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Respectful disagreement?

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Published: 20 August 2016 (GMT+10)

George M. recently asked CMI whether we respected the views of those who disagree with us, while acknowledging his own antipathy towards the God of the Bible. Philip Bell’s response follows.

George wrote:

Good Day Sir/Madam.

I was just sending this e-mail to make an inqu[iry]. You obviously have aims, means, motives, desires, to spread your view points with regards to Creationism, God etc. but I wonder if you actually respect other view points; just because you a[re] passionate about your views does not mean you should disrespect other views.

I mean you are all “Christian”, fine and Good for you, but not everybody can be!! and I suppose you have your reasons for being christian and loving God but not everyone can!! Believe [me], I used to love God once but there was no point in doing that !!

Some people (skeptics, agnostics, deists) see the “Biblical God” as wicked, hateful, spiteful, vengeful, authoritarian, controlling and Power-demanding. But having said that even though I may “Hate” the “Christian God” that in no way means that I have any contempt or hatred for people that love and follow him; after all, we all are human beings and you people also deserve respect and love.

I hope you understand.

Philip’s response:

Dear George,

You ask whether or not we respect other viewpoints than our own. The answer is, it is perfectly possible to disagree with someone, while showing them full respect as a person. This is something we certainly strive to do. I don’t claim that we do it perfectly but I think you’ll find that our answers to skeptics and those in opposition to our position are graciously put across—check out creation.com articles for yourself.

You said two things which make me sad for you (though not at all judgmental of you):

  • I used to love God once but there was no point in doing that!
  • even though I may “Hate” the “Christian God” …

I’m encouraged to hear that you believe Christians within CMI deserve respect and love. George, we would seek to show you exactly the same. However, I’m truly sorry to hear that your experiences of life have caused you to reject the God you say you once loved. The Bible is clear that “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). It is because of what God has graciously done in my own life that I am able to love the unlovely and genuinely care (and yes, sometimes weep) for other human beings, including those whose lives are a complete mess. I don’t say this to boast at all (for nothing whatever in me deserves any credit; God alone deserves the credit for any good I’m able to do) but I regularly seek to help people who have come out of prison, those who have mental and social problems, those whom society has rejected. God gives me a love beyond my own natural love, so that I can truly love these people, pray for them (and sometimes cry for them). It is when I seek to abide (remain, stay) in God—to trust Him by faith—that He gives me the power to love beyond my own natural resources and inclinations.

Furthermore, the Bible says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). George, it is not my right to pry into your life, but I’m guessing that some extreme pain or disappointment in your past has caused you to turn your back on God. May I humbly urge you to see the foolishness of turning from the One Person who is wholly true, pure and good (no darkness in Him at all)—and who is able to give you lasting peace. The Devil convinces many people to turn away from the Lord Jesus Christ (from God) when, in fact, it is he (Satan, the Devil) who is the ‘father of lies’ and deceit (John 8:44). I’m not saying for one moment that you’ve consciously listened to the devil. I’m saying he is a trickster, a deceiver. I’ll pray for you, George, that you might turn to Him again and seek His forgiveness. He really is only a prayer away. Might I not encourage you to read the following words of Holy Scripture and take a step of faith to seek the Lord again?

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9)

If you’re still doubting that God cares, I remind you that he delivered up His own dear Son to suffer and die in your place and mine. Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be crucified out of His incredible love for lost sinners like you and me. It was not nails that kept Him on that cross, but his divine love and compassion for people like Philip Bell and George M.

Yours sincerely (and with Christian concern for your immortal soul),

Philip

Readers’ comments

Chad S.
WHen I read this I just began to cry...
I've been in a situation of being Angry at God. Not to the point of Hating God, but many times we have a hard time reconciling our current life experiences with what we believe to be true of God. Often times its comes down to the Question If god is a good God then Why......? He came that we "might have life, and have it more abundantly..." It is not His will that we suffer. But God is a gentleman and will not step beyond whatever authority we decide to give Him or Satan through our decisions. He desperately wants us to know Him. Oftentimes, when we go through the HARD things, God is trying to do something to move us PAST focusing on the problem to focus on HIM (for it is when we focus on HIM that we can walk on water). My personal experience is that it is sometimes VERY DIFFICULT to focus on Him on times of trial. And Satan is MORE that willing to tell us that a "good" God would overstep His bounds to get us out of a mess. It doesn't mean God doesn't want to, but sometimes we cannot receive from God what He so desperately wants to give us because we allow Satan to harden our Hearts against God and we become unreceptive even to His voice; "I know cuz I've been there". I could go on-and-on (oops-already done that), but I Pray for this inquirer and for so many more out there just like them who have reason to hate God. He can make things right - if we let go and let HIM do what He came to do in our lives. I am an example that HE CAN AND DOES fix broken people. BTW- God started with Apologetics to begin to FIX my understanding of Him.
Sheila K.
I wanted to note that George points out that he respects Christians, but he does not really agree with or believe what Christians believe; he does not seem to apply the same perspective that Christians can respect non-Christians, but not agree with the beliefs of the non-Christian. Note that his question does not ask if we respect the person. George writes: "I wonder if you actually respect other view points". A person's "viewpoint" is really their "belief". As a believer of God's Word as truth, I also can not "respect" other belief systems that do not acknowlege God as the only true living God, and Jesus Christ as the only way to God. Respect is defined as "admire, esteem, revere". I can only revere God and his Word. I cannot also revere other beliefs. Yes, as Christians we respect people of other beliefs, but no, we don't respect their viewpoints. This is the same as George's statement that he respects Christians, but he hates the Christian God (that means he hates my viewpoint). George, I have just prayed for you to consider looking into God's Word again to see what it really says. I hope you will read articles at creation.com to help you understand the loving God who gave his son on your behalf.
Katrina M.
Hi George - I would say when I listen to someone who believes in evolution , I respect them as a person and their right to their opinion however I fail to see the value of their opinion. I hope that distinction clarifies things for you.
Graeme M.
George, you say "good for you" (us) being Christians "but not all can be"! Why not?
There is no human being that cannot qualify for the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Ask Him into your life ...as you are, He knows all of your history so it is no surprise to Him, he'll do the 'cleaning' up which will be a 'work in progress' for the rest of your life, as it is for we other Christians. None of us have 'arrived'!
Think about this...without Jesus in your life it is playing 'Russian Roulette' with five of the six chambers of the gun loaded!!
Regards, Gra.
thomas V.
Dear George, a story goes like this: a father was working on the roof top of a 6 storey apartment, and accidently when he looked down he saw his 3 year boy walking towards the front gate leading to a busy road (guard was napping), the father tried his best to get the boy's attention but failed, then he threw a chocolate at the boy, the boy stopped, picked up the chocolate and started walking towards the gate. Then the father threw a small stone directly at him; when the stone hit him, the boy looked up, saw the father, and father could convey his message and saved the boy from an accident or perhaps death. This stone is [a picture of] the suffering God gives us to turn us to Him. Hebrews 12:8 says, if you are not corrected, then you are not His sons, but bastards. And keep in mind, once you turn to Him, you will understand Him and you will start to love Him and then Romans 8:28 will work in your life. As Billy Graham said: "with Jesus I cannot guarantee a comfortable life, but I can guarantee a safe landing." God bless you.
John 8:31-32 says, if you live in My word, you will indeed be My disciples,THEN you will know the truth and truth will set you free.
Jordan C.
George, it is my understanding that you revere love, “we all are human beings and you people also deserve respect and love” but why do we deserve respect and love, and where does this moral understanding come from? To “hate” the Christian God is an emotional condition, not absolutely an objective one, and is often brought upon from emotional reasons usually involving personal realities such as suffering, loss of love, or a loved one, etc. So God gets blamed. Logically God must exist for you to be able to hate Him, otherwise you just hate a concept of God. But it is your concept of God that is incorrect. Christian theology teaches us that God created the heavens, the earth, and all things including mankind. His creation was initially “very good” and free of death and suffering. God created mankind with the capacity to choose to love his maker and to have a relationship with Him. However our ability to love without being given the gift of “free-will” to refuse God’s love, is not love at all but rape. God is not a rapist. He had to give us a choice to refuse Him. Man rebelled against God by choosing to be “gods” themselves, refusing God’s love, care, and protection from death and suffering, by our choosing to “play god.” God withdrew His sustainment and protection because we told Him to leave us alone so that we could play god instead. We brought evil into the world by our free-will. It was mankind who is responsible for the evil we see, not God. Remember, you cannot state that “evil is an objective reality, and then denounce a true source for objective morality.” If evil objectively exists, so to must good, and so then must morality, and so then must a moral law Giver. To charge the Christian God as evil is to misunderstand Christian theology.
John Z.
George, in order to hate God, you must believe he exists. And to condemn God for hating sin, and for other things, while hating God yourself, seems rather ironic and contradictory. The very idea that you can hate God while tolerating people, is the essence of placing the value of people above God. Which is the perennial problem of people, to worship other things above worshipping God. Hope this clarifies some of your thoughts.
Dylan Biggs D.
Sad to see this :( Just pray for him and love him like Jesus would want us to. (Romans 8:26-27) "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

Since, this is 'technically persecution', this verse also applies: (Matthew 5:44) "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

Not to mention, this will apply to George personally: (Ezekiel 36:26) "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

God bless him.
James T.
I find it kinda odd how this person accuses CMI of disrespecting others views when I've seen youtube skeptics showing no respect for others' beliefs. I'm not saying they all disrespect others' views but all one has to do is look up Creationist on youtube and you will get videos of people mocking and even going so far as to call creationists idiots, and creationism child abuse.
Chandrasekaran M.
Neither do I want to pry into George's life. If my memory is correct, I used to argue that Jesus was arrogant when He said that He was the way, and the truth, and the life but now I embrace Him. Jesus the Lord longs to be gracious to every single human being, even to a prodigal son or daughter who hated God but is respectful to others. Moreover, only He can give the peace, a lasting inner or mental peace even when the circumstances remain unchanged. No other worldview other than the Bible worldview can we find this peace. I was made penniless and homeless but I live and have the mental peace from Jesus the Lord. Had I gone back to Hinduism or turned to Atheism worldview I would not be living today. In this fallen and imperfect world, there will be heartaches; Jesus Himself suffered greatly like no other and yet He has overcome the world.

The irony is that Atheists not only remove Jesus the Lord from their lives but they remove Him from others’ lives and from history and science especially from biology. They go well beyond respectively disagreeing with the Bible worldview.
Rocco P.
George is calling on CMI and Christians at large to "respect" opposing views, which deny a Creator -- even when they respectfully point out that they are in contradiction to empirical facts as well. I often have discussions with evolution believers, Muslims, the LGBT community and others who disagree with my viewpoint based on God's revelation in the scriptures. I try my best from my side to answer "with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15) -- but in spite of this I regularly encounter cursing, belittling/mockery and even open threats in return. Whoever doesn't take my word for this they can go to any discussion blog or comment section on YouTube etc. where such discussions/confrontations often take place and see for themselves from which direction the overwhelming majority of foul, abusive, language is coming from.
To top it off the people I have discussions with (face to face or in discussion blogs) then decry me for being disrespectful and intolerant! They may call for tolerance and respect, but in reality what they are demanding is agreement and affirmation.
God is tolerant and even respectful towards people "who like sheep have all gone astray" and gone their own way. He also tolerates the tares and wheat to grow up together -- but He does not show agreement or give affirmation for these wrong routes and does His utmost to bring people back to the truth -- and will in the end condemn such error. We are called to emulate Him.
Joseph M.
What is keeping George M from not respecting or loving Christians or anyone else in the future?


Since he has posted on a creation website, George M should realize that love, hate, etc. means very little and is relative in the only alternative, evolutionary worldview. Natural selection, chance, mutations, reproduction, deep-time rules the roost and that's what matters in the alternative! So the very thing George M objects to which stops him from loving God ("wicked, hateful, spiteful, vengeful, authoritarian, controlling and Power-demanding.") is justified and embraced, if it leads to survival, in evolutionary terms, which George M will have to embrace.

There is no justification in the naturalistic world for loving ALL your enemies because it transcends nature. So the dilemma that George M is in, is that he has to use/borrow biblical standards to justify his anti-biblical God worldview. In the bible it's termed double-minded, in logic it's called a contradiction, in reasoning its called inconsistent.

My advice for him is to think it through rationally using basic logic and the only conclusion will be to turn back to God with a new understanding of love and that the only justification for love and logic is in God.

Isaiah 1:18 (ESV) “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet ..."
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (KJV) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
Jean P.
The Bible also says that God waited a long time before dealing strongly with Israel and also the pagan nations. "Their cup of wickedness is not yet full." Remember that society without loving laws degenerates and causes not only misery for the weak, women and children but also a lot of diseases that result in slow, painful, lingering deaths. This still occurs in some areas of the world. Sometimes He had to say, "Enough is enough."
Hans G.
Today's fashion is to equalize everything and everybody. I can't put the same value on a right and wrong view, like evolution.
George asks for approval for his wrong view via respect. I can't respect a wrong view, neither does God, even with His Divine love.
S. F.
To claim that God is evil and unjust in his actions is a reflection of the corrupt human heart, not an accurate reading of the biblical text.

... The clear biblical narrative is always ignored: that God has made a way that all people can be saved before sin and death are permanently ended. These people (and I was once among them) are not interested in understanding the story, nor do they recognise that at the end of the story, the armies of the world unite in opposition to Jesus and his salvation. In essence, these people want sin and death to continue their reign rather than have Jesus reign and yet in their minds God is the bad guy?

Certainly, the bible is untraditional in its narrative but the very people who claim it is fiction are unable to read it as fiction and understand the basic storyline and roles of the characters.

That's disingenuous and it reveals plenty about the natural and evil tendency of humanity to reject God, though he is perfect in every way.
Gina T.
Hi George M.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You're right when you say many people see 'the “Biblical God” as wicked, hateful, spiteful, vengeful, authoritarian, controlling and Power-demanding.'

There seems to be an almighty contradiction in Scripture. On one hand God is described as all loving and all giving, and on the other hand, detestably harsh acts are attributed to Him.

The answer is simple. In Colossians 1:17 and Romans 11:36 it states that God holds all creation together and everything exists by His power (NLT good language). Through His awesome technology and power, moment by moment the earth spins on its axis, the sun fuels photosynthesis, bees buzz and our lungs breathe.

But Israel had seriously departed from the source of its prosperity and security. So far from God's way had Israel wandered that even the heathen prostitutes were learning from them (Jeremiah 2:33).

Israel had abandoned God. They didn't want Him. He was forced to leave as love cannot put itself where it is not wanted. God was left with no alternative but to commit His 'strange act' (Isaiah 28:21) and abandon His children. Without His presence holding the environment together, literally 'all hell breaks loose.'

On nearly every page in Jeremiah it is stated that God was forced to abandon Israel. Have a read of it. Then have a look at Deuteronomy 32:20, 29-30. Indeed if you read Scripture with this view, you will find evidences everywhere of God's 'strange act.'

This gives so much life and clarity to the statement that in the end every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that God is totally righteous, fair and just. God is not a destroyer. He is totally righteous and good. He is love.
Terry D P.
With respect, regarding this…
'Some people (skeptics, agnostics, deists) see the “Biblical God” as wicked, hateful, spiteful, vengeful, authoritarian, controlling and Power-demanding. But having said that even though I may “Hate” the “Christian God” that in no way means that I have any contempt or hatred for people that love and follow him; after all, we all are human beings and you people also deserve respect and love.' —George

... God came in human form calling on us repent and thus help us stop being wicked and hateful to others (i.e. to help us stop sinning against others). And so He said this:
"Whoever listens to you [a Christian] listens to me [Jesus]; whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the One [the Father/Holy Spirit] who sent me." — Luke 10:16
So how can an unbeliever claim that he simultaneously hates God and loves and respects the Christians who bring him the message of salvation?
'SO JESUS cried aloud: "When a man believes in me, he believes in him who sent me rather than in me; seeing me, he sees him who sent me. But if anyone hears my words and pays no regard to them, I am not his judge; I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the man who rejects me and does not accept my words; the word that I spoke will be his judge on the last day." ' — John 12:44-50
An unbeliever who says he loves and respects Christians while rejecting God’s message of repentance and salvation from sin is being, methinks, a tad disingenuous.

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