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Proof

October 6, 2009 1 comment

One of the websites my wife and I keep up with is called the Jesus Manifesto.  Overall, most of the discussions we’ve read have been pretty good.  There was however, a letter posted yesterday, I believe that hits close to home for us.  The title of the note was called “A Letter to a Common Sense Atheist.”  Though this was a thought provoking letter, I don’t want to get tangled in superfluous details nor initiate another “argument.”  That being said, there is something I’d like to address.

My wife and I are actually fairly close friends with an atheist family.  We have shared many wonderful discussions together and our conversations have shed light on many of my assumptions, not just about the Christian faith tradition, but on life as a whole.

However, I must say that there is still something that disturbs me about this whole Atheist vs. Christian discussion.  And I feel like I can speak fairly honestly about the subject because I’ve been apart of conversations in both camps.  Here’s the deal.  No matter which way we flip the coin, each faction has their artillery of “proof” intended to blank-out the arguments of the other side, proving them wrong.

Here’s my real issue.  I’m sure that there are many facts that are true on both sides.  But, I think we’ve still missed the point.  I’ll argue from the Christian perspective because that’s what I know and it would be pretty arrogant of me to assume I know the mind of someone else.  I think it is a horrible waste of time for Christian people to try to prove people to heaven.  First of all, that’s not really a biblical concept.  And it’s awfully silly for us to use the Bible as a scientific text since at the time it was written, the concept of science was a mere 1,000 years in the future.  Anyone else see the disconnect there?

So, what then, does that mean?  I believe it to be our responsibility as followers of Christ to translate his LIFE into the language of the world we live in today.  It’s really kind of a waste of time to “prove” someone into believing in God, and I am not really concerned about all the “facts” that we claim to have.  Our job is to BE a different kind of people.  The world doesn’t see anything different in Christians because we can argue with the best of them.

I had the opportunity to preach this past Sunday and I spend some time in the 5th chapter of Matthew, in what we have traditionally labeled, the Beattitudes.  One of the glaring disconnects hidden within that passage is the fact that none of charges Jesus issues has anything to do with “believing” the right things.  I argue that it’s overwhelmingly a description of Kingdom life. LIFE.  It’s not a list of lofty ideals that are good to hope to attain, rather they are a description of the life of someone who is participating in the realm of God here on this earth.  To dive ever deeper into what Jesus is talking about, I even argue that if we are not showing mercy, making peace and being persecuted for doing those things, we are really just warming a seat on the sidelines of life.

So, I then argue that arguing is a waste of time… HA.  Isn’t it sad how quickly we can get wrapped up in our own words?  Interesting thought.  That alone could be flushed out into a few more posts.  Yet I end with the model of Christ.  What kind of life are we going to live?  Will we be participants in the realm of God, or are we going to be content to argue with everyone we come in contact with?  And I will break my own rule for this reason: I believe the essence of Christ is fully realized when we lose churchy language, step outside of the building, file away all our “proof points,” hold our tongues, love people wastefully and bring the Kingdom life here.

So, let’s please stop trying to “convert” people and just recklessly love them, and allow the Christ life to be realized in the decisions I make each day.

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