The Disadvantage of Christianity in debate

I’ve recently been quite enamoured of facebook, and have been engaged in several discussions about those contraversial topics that I’m supposed to avoid because I’m polite.

One of those discussions is on the Great Canadian Wish group on facebook put together by the CBC. Now, the basis of the group is to ascertain some big wishes for the future of Canada (a great country by any count, though which promotes a holier than thou sense of passive-aggressive opposition to everything conservative). On the group, the number 1 wish is that abortion be abolished. I support that wish, and I am a proud and patriotic Canadian (despite the apparent oxymoron).

Noting the massive increase in anti-abortion supporters on the wish, some guy began to intimate that because many of the facebook accounts supporting the anti-abortion wish had no pictures, they must be false accounts. Now, i know for a FACT that several websites and e-mails have been circulated among neanderthal, knuckle-dragging biblically believing Christian cavemen instructing us on how to use facebook so that we can voice our opposition to government-sponsored infanticide. Many of those e-mails go to people who are a little less willing to put our contraversial opinions out there for fear of some enlightened noble intelligentsia explaining to us why we’re so stupid. These people feel strongly about abortion, and so create accounts with minimal contact information in order to voice their opposition.

The problem I have is that the first thing people jump to when it comes to any conservative position is the immediate need to call social conservatives either unthinking or evil. Either we are technically illiterate (thus not able to figure out the intricacies of pictures) or immoral (creating multiple accounts to skew a facebook group), or where conservative opinion turns out to be correct, to imagine that there is some nefarious conservative cabal working to usurp all that is good, right, noble and intelligent (like abortion, gay marriage, and nature-worshipping forms of conservation). It can’t possibly be that intelligent, undersatnding, and well-travelled people who have duly and open mindedly considered the evidence have come to an opinion diametrically opposed to them.

And see, I understand why. For me, this rant is far more insulting than should be acceptable for a Christian. It exposes my desire to feel more righteous than others, which is simply evil. I am called to believe that others are better than I am, and thus that my enemies may not have all of the evils that I know dwell within me. I will need to repent of this when I calm down.

This leaves Christians at a disadvantage though, as it should eliminate our ability to be unfair in debate. We have no right to assume that people are cheating in elections (though they may be), or caricaturing others unfairly (unless we have actual proof of that caricature, and even then we see it as an honest mistake on their part, not a nefarous desire to promote hatred. We cannot impugn motives based on circumstance or assume malfeasance outside of proof, and because of that we lose the single most powerful weapon in the arsenal of modern public debate, inneuendo.

Author: Stephen Dawe

Steve is a part-time vocational elder Calvary Baptist Church, St. John's as well as a full-time student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in the Religious Studies Department.