I have had the incredible opportunity from playing music and touring, to travel the world a little, and travel the United States a lot. Like, seriously a lot. I’ve played over a thousand shows, played in every state except Wyoming, oddly, and am probably approaching 1 million miles of US interstates. Yea, that’s a lot of truck stop toilet experience. The most valuable thing about this travel, has been the amount of people, and more specifically the diversity of people that I encounter both on the road and online.
Over the last 10 years, I have directly observed and interacted with an increasing amount of people who plainly, publicly, and intensely espouse a position that is anti-God or anti religion-entirely.
I am GLAD that this is the case.
I am glad for a few reasons.
First, I am not worried that less people are believing in God these days. I don’t even think that is the case, but rather that more people are willing to OWN UP to the fact that they do not believe in God or are unwilling to submit to Him. Because of this higher level of transparency, we can have more interesting dialogue between groups.
It’s up to you and me to be engaged so that people seeking truth can have some help finding it. I find that nominal, passive “Christians”, who actually belong to the non-Christian category, are probably less likely to encounter the real Jesus than a truth-seeking atheist. Additionally weeding out the true believers from the nominal will hopefully help lessen the perception of hypocrisy in Christianity, although even true believers are not immune from hypocrisy, me for example.
Secondly, I am simply glad that people are comfortable enough with ME to be honest and real. While they almost certainly know where I stand, they are able to say directly AND POLITELEY that they totally disagree with the most important thing that I care about. This is in person at least, online… not quite so polite. I think this is worth cultivating as a person; to be someone that is welcoming of other people’s views, especially ones that are opposed to yours. You will learn a lot this way and you will serve others well this way. I picture Jesus as having this particular quality. I do not think he was a crafty wordsmith, skilled in the art of shut down with a need to prove himself right.
Thirdly, I am glad that diverse people are interacting at all. This is something that 10 years ago was much less common in the music scene. I know this is the trend in other areas of culture as well. This is a good thing and an interesting thing and sometimes a highly entertaining thing. It is typical now at an Emery show to meet a 16 year old girl who thanks me for being “a hero for Christ” and the drunk aggro nu metal guy behind her is trying to high-five me and tell me that “Emery F%#&*!& rocks!! “ This gets even more bizarre at living room shows. Christian bands used to only play with Christian bands and have Christian fans, same for straight edge, and many other genre/movements. (I do imagine white power bands to be the exception as I’m pretty sure they are still a very sectioned off group.)
Christians: It is great to be around like-minded people, but if you want your cause to grow and affect people then you need to be able to find things you have in common with OTHER types of people and genuinely allow yourself to interact with them. If you only keep it within your own camp, then something is wrong. You are either AFRAID of the world, or selfishly, just participate in the little club you are in because of how IT serves YOU. You may want to reflect on these questions.
a. Would you be concerned that someone may say of you, , “He can’t be a Christian. Look at who he associates with. Look who he treats with dignity, respect, and love. They said this about Jesus.
b. The Bible says be salt of the earth and light to the world, “earth” and “world,” meaning the unredeemed aspects of existence. Are you doing this?
People other than Christians (other faiths as well as Atheist): Thank you for being willing to interact with us. We know we can be dorky, mean, and sometimes pretty rude to you. We know we are not better than you are and most of us simply want to share something awesome with you. We are just kind of bad at it. I do ask that you actually give credit and be open to what Christians think as well. There are many people far smarter than you or I that truly hold beliefs that you may regard as stupid. It will not serve you well to be closed minded to the possibilities of things that you say are unprovable. You too are subject to many biases of culture, and upbringing that lead to potential delusion.
a. Are you even open to the possibility that you could be wrong about Christianity? If not, would you have to label yourself somewhat closed minded in the same way you label Christians?
b. Do you safely dismiss Christianity on the basis of its followers’ imperfections, hypocrisy, short-comings, and ignorance? Or do you take into consideration that folks like you are also imperfect, hypocritical, and ignorant about many matters and that this shouldn’t be used as my evidence against the validity of your stance?
What do you think?
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