15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. – 1st Peter 3:15-17
I’ve actually been mulling this for some time, and again in the past day or so. My wife tried to influence me on this issue quite a while ago as well, asking me what purpose and reason my demotivational poster mocking Elton John’s homosexuality served. Recent events have served to help me finally make the decision to take this step.
I’m referring to blogging and commenting with gentleness and respect. At the very least, I’ll stop the snarking and mockery aimed at irreligiousity for a start.
I’ve procrastinated taking this step for a long time simply because… I’ll be honest… I enjoyed being snarky, sarcastic and being a standard GIFTed Netizen (anonymity notwithstanding). And seriously, at this point I still really don’t want to end up like a goody-goody Mother Teresa/Ned Flanders Lite type. *Shudder*
I’ve often said that I’ll accept and admit it if an argument or reasoning wins me over, and this is now the fourth such major concession I can recall (preceded by: an apology to Yuki regarding insinuating at a gay pastor’s partner, re-opening to the validity of macro-evolution due to DNA evidence, and accepting that religious morality undergoes human interpretation which makes it relative in practice).
In any case, it’s a light cross to carry compared to, say, getting beheaded in Nigeria or Ivory Coast for refusing to renounce Jesus – but to me, it’s a pretty significant sacrifice.
Did comments from Ron, Sheila and others stir a sense of guilt, shame and regret in me? I’ll have to swallow my pride and admit so, mostly from Ron since he’s been around longest. At the very least, they pushed me closer to the edge of decision. I also found getting neutral and non-combative replies from Ron to be refreshing and welcome. My thanks to them for being God’s way of making me see the light.
Do I hope that through my small sacrifice and somewhat trivial change, I might influence them towards Christ? Yes, of course – at the very least, I do not want to learn at the final judgment that my attitude was what stood in the way of their accepting eternal life. With that perspective, it’s actually an incredibly small price to pay for a potentially infinite gain.
The taking up of replying to comments by Zack and Simon also helped. wits0 and hutchrun too, as well as the other(s) who occasionally stop by with ever-changing nicks. Not feeling the need to join in every discussion – in fact, actively keeping out of some debates – allowed me to step back and observe instead of leaping into the fray with guns blazing. It de-personalized the comment threads and gave me the opportunity to reflect. Thanks to you and everyone else who has contributed to this blog.
And of course, I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for helping me go through with this decision. May He give me the discipline and will to see it through. Amen.
So here’s to swallowing my pride and – finally – acting like the better Christian that I’ve known I should be.
Old habits are hard to break, so if anyone catches me falling back into them, here’s my explicit permission to call me out on it.
I’ll still be defending my beliefs in the meantime, of course – just that I’ll try not to fall into outright mockery and insult mode, beginning with non-religious atheism and hopefully growing from there. Even if commenters make it oh so easy, and so, so richly deserve it.
Whoops… See how easy it is? This will take some practice to determine just where the boundaries are.
Sigh, turn the other cheek and all…
PS. This update will be added to all posts regarding irreligious atheism.