I was in a debate today on the nature of politics online with someone responding to a Christian who posted a message about someone prophecying about seeing a spirit of violence coming out of Barack Obama and how we need to stop him. Now I’ve made it clear I in no way support Obama. However, I thought a message like this was just nonsense. Even if he really is a violent person like the poster thought, I don’t give much credence to such prophecies today.
Neither did the atheists that saw it.
Unfortunately, the only reply was to point out that this person is an atheist and somehow, their opinion is automatically false.
This concerns me for two reasons mainly.
First off, an atheist can be right about some things. If I go to a doctor, my first question isn’t “Are you an atheist or a Christian?” Now I like my doctors to be Christian as there’s that common bond we share in Christ, but if they’re not, that’s fine with me also. I’m not going to look at the prescription they give me after I leave and say “Geez. He says to take this, but he’s an atheist. Maybe I should go back to my workplace and think it’s not as contagious as he says it is.”
Now are there times I think an atheist could be more guided by his worldview and so at those times I take it with a grain of salt? Of course. I would think they’d do the same with me and expect it. I am saying though that just because an atheist says something, we don’t need to automatically assume that what they are saying is false. Now it could very well be, but it wouldn’t be false because they’re an atheist. If what they say is not true, it’d just as much be false if a Christian or Muslim said it or any other faith. (Excepting personal statements of course relating to them as individuals.)
The other thing that concerns me is our appearance to the world. It seems when I go into a dialogue with a non-believer, they already have an idea of what a Christian is and push that idea on me. It’s usually a bad one. They’ll often say that I’m one who believes that God is talking to me at night. Well, no. I’m not. I think the Almighty doesn’t need to discuss his personal plans with me.
However, whenever a remark is made of the type I mentioned at the start of this blog, that further increases the stereotype. Telling someone they’re an atheist and thus invalidating their opinion because of it only leads to that person invalidating Christianity more. I was told when I called this person out on that that the sword cuts both ways. True. I realize the way I live gives an impression.
Hopefully, that impression is that you can be intelligent and be a Christian. Hopefully it’s that Christianity is not about an emotional experience but growing in grace and knowledge. Hopefully, that impression is that you can be tough if you have to be but you can be soft for those who are really seeking truth and need someone to talk to. Hopefully, that image is someone who does enjoy discussing ideas and especially with those who disagree.
Hopefully. Maybe we won’t even have to ask this question as much if many atheists could see Christians who would give them something to embrace instead of a brain-dead stereotype.