Sunday, December 12, 2010
The first three of these belief systems all use subjugation, ridicule and peer-pressure to gain and maintain acceptance.
Those who lived in a Communist State had to forever be looking over their shoulder in a perpetual state of suspicion that their neighbours and even their own children may denounce them to the State authorities as ‘counter-revolutionaries’. Severe beatings and even death was a constant fear.
Similarly Islamic States use cruel punishment techniques for those who dare to question the status-quo. Women are kept on a horrifyingly short leash, being cudgelled by their husbands, brothers or fathers at the slightest whim. All this is not just condoned, but promoted by Islamic scripture.
Atheism fits right in with these two, only differing in the degree of chastisement. The primary tool in use by atheism to gain and sustain social and intellectual prominence is ridicule and scorn. Even the slightest mention of secular dissent is immediately countered with a pillory of public humiliation and castigation.
And this is where Christianity differs markedly. Christianity seeks to convince and cajole rather than use the atheist tactic of criticism and castigation. Christianity does not wish for domination and subjugation like Communism, Islam and Atheism. But instead endeavours to show the love and compassion shown to us by Christ.
We let our actions do the talking. Rather than force people to outwardly conform, we would much rather it to come from their hearts in an honest and willing display of acceptance.
I’m sure many people would object and point to various Christianised governments and institutions in the past who didn’t act this way, but rather adopted the methods of the other three worldviews.
Yes it is true that medieval rulers used Christianity to subjugate and even terrorize their peoples. And yes it is true that even this previous century saw Christianised governments enforce Christianity on the population through things such as Christian prayer in State run institutions, and the prohibition of teaching evolution in schools. But my point is that this is not what the teachings of Christ teach us as I will demonstrate.
Christ led the way, giving us an example of how we are to approach the heathen world around us.
A prime example is found in John 8:2-11. After answering the Pharisees in their challenge over a women caught in the act of adultery, He did not chastise and condemn the woman. He did not arrogantly pronounce the law that she must adhere to. And He did not ridicule and shame her into submission:
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
No, instead He showed her complete love and compassion, with only a gentle reminder of what she new to be wrong anyway.
A firm hand only serves to harden the heart against your rules, and guarantees hostile rebellion.
Conversely, a gentle and loving hand cajoles and convinces, and ensures honest devotion.