Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reflections on Truth and Charity in Gainesville, FL

Source: More children from Dove World Outreach Center sent home for wearing Islam is of the Devil shirts | | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, FL

What are we to make of the case where students were sent home from school for bearing a shirt reading “Islam is of the Devil” on it?

The question is whether this is a violation of the student’s rights or whether the school is justified.  There are two perspectives on this: From a perspective of “do unto others…” and a perspective from the belief of the truth of Jesus Christ.

From the Perspective of “Do unto others…”

I would not want to see a shirt, worn by a Fundamentalist student reading “The Pope is the anti-Christ.  Nor would I want to see one worn by a skinhead saying “Kill all Jews and Blacks.”  I would not want relatives of mine to be in a school who permitted such shirts to be worn openly

In Northern Ireland, from time to time there is some rioting which is done by certain Orangemen who march through Catholic neighborhoods posting virulently anti-Catholic invective.  The rioting of course is to be condemned.  However, there would also be no cause for riots if such behavior which sought to be offensively confronting — and it is legal for these Orangemen to march.  I think that I have a right to follow my religion free of harassment.  Now, if we would not want our faith attacked, it follows we must be charitable in how we treat people of other faiths. 

This does not mean we are being religiously indifferent of course.  Nor does it mean we cannot speak to the truth.  I believe Islam cannot be from God because it contradicts what Christ has taught us and the prophets before Christ.  However, I can be civilized and charitable in my opposition to the error of Islam.

From the Perspective of Believing in the Truth of Christ

My thinking is in whatever we do, we ought to bear witness to what we believe.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth and Life we must not hide that faith but proclaim it.  However, how we proclaim it will affect how others receive it.  If I reasonably point out the errors of Islam and why one cannot hold it without denying Jesus Christ was who He said He was, and do so in a civil manner, trusting in God to touch the individuals He wills with grace, any rejection of the truth is no fault of mine.


If I should go “AAAAARRGGHHH!  ALL YOU NON CHRISTIANS ARE GONNA BURN! BURN FOR YOUR EVIL DEMONIC HEATHEN WAYS!” I have not shown the truth of Christ.  I have not borne witness to the truth of Christ.  I have just provided proof of one Christian being an ignorant, bigoted idiot.  In doing so, I have perhaps turned people who might have listened to a civil discourse into thinking that this is a product of Christianity.  Doubtless I will be judged before the Lord on the last day for driving people away from the faith.

Have these youths made any converts with their shirts?  Do we think a Muslim will see this and think “Oh my!  I had better change my mind based on what I read on a T-shirt”?  Or will they decide “Christians are bigoted idiots.  We have to try harder to save them”?

So from the perspective of “doing unto others” and from the perspective of believing Jesus Christ is the way, I think the back half of that T-Shirt was a mistake.  It will not spread the Good News to others.  It will merely cause others to deafen themselves to the Good News.

When we go to spread this Good News to the world, let us remember that how we witness will have an effect on the message.

No comments:

Post a Comment