Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Tis the Season.

For decades Christians have been hectored regarding tolerance for other religious beliefs or atheism. We wonder whether the self-proclaimed foes of Christianity and its traditional Catholic or Protestant expressions even understand its essence: the reconciliation of Man with God, Man's salvation through Him, and the spiritual transformation of Man by God. This Christian claims no more than epsilon of such understanding, but enough he believes to assert that no human power can bring people to God, but God himself provides this force (through the Holy Spirit). Christians can only bear witness to others of God's grace. Christians can best provide this witness through humble, pious and compassionate living. Tolerance for the religious beliefs of others is axiomatic to Christian life. (Perhaps some would accuse this Christian of advocating a "post-evangelical" life in the world; we think of it more as a "neo-evangelical" life.)

So it is too, during Advent that Christians rejoice at the coming of our Savior, and wish to express our joy of His coming to the world. What others make of this remembrance is for them to decide - Christians should, we believe, understand and accept this for the aforementioned reasons. All that this Christian would humbly ask is that the world not persecute us nor try to humiliate and shame us for our enthusiasm for Advent. In return we present Christmas to the world as a recess from the jungle of everyday living, a respite to provide a time for kindness and civility and love between people.

The poster shown above is a billboard now displayed near a busy thoroughfare an approach to New York City. It ridicules Christians for their beliefs. The spokesman for American Atheists recently stated, “this year, we decided to give the religious right a taste of what war on Christmas looks like.”

We do not understand how this billboard is an attack that is particular to "the religious right" - it appears to be a snide attack on Christians that is completely indiscriminate toward either the Christian "left" or "right". The American Atheists appear to claim that whatever a Christian's political stripes, they are unreasoning boobs for their allegiance to a myth.

So who is the party that really needs to demonstrate tolerance in religious beliefs?