Two kinds of people who have tried to shame me away from Christianity

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

In my last job, I had two interesting encounters, first with a secular Jewish leftist man and second with a New Age prosperity gospel feminist Christian woman.

So let’s talk about the two people.

The man who thinks that conservative Christians are stupid

The first kind of person who tried to shame me for being a Christian is the person who thinks that Christianity is stupid. This kind of person invokes things that he hears in secular leftist pop culture as if it is common knowledge that theism generally, and Christianity in particular, is false. He’s watched a documentary on the Discovery channel which said that the eternally oscillating cosmology was true. Or maybe he watched a documentary on the History Channel that said that Jesus never presented himself as God stepping into history. He presents these things that he reads in the New York Times, or sees on MSNBC or hears on NPR with the authority tone that Ben Carson might take when explaining modern medicine to a witch doctor.

Here is how things usually go with him:

  • Me: here are two arguments against naturalistic evolution, the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion.
  • Him: but you don’t believe in a young-Earth do you? I mean, you believe in evolution don’t you?
  • Me: let’s talk about how proteins and DNA is sequenced, and the sudden origin of Cambrian body plans
  • Him: (shouting) Do you believe in evolution? Do you believe in evolution?

And this:

  • Me: there hasn’t been any global warming for 18 years, and temperatures were warmer in the Medieval Warming Period
  • Him: but you don’t deny climate change, do you? everyone on NPR agrees that climate change is real
  • Me: let’s talk about the last 18 years of no warming, and the temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period
  • Him: (shouting) Do you believe in climate change? Do you believe in climate change?

He asks these questions so he can either label me as a nut, without having to weigh the evidence I’m presenting, or have me agree with him, without having to weigh the evidence I’m presenting. It’s all about ignoring the evidence, so he can get back to his busy, busy practical life – and get back to feeling smug about being smarter than others. I think a lot of men are like this – they don’t want to waste their valuable time studying, they just want to jump to the right conclusion, then get back to doing whatever they want – like running marathons, or driving their kids to hockey practice, etc.

So how do you respond to a man who gets his entire worldview from the culture, but never deals with peer-reviewed evidence? Well, I think you just defeat his arguments with evidence and then present your own (peer-reviewed) evidence, and then leave it at that. If the person just wants to jump to the conclusion that all the “smart” people hold to, without doing any of the work, then you can’t win. There are atheists out there who believe in the eternal oscillating universe they saw Carl Sagan talking about in their elementary school. You might try to argue for an origin of the universe by citing new evidence like the CMB and light element abundances. But sometimes, they won’t care. Carl Sagan said it 50 years ago, and that settles it. It doesn’t matter that the new evidence overturns the old theories, they don’t care.

Do you think that Christianity will make non-Christians like you?

Consider 2 Tim 4:1-5:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

And 1 Peter 3:15-16:

15 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,

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

If you have orthodox theological beliefs in this day and age then you are going to be shamed, humiliated and reviled by people. And it’s not just having an orthodox view of who Jesus is that annoys them (e.g. – deity, exclusivity of salvation, morality, etc.). No, their disapproval spreads on into politics, especially abortion and gay marriage – basically any kind of rules around sexuality. That’s what’s really bugging these people, I think.

The woman who thinks Christianity is life-enhancement

This one is especially difficult when you are a young man, because we naturally look to women for approval and respect. You find yourself sitting in church or youth group, hoping for the approval and respect from the Christian women for your sound theology and effective apologetics. Little do you know that many Christian women understand Christianity as life-enhancement, designed to produce happy feelings. God is their cosmic butler whose main responsibility is to meet their needs and make their plans work out. Although you might be keen on sound theology and good apologetics arguments, she doesn’t think that’s important.

So how to deal with this unmet need for approval and respect from women in the church?

First thing, be careful that you don’t attend a church where the pastor in preaching and picking hymns that give you the idea that God is your cosmic butler. Second, read the Bible very carefully, and understand that with respect to God’s purposes for you in this world, your happiness is expendable. You cannot be looking to attractive Christian women that you happen to meet in church to support you, as many of them have long-since sold out to the culture. They are not interested in learning evidential apologetics to defend God’s reputation, or in defending the unborn, or in defending natural marriage, or in defending the free enterprise system that supports family autonomy from the state, etc. Those things are hard and unpopular, especially for those women who were raised to think that Christianity is about life enhancement and peer-approval.

Here’s 1 Cor 4:1-5 to make the point:

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

And 2 Tim 2:4:

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

Or, since I like Ronald Speirs from Band of Brothers so much:

This is the situation in which we find ourselves, so get used to it. And believe me, I have to deal with this, too. So I have all the sympathy in the world for you. Resign yourself to the fact that no one is going to approve of you for being faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ; not secular men, not Christian women. There is no cavalry coming to rescue you.

7 thoughts on “Two kinds of people who have tried to shame me away from Christianity”

  1. Christianity is about the truth not being popular. It is also why atheists gave been claiming it would die out within the next forty years for hundreds of years because they may cause the weak shallow people that may or may not have truly been Christian to lose faith.

    But persecution will only purify Christianity in the end and leave the most attractive version of it stripped of all the worldly additions. And then it will explode in growth. That has always been the historical pattern because unlike other theories societies can grow prosper and be great for all people because Christians believe in truth, but we believe you have a right to reject God too.

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  2. Keep being salt and light, WK. I see a possible revival on the horizon. More and more unbelievers are fed up with radical faux-men-ism and liberal fascism, and are forming alliances with conservative Christians.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When people like to label as your first example I have started to use clarification points. I will say.
    There is strong scientific doubt regarding atheistic evolution. That with no intelligence the world through natural processes will create the things we see. Because of you get them past the point of naturalism only then you could present more evidence to dismantle other points. If they stop at the presenting how there may be a God they are hardly with talking too because they are closed minded in all thought.
    With climate change I tend to pick the ten and say I am a stable earth denier. I reject the old belief of 100 years ago the earth is stable and hardly changes.
    I believe in at least one major and minor ice age minimum that had no known attachment to human influence. Plate tectonic activity is real and influences the earth too
    Those that believe the earth is slow and hardly changes accept old disproven science. As you said the evidence of medieval warming changes had no evidence of carbon burn yet it occurred.
    Leave those people to their smug view. I see them as throwing pearls before swine. If they reject the truth let them be content and live in their slop and move on to one that will listen

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  4. I find ignorance to be more annoying when it comes from people who are supposed to be your allies (e.g. other Christians). It’s especially bad when it comes from Christians (churchians) who either really don’t know what they are doing or are actively making things worse through their sheer stupidity. For example: one of my local university’s Christian groups had a blackboard up where people were supposed to write what their definition of ‘good news’ is (something to do with the Book of Romans), if they did they get a small piece of candy. What happened next was obvious: people just wrote something to get the candy, no one came to hear the real good news. Do these people realize that we’re in the business of saving people’s souls or not?

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    1. Speaking of “university christian groups,” and along the same lines as your comment, one of our local university student apologetics group came out to help the deathscorts block our sidewalkers from reaching out to the women going into our abortion mill. They also “preached” to us the “gospel” of being nice like Jesus and not calling our sins 9except for sidewalker sins of coruse), and how Jesus ate with the Pharisees (and apparently participated in their sins too).

      They knew all kinds of great arguments in favor of Christian theism, they knew their Bibles backwards and forwards: “all” they were missing was knowing Christ Himself, the Cross, and the cost of discipleship.

      But, I’ll bet they got the candy.

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      1. The Pharisees are a bad example of sinful people. They took bible laws and made more to appear pious. Feeling that if they went beyond the requirements of the law they had to do good.

        The issue Jesus had with them is they were all about the law and didn’t have focus on much to do with God in the sense of their heart and motives behind sin.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, we refer to them as churchy pharisees. Many of such believe that the worst “sin” is calling out sin. (Which would make Jesus the worst “sinner,” BTW.) The pharisees missed the forest for the trees, but to be fair, I imagine that even the pharisees of old knew that child sacrifice was wrong. (Unlike many churchy pharisees of today.)
          I certainly understand why Jesus saved His worst Wrath for them.

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