This past week I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an interesting post by a friend that had attracted a lot of attention. There were about 75 likes and over 25 comments so I was curious to see what people were saying about this controversial issue. The conversation was talking about how Christians force their beliefs on other people and this group was not happy about it. I agree with most of the comments in that there are some Christians that go around telling people they are going to hell for a number of reasons. I experience this every time I go to a baseball game. To be clear, I don’t think this is the best way to evangelize and win people for Christ. The Bible commands believers to share the message of Christ with gentleness and respect.
I scrolled through the comments and noticed self-refuting statements. One person said that no one has the right to judge, but that is a judgement! But as I continued to read, one comment caught my attention. One girl said, “I don’t believe anyone should try to force anything on anyone.” This would make sense if she said that she doesn’t believe that Christians should force their beliefs on anyone, but that is not what she said. She doesn’t think anyone should force anything on anyone. This is absurd! Taken at face value, this means that governments shouldn’t force laws on its citizens, businesses shouldn’t force people to pay for merchandise, and teachers shouldn’t force students to answer correctly on a test. If we truly lived in a world where no one forced anything on anyone, we would live in chaos.
I decided to add my thoughts to the discussion.
I think the heart of the issue is how we view religion. We don’t have a problem with people telling a child that he is wrong when he answers 2+2=5 on a test or if he says that George Washington wasn’t the first president of the U.S. The reason we don’t see this a forcing something on someone is that we believe those answers are objectively true. You either get the right answer or you are wrong. The problem that I mentioned earlier is whether people view religion as subjective and depending on a person’s opinion or if it is objectively true. We don’t force subjective opinions on other people but we do force objective truths. So the question becomes, is there an objectively true religion or is it all subjective opinions?
If Christianity is objectively true, which I am convinced it is, then you either get the right answer or you are wrong, regardless of your opinion. However, Christians need to be able to share this truth with people in a loving and gracious way instead of forcing it down a person’s throat. Telling someone they are going to hell for whatever reason is not the right way to do it.