A journalist wrote today that some people want religion banned from the public domain. That is, they want less debate about it and to suppress the expression of opinion by those who practice a faith. The writer put it this way: "..they do not support religious toleration because they believe that religious convictions are the cause of so much serious and enduring harm in the world."
For one thing, this attitude clashes with freedom of belief. It is dangerous. The worst dictatorships in the world's history have tried denying people freedom of belief; and apart from being evil in principle, it never works in practice. All that comes of it is misery, strife, and the eventual collapse of that dictatorship. No way should a person be forced to practice a religion. You can't truly force someone to believe something anyway. It is pure humbug to try that. And no way should a person be denied the right to their beliefs in living a faith. To do that denies a human their humanness. It is trying to stop them thinking and feeling. But all that is well known. I'd like to put a slightly different angle on the issue.
I did not become a Christian until I was nearly 25 years old. That was after growing up in the 1960s and 70s. That was the time of the Vietnam War, Woodstock, the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Timothy Leary suggesting that LSD should be put in water supplies so that everyone was on a permanent drug trip. That was when widely followed rock singers like The Beatles went into experimenting with mind-altering drugs, and the big spiritual thing was eastern mysticism. There was any amount of publicity given to gurus and yogis teaching transcendental meditation; workshops in 'communing with the cosmos'; and the hippy idea of free love. Living in the Western world at the time, you saw all that. There were huge race riots in parts of the U.S. and big changes in Europe and Australia. And at the end of it all, there was a huge sense of "Yeah, right...what now?"
Richard Dawkins wrote "The God Delusion" and claimed to have shot down the whole idea of belief in God. Clever people have been ridiculing Christianity for years. And I'm telling them that I became a Christian because it had answers that they did not have.
Compare them to the Gospel, and they just can't match it.
What I'm saying next is not meant to be hurtful to any particular person. And it applies to me as well. The fact is, no human I ever knew could stack up against God as someone to put your trust in. It's not likely that someone like Richard Dawkins would ever bother speaking to me, but if he did I could say "You just haven't got it!"
All human individuals fail at some time. That goes for their ideas and teachings as well. The thing that rises above them all does what none of them can, is what we see in the God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
I will respect anyone's right to believe what they choose. Be an atheist, a Hindu, rationalist, take your pick. That is your right, to believe what you want. But never try persuading me by scorning Christianity. The more people try that the more they reveal their own smallness in the face of it. I respect others' beliefs, but they need not waste their time trying to tell me they've got something better. I've seen a lot and that's where I've ended up.