An article by Bryan Patterson in the Herald Sun (Australia) juxtaposes two strikingly different ways religious and non-religious people are interacting.
First, we see the methods that just drive us all apart. Like the recent attempts at religious-based video games. In one of them, created by an atheist, you try to violently knock off religious prophets. In the other, created by a Christian company, the “object is to convert or kill non-Christians.”
Thankfully, there are people on both sides who are vocal about their opposition to these games.
The game was bucketed by several major Christian groups, who stated the idea of a violent video game about the message of Jesus was, at the very least, ironic.
So if that’s the bad, what’s the good?
The article mentions my own church journey as well as similar attempts to build bridges:
Mehta’s book resonated with believers and non-believers. He has not converted, but has become friends with many of the Christian leaders he met in his journey and often speaks in churches.
It was that thinking that inspired a Presbyterian church in Texas to allow a self-professed atheist to become one of its members. Both the atheist and the minister, Jim Rigby, came under fire.
Rigby said it was all about “building connections”.“Such efforts are crucial in a world where there seems not to be a lot of wood to build the bridges we need,” he said.
“And the shame is, while we fight among ourselves, the world is burning.
“Surely the essence of Christianity or any religion is not found in dogma, but in the life of love of which the creeds sing. If God had wanted us to simply recite creeds, Jesus would have come as a parrot.”
And we all know Jesus is not a parrot.
He’s a french fry.
It’s not just those people who think or act violently who are part of the problem.
If your attempt at “dialogue” involves a barrage of insults or a complete misrepresentation of the other side, you’re making it more difficult for others who believe the same way you do to be respected and heard.
No doubt you’ll want to convince others that you’re right. But there’s a way to do it without automatically pissing off the person you’re talking to.
How likely do you think it is that the other person’s going to change his mind?
That being the case, shouldn’t we focus on conversation instead of conversion?