So I was wandering about an atheist blog when I stumbled across a post linking to Frank Weathers. Now I've gone to Mr. Weathers' blog a couple times, usually because it was linked from other blogs. Nothing ever really kept me coming back. But this post that linked to Mr. Weathers had a string of comments blasting him, the Faith, Christians, the usual. Well, I thought, I better get over there and see what's happening on the comments. Turns out, just praise and adoration. And plenty of folks saying we should love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them. Fine. Nothing wrong there.
But the more I read the article, the more I felt it was tilting things a bit. It reminded me, to be honest, of a young woman I knew in the early days of my Christian walk. One days she visited my house shortly after I was married. She had in her hands the latest book by Max Lucado, "He Still Moves Stones." But when I opened it, I noticed she had crossed out some words. Any references to anger had been removed. I asked her why she did this. Because anger is wrong, God can't be wrong, therefore God can't be angry. Max was wrong and because she liked him so much, she couldn't stand seeing him be wrong.
I explained that anger can lead to sin, but it isn't, in itself, a sin. Not so she explained. We Christians, and we are called ever and always to love, Love, LOVE! You can love and still be angry, I said. Not so, anger is sin, it is bad, wrong, evil, the dark side, of hell, whatever. Therefore God cannot be angry. No matter how I tried, I couldn't convince her that while anger can certainly lead to sin, it is not ever and always sin, or even bad, or even a bad idea.
Mr. Weather's post that more or less says all debate should display love and that's it, sounded reasonable upon first reading. But the more I read it, the more I got the impression it was missing something. It was missing the robust righteous anger that could come out in the Scriptures themselves. It was missing some cases where pretty strong language and imagery was used. It was not taking into account that sometimes reasoned answers sprinkled with love don't do it, and a strong slap in the face is what 's needed.
Of course, you don't want to descend into calling people Raca and Fool. No false accusations. No slander. No lying about them or putting words in their mouths. Nor do you need to insult them. But calling a ludicrous idea ludicrous? Laughing at a laughable statement? Calling someone wrong for advocating evil, like the eradication of religion from the world by whatever means possible? I just didn't see the problem, and felt his post could be missing the width and breadth of variety it takes to engage people in a real and hostile world.
Not wanting to take up too much space, I condensed my response to this:
I suppose some examples of what not to say could help. After all, we follow Scriptures that boldly labeled a fool the one who says there is no God, a Savior willing to toss out such terms as brood of vipers, white washed sepulchers, and blind guides, and at least one apostle willing to suggest castration as a solution to the problem (even if he didn't really mean it). In short, there's fingers in the eye, and then there's calling a spade a spade
True, with the exception of the psalm, the others are directed at various religious individuals, and not at those outside the circle of religious debate. Of course Paul was rather calm and humble in addressing the learned non-believers in Athens. But there's a line I think. It's my nature not to run around making fun of people. But if an atheist says something patently laughable, showing it is so might help (and as a former agnostic, sometimes it was that bold willingness to engage that meant more than just telling me Jesus loved me since I didn’t believe a lick of it). If an atheist is going total ‘can’t we just wipe religion off the face of the earth’, humor can be a good retort. I think it’s Mark Shea who is fond of saying that sometimes laughing at the devil is the best approach.
So while I appreciate the sentiments of the post, I would want to qualify, if for no other reason than my own savior seemed to do so. For as he was wont to say, while on one hand he is gentle and humble of heart, he was known to mention on occasion that he didn’t come to bring peace on earth, but a sword.
And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I noticed that he reviewed all comments before posting them. Fair enough. Some do that. I imagined it would take awhile. So I moved on with life and checked back periodically. And checked. And checked. Soon I began to notice comments posted after mine that were on the blog. But not mine.
Why he didn't post it? I don't know. It certainly wasn't vitriolic. It didn't even say he was entirely wrong. I merely pointed out that there are times, in certain conditions, where we have to get bold and prepared to turn the other cheek, rather than just walk away chanting All You Need is Love. But it's Frank's blog, and he can ban and censor as he sees fit. I will leave it to Frank, and from now on leave Frank's blog. FWIW, folks can comment here, even if they disagree with me. I won't ban anyone.