So, I was talking to a friend of mine about belief structures, and stuff. She was supporting the Atheist position, and I was pointing out my distaste for atheism, borne mostly of my disdain for the many athiests I know. Generally speaking, people don’t get too enamoured of you when you call them stupid, deluded, and irrational. Especially when you seem unable to explain why besides labelling all religious inferences “fallacies”, but I digress.
Of course, I should probably realize that not all atheists are jerks, it just seems that the few willing to talk to me about faith are.
That said, I was reading “Blue Like Jazz recently (a good book generally). In it the author tells of an incident where he and some fellow Christians took the time to apologize for the way in which Christians misrepresent Jesus to those around them. He also pointed out how the word Christian seems a little misused of late, since people tend to associate strange things like killing people and making fun of others with “Christian”. The author says he now uses the “follower of Christ” moniker rather than the much maligned “Christian”.
So I wonder if I’m not guilty of doing to atheists what some of them do to Christians. Just because the majority of atheists I talk to seem to be judgmental arrogant bigots doesn’t mean all of them are (or even that the ones I talk to are), or that atheism is a faith held only by the most arrogant of people. As a follower of Christ, one to whom forgiveness was given when I most definitely did not deserve it, I think it behooves me to give others the benefit of the doubt. It seems that may be what Christ meant when he commanded me to “love [my] enemy and do good to those who persecute [me]”.
I didn’t do the crusades, but some people see my faith that way, and not all atheists think the religious are inherently stupid.
In the end, don’t consign people to approbation because some people who agree with them are jerks. If I want people to give a good hearing to Jesus, I need to have the humility and honesty to face the blindness in myself.