what you believe in. But, as salt and light in this world (which is what we are supposed to be), we have the responsibility to think through, not only the “whys” of what we do, but also the “what will this accomplish”.
What is going to be the response of the people who see you with a sign that says “God Hates Your Tears”? How many of them are going to read that and say “hmmm… I never thought of it like that. I guess I was wrong”? Like John Mayer said, “Is there anyone who you can remember changing their minds from the paint on a sign?”.
Quite frankly, all that is going to do is start up a whole bunch of “God’s evil and Christians are idiots” comments on the internet (which it did… it was sad). And, as I pointed out in the podcast, one of the things that made David’s sin with Bathsheba so tragic was that his actions gave the unbelieving world one more reason to “blaspheme” God. We are responsible for how we portray God to a world that doesn’t know him. If people hop on the internet and blaspheme God because of something we have thoughtlessly or selfishly said or done, we are responsible. And speaking of “selfishly”…
If you know that your signs aren’t going to change anyones mind, but are rather going to push people even further from God (which you should know that now, since I just told you), then why are you doing it? Are you standing up for what’s right?
Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt that, in your heart of hearts, you are doing it for no other reason than to stand up for truth. While that’s noble, the wrong thing done for the right reasons is still wrong. Because, again, you are not making a positive difference. You are not bringing people closer to God. What you are doing is anti-helpful and it’s fighting against your defence of the truth. “Benefit of the doubt” time is over.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you aren’t doing it to stand up for what’s right, but rather you are doing it to be right. Bold assertion on my part, I know, but if you don’t care about the fact that you are turning people against God with little hope of having any sort of positive impact, then you don’t care about the people. And if you don’t care about the people, then you really don’t care what they do. And if you don’t care about what they do, then you really don’t care whether they do what you are protesting or not. Therefore, if you don’t care about them or what they do, why “stand for the truth”? The only reason that I can see (and I say this from personal experience) is that you only care about being right. Why you care so much about being right is a whole other discussion. But reasons, in the end, do not justify the damage done to the kingdom of God. This crap has to stop. We need to stop. Look at those signs that those people are holding and tell me that, for Christ’s sake, that doesn’t need to stop.
If you really care about righting the wrongs of the world, whether it be moral, literary, political, entertainment… whatever, find a more constructive way to address it. If you want people to listen to you, listen to them. Find a way to have real conversation with real people, and do it with love. Yelling at them isn’t going to change anything (unless you yell at people in a blog post about not yelling at people… I think that might work).
And for crying out loud, know what you are talking about! But, I digress, that’s a conversation for another time…