I just read this article entitled “Religion Can Go To Hell“. It was written by a college student at the University of Buffalo. It disturbed me. My first gut wrenching reaction was that I should rush off and write an email to the guy and tell them that his friends are right and that he’s going to hell. That his ideas about having a relationship with Jesus are so whack that he’s going to miss the eternal boat!
After regaining some sanity, I realized that this author is not unlike a lot of people today who have turned off Jesus because they have been turned off of religion. The overly judgemental attitudes of some “Christians” end up leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who are starving for something to fill the emptiness inside them. In this case, those bad experiences just reinforced his own faith commitment that there is no God.
You see, every person has a faith commitment. The difference is what they have faith in. I choose to have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sins as a means of gaining eternal life. He chooses to put his faith in his belief that there is no God. That once his life ends, that’s it. Nothing else. He says that I can’t prove that there is a God. I say that he can’t prove that there isn’t a God. We both have faith commitments.
So, the question is out there. As a Christian, I know that I am supposed to tell others of the salvation of Jesus Christ. I know that the old ways of condemnation – “scaring the hell out of you” – don’t work. The key is to enter into a dialog with people through real and intentional caring relationships. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Once they trust you, they will be much more open to “hearing” you. They will honestly start considering what you have to say because you have invested time in building a relationship with them. G. K. Chesterton said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” That means that you can’t shut your mind on something solid unless you open it first. Building the relationship is the first step in getting your friends to open their minds to the possibility that their faith commitment may be flawed. It will allow them to question their beliefs and other beliefs. This is the time when you can present Jesus in His true light. That as a Savior that is waiting for them to answer the knock. In his case, Jesus is waiting to come back to him.
I will be praying for this guy. Who knows, maybe he’ll run into some other Christian who just wants to be friends.
(A good book for skeptical college students to read is “Ask Me Anything” by j. budziszewski (aka Professor Theophilus).