Wednesday, February 6, 2019


  Have you ever been so sure you were right you were willing to stake your very reputation and even risk damaging relationships?  Few things engender such conviction as do faith and politics.  Often,  differences of political and religious views equate to an immovable object meeting an irresistible force.  For many, the idea of discourse to understand opposing views is foreign, leaving an argument of talking points and witty personal attacks as the preferred method of addressing disagreement.

      We no longer care why someone believes as they do, proving those with whom we disagree wrong is the main objective.  Is is possible to be wrong even when what you believe is right?  What if our main objective was to be correct rather than right?  How would this shape our approach to handling disagreements?

            What many believe on any given political or religious topic is, primarily, shaped by worldview.  Chances are, your views on abortion, gay marriage, the resurrection of Christ or the inerrancy of scripture is based on what you believe about the world in general and not based on any independent study of the particular topic.  On the abortion issue, for instance, your source of information will generally be from sources in agreement with what you already believe.  If you are pro-abortion, your sources of information, to defend your position, will come from Planned Parenthood.  If your position is pro-life, National Right to Life will be, most likely, where you turn to for information. 

       America is filled with arm chair quarterbacks, content with allowing others to provide the arguments in defense of political and religious positions.  When was the last time you read a scholarly piece from an opposing viewpoint on an issue you hold?  Christians lose credibility when we spout off on a divisive topic on social media and then have no ability to actually defend the position. 

         When we form opinions based on our identity with a group that holds a particular view, without first investigating the position for ourselves, we contribute to further polarization of society.  Without understanding a person's reason for holding a position, it becomes easy to demonize them and pronounce all sort of evil intent over them.  Is this really what Jesus had in mind when He instructed us:  Matthew 5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,?

        Obviously, we cannot thoroughly investigate every controversial topic.  I have strong opinions on many topics but refrain from sharing some publicly as I do not feel I have done my due diligence in supporting my argument.  Not every opinion needs to be shared on Facebook or Twitter.  If you do share your opinion on social media, you better be able to defend yourself against attack.

       If, for instance, as a Christian, you choose to post something on social media concerning your opposition to gay marriage, you are well within your right to do so.  Please, however, have a better defense than the ridiculous "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" cliche.  If your argument can fit on a bumper sticker, you do not have an argument and should probably keep what you think to yourself.   Uninformed opinions are like bowel movements, everyone has them and they usually stink. 

        If I claim the moon is made of cheese and offer no empirical evidence to support my thesis, I have no credibility in anything I say.  "Because that's what I have always believed" or "that's how I was raised" are not arguments for any position, yet when it comes to faith and politics, these seem to be common statements of the uninformed.  Spouting off uninformed opinions, without any factual evidence to support said opinion, only serves to contribute to further polarization of society. 

        As followers of Christ, we have allowed our voices to be silenced in the court of public opinion for fear of offending.  The Gospel is offensive to unbelievers.  Jesus was offensive to the status quo powers that were, in His time.  It is time we learn the difference between being offensive and speaking the truth in love, which may be offensive. Speaking arrogantly or belittling others with whom we disagree is offensive behavior, which should never be practiced by God's people. Speaking the truth, in love, may offend inadvertently, but the offense is a result of truth, not our poor behavior.

         Know what you believe and know why you believe it.  Educate yourself.  If what you believe on any given topic is truth, you should not fear opposition.  Resist opinion formed of emotion or false reason, void of factual representation.  If you hold a position on an issue based on feelings, you will lose every time.  

    You may be surprised to find many people who hold opposing views to yours are motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.  Learning what motivates a person helps shape your presentation of the facts. Do not demonize those with whom you disagree. Many times, finding common ground is the best place to start a dialogue.  You may not change someone's mind immediately, but you may cause them to think, which is a very good start.

      Our ultimate goal should never be merely winning an argument or debate, the ultimate goal is to represent the truth well.  1 Peter 3:15-16  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 

         Based on what I witness on social media these days, this passage seems to be missing from many Bibles. If God's people can practice  these verses in he court of public discourse, we may find far less polarization and more profitable dialogue.  Know the truth, present the truth in love and leave room for the Holy Spirit to water the seeds you sow.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!!

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