Monday, August 08, 2022

Anonymous Asks (209)

“Why do Christians try to impose their values on others?”

The word “impose” is an intransitive verb that means:

  1. To establish or apply as compulsory; levy.
  2. To bring about by authority or force; force to prevail.

Is this really what Christians do when they preach the gospel? At worst, we might say that they strongly recommend an alternative they believe preferable to the direction our society is currently going. The climate change folks, depopulationists, would-be socialists, vegans, vaccination mandate supporters, LGBTQ+ activists, and a whole host of other opinionated people do precisely the same thing.

But impose? Where is the force in the Christian message? Where is the coercion? Where is even the threat of such things?

Politics and Boycotts

Hmm. Perhaps, then, the question is not really about Christians witnessing to their faith in public, but rather about Christians self-organizing, voting for political initiatives they prefer, or boycotting initiatives they dislike in order to transform the broader society.

Again, how is this any different from dozens of other causes that various groups support and promote? (Except, of course, that Christians generally pursue their idea of social reform peacefully and within the system rather than trying to break the system.) Other groups, both religious and non-religious, organize, vote for what they believe in, and refuse to participate in (and sometimes even try to cancel) the things they don’t agree with. We find all of that quite acceptable, to the point where many in our society will even defend rioting and violence provided it is perceived to be in furtherance of a noble cause.

Deep and Pressing Concerns

Climate change activists are concerned the environment may become unlivable in the near future if we do not change our ways. Socialists are concerned the existing economic hierarchy is unfair. Vegans are concerned about the lives of animals, which die daily by the millions as part of the natural order. Depopulationists are concerned that the earth will not be able to feed its billions of inhabitants some time in the future because of the current rate of population growth. Vaccination mandate supporters are concerned that unvaccinated people will make herd immunity impossible (without a scintilla of evidence that herd immunity is even possible through vaccination). Given the host of variables involved, any of these dire threats to our world may come to pass — or none at all.

Christians, on the other hand, are concerned about a problem that is indisputably universal. If you died within the next 24 hours without knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, as up to 1,722 people do in the US every single day, you would spend eternity separated from the only source of life and joy in the universe. That’s not to say these other issues are unimportant. But the Christian message is about life and death right here and right now, possibly even in the next few moments. It is the single most important message in the history of this planet: that you were born into this world estranged from your Creator, but that God loves you and wants to establish an eternal family relationship with you, which he has made possible through the gift of his beloved Son.

The Authority of the Message

The message of socialism comes with the authority of Karl Marx. It has been proven wrong everywhere it has ever been tried. The messages of depopulationism and climate change come with the authority of statisticians making projections. Statistical projections are as good as the assumptions that underlie them, which are often completely wrongheaded. The message of the LGBTQ+ crowd comes with the authority of a sad, irrational mob unable to see what is painfully obvious to ordinary members of society. The message of universal vaccination comes with the authority of the state on the basis of no hard science at all.

The message of the Christian faith comes with the authority of a man who rose from the dead, appeared to more than 500 witnesses, and declared that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” with the assurance that he will be with us to the end of the age.

Think about that. If you really believed that to be true, wouldn’t you tell other people about it?

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