Truth is Offensive

One of the remarkable things about the modern world is the notion that all religious views are of equal worth and value.  Part of this attitude is due to Kant’s influence, which separated religious knowledge from scientific knowledge.  The result of this distinction was that people could avoid arguments on religion because it was no more or no less true than Santa Claus, so why bother. Just tap your religious friend on the head and say “Glad your beliefs work for you.”

The difficulty of course is religions make truth claims.  Certainly Judaism, Christianity and Islam make them. They can all be wrong but they can’t all be right. Either Jesus is who the Apostles said He was or He isn’t.  What Jesus is or isn’t doesn’t depend on my opinion or statement on the matter.  So the question in religious debate shouldn’t be whether the other person’s statements are offensive. The question should be are the statements true? 
Take this web site by an atheist.    He suggests that Jesus was a bastard child. Of course, he conveniently neglected the passages that didn’t fit his worldview but the point should still be, “Is he right?”

Take another site, this one from a Jewish person. He lists a number of reasons why Jesus is a false prophet.  Again the question shouldn’t be, has he offended my Christian sensibilities, the question should be, Is he right?

Let’s look at another site, this one by a Muslim.  This is a lovely site where the webmaster has clearly laid out what Muslim’s believe and don’t believe about Jesus. In particular, he shows that Muslims reject the resurrection.  Now the question shouldn’t be does this blasphemy offend me. The question should be, is Islam correct?

The recent violent protests by Muslim’s over statements made by the Pope should raise many questions for people including Muslims themselves. First, why does Mohammed’s name/reputation have to be violently defended?  Don’t the facts of history clearly speak to the matter? Second, why do you say the Pope should apologize for his offensive comments and not say he should apologize for his lies?  Perhaps this is a translation issue but it would certainly clarify the matter. For people have been offended by the truth all the time. Ask any psychologist who in talking with a psychopath. The psychologist knows the person is a pathological liar and that he will be offended if he was told that. If I weigh 500 pounds, whether or not I am offended by being called fat doesn’t negate the truthfulness of the statement.

Now telling the truth is an important Christian teaching as is compassion. We don’t have to say everything we know. However when it comes to heaven and hell and the eternal destiny of someone’s soul,  we have to tell the truth that Jesus is THE way, THE, Truth, The Life (John 14:6).  He isn’t an optional way to heaven, he is the only way.  If someone is offended by that reality, I can only say, I am sorry you feel that way.   Look at the facts.  I can only wish that religious people spent less time trashing businesses and attacking churches and more time explaining how my understanding of historical facts are wrong. For if they can provide good evidence for their position, it is possible that I might convert.  Until that time, it is hard to hear their message while I am grabbing a broom to clean up the broken windows.

  1. As the western world is predominantly free, the individuals you mentioned have every right to voice their opinion. Or, do they? I do not believe one has the right to criticise and condemn if it causes offence. However, therein lies the problem: Christ is the ONLY way/truth/life and by proclamation of this message one risks causing upset, but as disciples we are commanded to spread the good news. Some will obviously see this action as inflammatory, but God is the same today, as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow and therefore it is him we should be pleasing, not our fellow men. Followers of other religions may feel the same about their god, but ultimately the evidence (and of course our faith) for/in Yeshua stands up to scrutiny when investigated. Can the individauls you mention state the same? We must, and should stand up for what we know to be the truth, but in doing so be prepared that upset may follow. Nevertheless, even when faced with anger and aggression we have to rise to the challenge of loving our enemies.

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