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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