Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Casting Pearls

I don’t know why I do it…. I know Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:6, but I do it anyway. I have found that there are two groups of people who are virtually impossible to talk to seriously—homosexuals and militant atheists. I deal with them quite differently, but in my experience they have been equally hostile and antagonistic.

I will not debate matters of morality or lifestyle with a person who is living in a homosexual lifestyle. Each time I have had the opportunity to talk with a person living a homosexual lifestyle, I simply try to present the truth of the Gospel as plainly and clearly as I can. Invariably I am shrilly accosted as judgmental, intolerant and hateful. Rarely can dialogue continue—as a matter of fact, I do not remember a time when it has been able to continue. I have not enjoyed those occasions and because of that, have not run the risk of violating Matthew 7:6. Each time, I have presented the Gospel, taken the heat and moved on.

Atheists are a different story. I actually enjoy debating them—probably too much. In the past, most people who identified themselves as atheists were really agnostic. They held out the possibility that God might exist. Agnostics are fairly easy to talk to because, most of the time, they are open-minded. The problem is that, in recent years, more people who identify themselves as atheists are actually anti-theists. They have taken their cue from people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in becoming evangelistic atheists. They combine their version of science with Michael Savage style debate tactics (read: ad hominum attacks).

I’m a big boy—I can handle personal attacks. What I find baffling is how inconsistent and incomprehensible their arguments are. “I can’t believe in God because you can’t empirically prove He exists. Your only evidence for Him is in a book.” They have no problem saying that, but simultaneously excoriate believers for saying, “I can’t believe in evolution because you can’t empirically prove it happened. Your only evidence for evolution is reading about it in a book.” They freely allow the interpretation of data according to their presuppositions, but believers are not afforded the same opportunity. Interpreting data according to their presuppositions is called science. Interpreting data according to Christian presuppositions is called myth (or worse). For examples of an ongoing debate along these lines, click here, here, and here and read the comments.

On the rare occasions I have seen someone converted from atheism, their eyes have been opened because they began to understand that they have believed in evolution by faith in the written testimony of others. When (by the grace of God) they came to that understanding, it was only a matter of time (and teaching) before they were able to see how much more reliable the testimony of Scripture is than the ever-changing testimony of “science”. When they come to see Scripture as reliable testimony, they can come to trust the One about whom Scripture is written.

Unfortunately, most of the time, their atheistic views have been formed and callused by years of anger and bitterness over a “religious” experience in their past that went terribly wrong. Maybe coincidentally (maybe not), most of the militant atheists I have encountered were raised in Catholic schools or came from nominal Catholic environments. Regardless, their deep-seeded anger and bitterness precludes them from hearing truth or accepting it when it is clearly revealed to them.

Years ago, a dear atheistic friend of mine finally admitted that he believed what he believed by faith alone. He admitted that the testimony in which he believed was far less credible than the Testimony in which I believed. Yet, through his tears and clenched teeth, he growled, “I refuse to believe in God.” I still weep for him.

Why do I continue to cast pearls? Maybe because I hold out hope that these really aren’t Matthew 7:6 people like my friend was.

Romans 1:18-23


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