Bobblehead Christians

Recently I’ve developed an online relationship with a self-avowed atheist. We found some common ground in the issues of politics at the time, and I was intrigued by his public claims that there is no God, so I pressed into him for more specifics about his belief system.  At first he was a bit evasive, no doubt due to many previous arguments he’d had with knucklehead Christians.  But I was persistent, kind, talked a bit of smack and tried to bait him out to share with me more about what he believes. I’m happy to say that he is opening up and starting to share his heart with me.  We’re moving beyond pat answers and into worldview, which is where I want to go with him.

I have no agenda at this time beyond seeing what kind of evidence he has used to arrive at his conclusions.  Of course, I do care about the eternal destination of his soul as well, but contrary to popular Christian evangelistic tactics, that is my endgame, not my first play.  I’ve taken a genuine interest in my new friend.  He gave me the privilege of looking into his heart, and I have reciprocated.  I’m meeting him where he is at – on the field of logic and reason.  We’ve both agreed that we like one another (we’ve not yet met in person) and we’d like to keep the discussion going.  I’ve given him honor, and he has done the same.  I’ve sought to earn the right to hear his heart, honestly, genuinely and without judgment.  I’m hoping he’ll join me in a public discussion here on my blog.  He’s thinking about it.

Contrast this with the approach of most Christians who, rather than being “fishers of men” are out with their 44 magnum study bibles hunting for souls to bag.  The typical evangelical mindset is focused on one goal – to “win someone to Christ” by getting them to pray the “sinners prayer”.  The victim person, that stands before them is a wretched miserable sinner who needs to repent for their wicked ways and get right with God (like me!), rather than an individual with deeply held convictions based upon life experience, teaching, etc. who may have little interest in hearing what we have to say, especially when they believe us to be fools.

It’s both comical and sad to see how most Christians approach evangelism. Either we remain silent in complete violation of the Lord’s command to go and make disciples, or we temporarily turn into some crazy aberrant religious psycho that doesn’t seem to be capable or rational thought.  Just look at the discussions that occur between atheists and Christians and you’ll find it littered with scripture quotations.  What kind of logic uses scripture to make a case with someone who has already determined that it’s not true?  How dumb is that?

I’ve found a lot of common ground with my new friend. He has examined Christianity through the lives of Christians and found it to be a very unattractive and unbelievable, thus he rejects God.  His logic is flawed, no doubt about it, and in time, I hope to change his conclusions by challenging his logic.  But I’ve looked through his eyes, and based on what he knows now, I find I agree with him more than not because of the hypocrisy, animosity and downright meanness that is found in many Christians – especially those who are “evangelistic” by nature, because they are often driven by religious spirits rather than being led by the Holy Spirit.

We used to have a guy in town that I called “Bumper Sticker Guy”.  This brother was so “radical for Jesus” that he literally covered his car with Christian bumper stickers, emblems, and anything else he could get to adhere to his car that proclaimed his message.  This guy would go out on the main drag and simply cruise in circles, driving up and down the block “witnessing” for Jesus.  While I do not doubt his sincerity, I’m amazed that he actually believes that anyone is going to embrace his message.  As a believer, I was more than offended by his approach, and desperately wanted to run him off the road lovingly confront him every time I saw him doing his thing.  This, my friends is what causes the world to think that Christians are idiots.  Would you vote for someone that shared the beliefs of Bumper Sticker Guy?  I wouldn’t, that’s for SURE!

Private note to Bumper Sticker Guy if you happen to read this.  I love you in Jesus, and I admire your boldness to be a witness for Jesus, but for God’s sake, please peel all that crap off your car and just start loving people.  You’ll be a whole lot more successful and you may live longer.

My friend Peter Lord says we need to “keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. What is the Main Thing?  It’s not soul-winning, or praying, or quoting scripture or worship or another religious activity you can name.  It’s love.  God is love, and love is the evidence that we belong to Him.  Love is an irresistible force.  If love is not present in our conversations with those who do not yet know Him, not only are our chances of success extremely low, our entire motivation is wrong.

We also need to quit checking our brains at the door. We need to know why we believe what we believe, other that “’cause the Bible tells me so“.  Take away a Christian’s bible, and many become powerless to have an intelligent conversation with an unbeliever about why they believe what they believe about God.  We need to examine our worldview and identify the evidence that serves as a foundation for why we believe as we do.  Some of us might be shocked at how thin that foundation really is.  If we’re going to go up against the strongholds of unbelief in the lives of others, we’d best have something more substantial than what the preacher told us last week.

The early Church didn’t have Bibles. They didn’t walk around quoting the Old Testament to the Gentiles.  They had a personal revelation of Christ and they had His love flowing out of their hearts.  Their lives were filled with the fruit of having a close relationship with Jesus.  This was the greatest evidence they could present about the risen Christ.  Yet, I believe they also possessed a divine wisdom and the ability clearly articulate the reason for their faith.  But what really made their case bulletproof was when their faith was tested by the fire.  When the rocks started flying and the whips and chains came out, their faith endured because it was real and the were willing to lay it all on the line for what they believed in.  Suddenly all the words they had spoken carried a lot of authority because they were signed in blood.

Is your faith that real, that solid, so alive that you’re willing to die for what you believe in? If not, stop trying to convince others and work on those foundations.  The world doesn’t need any more bobblehead Christians or Bumper Sticker Guys.  They need to see real faith, in real people, who really know God.

Until next time,

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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