American Christians ought to quit belly-aching about their faith being under attack. Everybody is under attack these days, especially on the internet. If you feel persecuted for your faith, don’t feel special. Chances are that what you call faith is just your opinion about what God thinks.
Take abortion. Maybe you find it inhumane, as I usually do. You might picket an abortion center and carry a sign with a Bible verse or sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” If the police move you 150 feet back from where you were, you might say your faith is under attack, while I say much smarter ways exist for reaching women who prefer to keep their babies.
But why make this a religious issue? Americans have enough common ground for discussing abortion — when someone’s not poised to smack them with a Bible quote.
Maybe you insist on calling abortion murder. The Supreme Court issued language that protects dismemberment and chemically induced infanticide in the reproductive rights zone known as the womb. Yet you insist on an outdated term like murder.
Why don’t you use less politically charged terminology? An unwanted “product of conception” is being disposed of and you’re whining about being persecuted for your faith. Nobody’s yanking you apart limb by limb or killing you with chemicals. Your faith is not the issue. Restrain yourself and conduct civil conversations with your adversaries. Some are willing.
Another alleged attack on faith is evolution. Many Christians complain that a widespread indoctrination into Darwinian evolution has taken over. Taken over what? What do you teach yourself and your children about the origins of the universe?
I’ve studied evolution hard, and I have more questions and doubts about it than when I started. I believe all that garbage in the Preamble to the Constitution about people being “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
An atheistic Purdue chemist told me recently, “Evolution is just a theory!” He doesn’t rely on it for his understanding of the world, and he isn’t bothered by it. I’m not, either.
People who say we should find truth and meaning for life amid scientific theories of chaos, chance and natural selection are exhibiting extraordinary faith in how they do science. Not too many people laying a loved one to rest or receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer will find comfort in those theories.
But we all live with inner contradictions we don’t have time to sort out. We should be able to have discussions without feeling our faith is threatened.
Is your goal to convince others of your view of creation? I reject all explanations of creation. I keep it simple: “In the beginning, God….”
Some Christians feel their faith is threatened by same-sex issues. Again, why the defensive posture? Church history is full of Christians dividing among themselves over hundreds of lesser challenges. By contrast, Jesus was not sidetracked by challenges, opposition or danger. His forward-moving lifestyle disturbed religious authorities so much that eventually he was the one who was removed.
Christians can be just as bullheaded as all the other groups out there who would rather agitate each other than talk civilly and live respectfully with the results. We are a crybaby nation with a knee-jerk tendency to see differences as threats.
That’s why I don’t like being called a Christian anymore. The name has become a brand of scaredy-cats who confuse their polished, separatist theologies with the teachings of Jesus. He called his followers to a straight and narrow path and said not to expect everyone else to join them. It’s no place for sissies or people-pleasers.
Max T. Russell of New Palestine writes for the international business intelligence and nonprofit communities. Sent comments to dr-editorial@