Angie says, “It sure is chilly out there.” Actually, it really is chilly. There are people “out there” who use “racism” as the all-purpose category to describe anything they don’t like or disagree with. Then they have trouble making distinctions between worldviews that are utterly and entirely different. In this view, there are two basic worldviews: “stuff I hear on NPR and stuff I never heard on NPR.” With this very provincial and naive grid firmly in place, they then proceed to conflate radical Islam, European neo-fascism, resurgent Christianity, and NASCAR stock racing. “I never heard about any of this stuff. It must be all the same.”
A facile transition from a discussion of David Irving (a gentleman I had never heard of) to the local contrived hysteria over slavery — as though a professional Holocaust denier is the in the same category as a Christian minister believing 1 Timothy 6:1-5 — is nothing more than a thinly disguised smear, whether intended or not. Holocaust deniers would be easier to fight, so let’s hint that this is part of our general Concern about Christ Church. The only problem with this is that it is what theologians of another era used to call lying.
We would have been easier to fight if we actually were racists. But we are not, and that tactic has now been generally abandoned. Oops. We would have been easier to fight if we actually were holding a conference on slavery. But we are not, and that tactic has now been generally abandoned, even by the newspaper. Darn. Now we would be easier to fight if only (“please, let it be true!”) we had been the ones to invite Irving to speak. But alas for you guys, I had never heard of him. Maybe he is coming here because the word has gotten out that the good folks of Moscow will believe virtually anything. The last two months has given us a great deal of evidence to this effect. If someone came to you and said, “Wilson does this or that,” what wouldn’t you believe? Would you draw the line at me kicking puppies? Cannibalism? Teaching business ethics at the UI? People who are shopping lies about us are certainly operating in a seller’s market. “Oooo! Can I have one?”
And this brings us to the basic point, yet again. Christ calls us to repent of our sins, and this includes the sin of believing lies. One of the ten commandments prohibits bearing false witness against your neighbor. And like it or not (“Not in our town!”) we are your neighbors. If we differ, then let us discuss it. Let’s debate it. But breaches of the ninth commandment are always a fundamental corrosive in any community. Let us stop lying about our differences even if those lies make a position you reject easier to defeat. All such victories are illusory, and the effect on public discourse is devastating. Jesus died on the cross in order to forgive sin, including this particular sin of slandering those who represent His Word.
Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.