The furor continues over Brit Hume’s simple and accurate about Christianity (it offers forgiveness and redemption) and Buddhism (it does not). The hopelessly ironic “tolerant” crowd and the fake Christians are in an uproar. Their frequent misapplication of the “separation of church and state” (which still isn’t in the Constitution — there is nothing wrong with letting your religious views inform your political views) has morphed into “separation of church and media.” How dare someone express their religious views and try to change those of someone else? My only quibble with Hume is that he didn’t consider it proselytizing. I think it was, but I also think there is nothing wrong with that.
Of course, evangelism should not be coercive. By definition, you can’t force true belief. Yes, false and/or uninformed Christians have done that at times, but it is un-biblical. You don’t judge an ideology based on those who violate its tenets. Consider the rich young ruler, who walked away sad when he didn’t like Jesus’ terms and conditions. Did Jesus run after him and tackle him and force him to believe? Nope. So if God in flesh doesn’t coerce people to follow him, of course his flawed followers should not either.
The title came from this article, which makes similar points:
Free, autonomous individuals not only have the right to hold whatever beliefs they wish, they have a right to change those beliefs — and to persuade others to change as well. Just as there is no political liberty without the right to change one’s convictions and publicly argue for them, there is no religious liberty without the possibility of conversion and persuasion.
Proselytization, admittedly, is fraught with complications. We object to the practice when an unequal power relationship is involved – a boss pressuring an employee. We are offended by brainwashing. Coercion and trickery violate the whole idea of free religious choice based on open discussion.
But none of this was present in Hume’s appeal to Woods. A semi-retired broadcaster holds no unfair advantage over a multimillionaire athlete. Hume was engaged in persuasion.
“Persuasion, by contrast,” argues political and social ethics professor Jean Bethke Elshtain, “begins with the presupposition that you are a moral agent, a being whose dignity no one is permitted to deny or to strip from you, and, from that stance of mutual respect, one offers arguments, or invites your participation, your sharing, in a community.”
Their real objection is that Hume thinks he’s right. Eek!
The root of the anger against Hume is his religious exclusivity — the belief, in Shuster’s words, that “my faith is the right one.” For this reason, according to Shales, Hume has “dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet.”
But consider how illogical it is to criticize Hume for that. Fake Christians like this think they are right in “preaching” that Jesus is not the only way to salvation (despite the 100 passages teachings that in the Bible these phonies claim to believe). They are dissing billions of people by being psudo-Hindus and claiming that all religions lead to God. Authentic Christians don’t believe that. Muslims don’t believe that. And so on.
But if anyone thinks they have the right view of God, his views, the way to eternal life, etc. then it would be profoundly unloving for them to keep it to themselves. Consider how even Penn Jillette, a firm atheist and part of the Penn & Teller comedy / magic team, realizes that Christians should share their faith.
Hat tip: Pastor Timothy: “Again, kudos to Hume for being brave enough to endure the wrath of the left, so that Woods can be free of the wrath from above.”