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Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 06:25 AM
So here’s a little known fact: Christianity is legal in China. Basically, if you are Chinese, or visiting China, you have the right to be a Christian–you just don’t have the right to practice Christianity. You’re not allowed to talk about it in public. You’re not allowed to tell your friends what you believe, even if prompted. You’re allowed to meet in private, but only if nobody knows about it. So the moral of the story is that Christianity is legal, but not practicable–which, of course, means that it’s not legal at all.
The basic problem is that people who are not Christian want Christianity to be reduced to some cognitive assent to basic principles and they want that cognitive reduction to remain private. Or to put it another way, non-Christians want Christianity to simply be the acceptance of a few quirky ideas with which only certain ignorant and delusional people could possibly agree; and they want Christians to keep those ideas to themselves.
I have recently encountered an articulation of this expressed in the following way: “The Christians that I respect aren’t those who go around talking about their religion, but those who quietly live their religion. . .” adding later that “Talk is cheap.” This person basically asserts that the form of Christianity that deserves respect is one that is “quiet,” doesn’t talk, doesn’t make itself known in any public manner, except to behave in a way that doesn’t bug anyone. Christianity is lower than a child because at least a child gets to be seen if not heard, but Christianity is expected to be respectful of others by being neither seen nor heard.
So, let me get this straight. In a world where I turn on the TV and see sex, sex, sex–in all forms, with people doing it whenever, with whomever, and apparently whatever they like, it’s offensive for me to say that love is what’s important. I turn on tv and I see violence and people killing other people for entertainment, it’s offensive for me to say that we were made to live peaceful lives. I turn on the tv and see people backstabbing others and emotionally raping people for money and it’s called “reality tv” but it offensive for me to say that all people have dignity and worth and should be treated accordingly. I go to the news stand and see magazines that are a thong and a nipple patch away from being pornography, but it’s offensive for me to ask the simple question of “What’s the difference between this magazine and playboy?” In a world of violence and sex and greed and corruption it’s Christianity that offends people? Give me a break! If you’re not offended by all the crap that is a part of our mainstream culture, then you’re incapable of being offended! The only way anyone could possibly be offended by Christianity in this world is if they know that what they are doing is wrong and they just don’t want to hear about it.
But my question is this: why does everyone else get to be vocal about what they believe, but I, as a Christian, have to keep my mouth shut and live a “quiet” private faith out of view of everyone else so that I don’t offend them? Why don’t the secular evangelists ever have to be quiet?
Basically, America is the new China. In America you have the right to be whatever religion or lack of religion that you want, you just don’t have the right to be public about it. You can say what you believe behind closed doors, or in private gatherings like churches, but you can’t be vocal about it in any legitimate public arena or you’re guilty of being offensive and insensitive. While at the same time, the anti-Christian faith of secularism and pop-culture are preaching its values and faith both publically and privately. You have the right to be Christian as long as nobody can see or hear it, but you have the right to be anti-Christian whenever and wherever you want. So like China, Christianity is legal as long as it is rigidly demarcated within clearly defined boundaries.
Here’s the problem with Christianity: it is not private and it is not quiet. I mean, you find out some really good news and try to keep it to yourself. I had fifty people tell me that Led Zepplin got back together. They just couldn’t keep it to themselves. Just imagine if they found out some good news that really mattered.
So I’ll make this deal with non-Christians, secularist, and everyone else who believes that I should reduce my life to some private, quiet Christianity: When you stop shoving your values, your beliefs, your agenda, down my throat and stop telling me that I’m being narrow-minded because I don’t share your values, beliefs, and agenda, then I’ll stop being so damned offensive. When you start practicing what you preach by keeping what you believe both private and quiet, then I’ll return the favor. I’ll shut up when you do!
Until then, if Christianity offends you, then get ready to be offended–because I’m about to become the most offensive man you’ve ever seen.