We have, in fact, entered a new era in freedom of speech in the western world. We can even mention “god,” if we’re sure to mentally lower-case the “g.” No one will smack us down for referring to a higher power if we keep it generic. After all, generic is inclusive. Totally appropriate, because in the end, we all worship the same god, whatever we may call her. (Or her/him? Or ze, sie, hir, co, or ey ? Hmmm. let's just cut to the chase and say “them” as the latest in third-person-singular pronouns.)
Really, we can say almost whatever we want about deity these days. Just as long as we don’t mention Jesus Christ, or sin, or judgment, or any other terms that are exclusively Christian. And just as long as we don’t exalt the Bible above any other “holy” book.
I was reminded of this the other day, when reading a Facebook page focusing on Green Bay, Wisconsin, my hometown. A man had posted a very pleasant, politically correct little essay about how everyone in the world worships the same god, whether that would be Vishnu or Allah or Buddha or any other divine being. He personally was Christian, he said, apparently unconcerned about, or perhaps unaware of, the Bible’s warnings against idolatry. But let’s not go there, folks; let’s all just agree to live in a world of permanent kum ba yah, okay?
I thought briefly about letting the man’s claims pass, thought a little more about how many people might read it and be swept into his way of thinking, and thought even more about the eternal consequences of such thinking. And so I wrote a straightforward response along these lines:
“Actually, no, we don’t all worship the same god. Christianity says Jesus is God the Son. But Islam says there’s one god named Allah and he has no son. Hinduism says there are millions of gods. Buddhism says there’s no god. And the New Age says you are god."
I couldn't let it go at that. “I actually researched this all for over a year at the turn of the millennium," I continued, "after finding that the scientific evidence for a creator is overwhelming. Even though I didn’t want to become a Christian, figuring that Christians are boring, I could hardly dismiss my findings: There’s not a smidgeon of evidence that any other religion is true, whereas the Christian Bible contains “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) testifying to its inerrancy and divine inspiration.”
I then invited other members of this group to check out the evidence I’d uncovered, providing links to my own “proof” page, as well as to a page on my memoir—a 2008 Thomas Nelson book describing my intellectual journey from atheism to Christianity. I pointed out that the book is available used on Amazon for under $2, that only the publisher profits from the sale of a new copy, and that you can even find it free online at places like books.google.com.
What do you suppose the reaction was to my post?
Yup. What I’d written was apparently the worst kind of heresy. I might as well have suggested that the Vikings are a better team than the Packers could ever hope to be.
“This is not the place for that sort of talk!” said someone who turned out to be the administrator of the page. “The majority of our members are NOT INTERESTED!”
Oh, I replied, that’s funny, because according to Pew Research, over 70% of Americans still identify as Christian. “But if that’s indeed the case,” I typed, “couldn’t they just read the first line of the original post, see that it didn’t interest them, and skip the entire thing?”
By this time a number of people had added their own comments, one or two supportive of my post.
“This is not the place for this kind of talk!” the administrator repeated. “You are just trying to reach a huge audience – we have over 14,000 members!”
I didn’t bother reminding him that I had nothing to gain from reaching his coveted huge audience. “But seriously,” I replied instead, “if someone’s not interested, can’t he or she just skip it and move on to the next post?”
“I’m not going to argue with you!” the administrator raged. “This entire post is being taken down immediately!”
Well, I guess he told me! And indeed, I’ve learned my lesson: the name of Jesus is no longer welcome outside of genuine Christian circles, and truth has become irrelevant.
But maybe, just maybe, in the 10 minutes that this post was live, one lost soul read it, followed the link to this website, and heard—perhaps for the first time—that there’s plenty of evidence proving Christianity true, and that eternal life is available exclusively by repenting and trusting in Jesus Christ. That’s my prayer, anyway.
If not, there’s always next time. The administrator, you see, was apparently so livid over my heresy that he forgot to toss me out.