It disturbs me greatly that so many Christians are remaining in the huddle instead of fronting up to the line of scrimmage and fighting the good fight. We stay within our own comfortable groups and pretend that all is well with the world. Well here’s a newsflash: there’s a war going on! The skeptics and atheists are on the attack and we ignore it to our harm and the detriment of our faith.
I’ve noticed most atheists/skeptics fall into two categories:
- Refugees from religion who have chosen a life of skepticism. They are in angry rebellion to the excesses and misdeeds of religious leaders and their contradictory, confusing, erroneous and ignorant teachings.
- People who have never been religious and look with disdain upon those who are. Their rationale is well-fed by the stupidity, misdeeds, inconsistencies, shenanigans and ignorance of religious pundits and their followers.
These are the aggressive skeptics and atheists who write blogs and books and appear on television.
What bothers me about this is how they are largely unopposed. It seems that the majority of religious people just shake their heads and silently go about their business. They’ve given up trying to make sense of it all. They’ve never given theism or atheism much thought. Well, the time has come for that to change. Here is what must happen and it must happen now.
- Become aware. Realize that the conflict is raging. It is raging all around us. Get your head out of the sand and take a look. There are battles that must be fought.
- Get educated.
- Read the Word. You must know your Bible if you are going to defend your faith. Read it for yourself. You’ll find that some of what you thought was truth is based on someone’s interpretation. Be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).
- Read the books and blogs of those who oppose theism (that’s why I have a part of my blogroll called “The Opposition”). Become acquainted with their arguments. Study science (not pseudo-science but the real stuff). Science is the ally of faith, not its enemy. When you use science to defend your faith, know what you’re talking about.
- Read and learn from the books, websites and blogs of those who have been successfully fighting. One apologist I highly recommend is John Clayton. These people have been at it for a long time and you can benefit from their experience.
- Get real. Some of the ridiculous stuff promoted by self-appointed apologists just doesn’t hold water. Stop trying to defend the indefensible. Stop trying to prove what cannot be proven. The existence of God cannot be proven (or disproven) but you can rally the evidence to show that it’s the reasonable choice. If you take No. 2 and 4 seriously, you will learn which arguments are effective and which are not.
- Get engaged. There is no better way to learn how to “get real” than getting into the fray. Don’t be afraid to be proven wrong. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We learn how to fight by fighting. Sometimes we will make valid points; sometimes we will discover a point is invalid. How do you get engaged? Seek out discussions with your atheist/skeptic friends. Comment on their blogs. Write your own blog. Write articles. Speak when you can. Above all…do something!
- Be humble. You don’t know everything. Some of your opposition will know much more than you do (then again, some of them are dreadfully ignorant). Listen to them. Learn from them. There’s an old Texas saying, “You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when yer talkin’.” Be polite, be civil, and be respectful. Don’t polarize your opposition by being an arrogant jerk.
- Don’t retreat…don’t give up. If you lose a battle, learn from it and get back into the war. There’s no more effective soldier than a battle-hardened one.
“Rise up, O men (and women) of God! / Have done with lesser things. / Give heart and mind and soul and strength / To serve the King of kings” — William Merrill.