John Dere at the Christian Post‘s Crossmap blog has some advice for Christians who have atheist friends… Which is strange because, once you hear the tips, it becomes pretty obvious that Dere has no atheist friends.
1) EXPECT CRITICISM.
Don’t take it personally when your atheist friends make fun of your faith in Christ.
People have been persecuting Christians for over 2,000 years, so don’t be blind-sighted by nasty comments and subtle jabs at your faith. Instead pray for your atheist friends as much as you can.
First of all, if people are mercilessly mocking you, they’re not your friends.
You get the feeling that Dere is referring to criticism of Christianity, not Christians, and it’s not persecution to criticize bad ideas. (In fact, good friends should point out when their friends are being irrational.)
Also, if Christians have been persecuted for this long, I’d love to know what Dere thinks about atheists, Muslims, women, and the LGBT community… basically, all the groups that have suffered at the hands of Christians. There are places in the world where it’s hard to be a Christian, but the U.S. sure as hell isn’t one of them.
2) DON’T CAVE IN TO PEER PRESSURE.
God calls Christians to live a life of purity, so check to see if your Christian character backslides a bit when you’re around your atheist friends.
Do you drink more, curse more, and generally sin more whenever you spend time with non-Christian friends? If so, then it may be time to evaluate whether or not peer pressure is getting the best of you.
How could we forget?! All atheists are immoral heathens who sin constantly and pressure their Christian friends to join in…
As if Christians do nothing wrong unless atheists are around them.
3) SHOW THEM LOVE.
As follow of Christ, it is of upmost importance that you love God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength. Additionally, Jesus requires that his follows love their neighbors as themselves.
Treat your atheist friends the same way that you would treat your Christian friends: with love, respect, honor, and decency. Although you and your atheist friends may hold different worldviews, nothing should stop you from showing them the incredible love of Christ.
Only on a list like this would Christians need to be told to be nice to their friends, despite differences in worldviews.
I guess atheists are incapable of being good friends to other people and treating them with love and respect and honor and decency. It takes a Christian to show us how to do all of these things… and then try to convert us.
What about respecting the other person and trying to understand why they might believe whatever they believe? What about asking them questions about how they came to those conclusions? What about putting aside religious differences and finding common interests?
None of those were good enough to make the list, I guess.
If Dere has any atheist friends — which is doubtful — he should share his article with them and gauge their reactions. If they’re true friends, they’ll tell him he’s suffering from a persecution complex and should get some help.
(via Grisham — Thanks to Robert for the link!)