One time I remember hearing the late Earl Nightingale say, "We live in America where a person has the right to be just as wrong as he wants to be." This thought came to mind when I began to think about what I wanted to share with you in this column.
In our Sunday school class we have been studying a book by Dr. David Jeremiah titled "Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World." In one of the chapters, he talks about Bill Maher, who is best known for two nighttime television talk shows. His second show -- Politically Incorrect -- pretty well sums up Maher’s tone, personality and subject matter. As a stand-up comedian, he is known for his acid-tongued commentaries on everything traditional – especially faith. In 2008, he added to his comedic resume by writing and starring in a documentary film called "Religulous" that opened in theaters in October of that year.
His goal was to attack organized religion, especially Christianity and its belief in the Bible. In an interview on the CBS Early Show with host Harry Smith, Maher said, "My motivation (with ‘Religulous’) is to make people laugh. I mean, religion, to me, is a giant elephant in the room of comic gold because, you know, we’re talking about a garden with a talking snake. If you can’t find humor there – people are just used to these stories. That’s why they don’t laugh at them."
Really! Of course, Maher is not the only one who pokes fun at Christianity. Members of the mainstream media and press do it all the time. In our local newspaper we have a columnist by the name of John Brummett, who never misses an opportunity to put people down if they take a stand for Christian beliefs and values, especially Jesus.
I will confess that I used to get pretty upset when I would read or hear someone else attacking my faith, and I suspect this is true for most other Christians as well. As Christians we have been used as a punching bag for too long. However, I finally came to realize the truth of what Earl Nightingale was saying, "We have the right to be just as wrong as we want to be."
Here is the good news for me and perhaps you, as well. All we have to do is consider the source and we will not get upset the next time someone attacks our faith. Now, I don’t say that to be flippant or condescending, but from a literal point of view. Those who attack our Christian beliefs have gained their wisdom in less than a century, and the Bible has been around for thousands of years. When I place things in the proper context, I no longer get upset.
I might add, the Bible will still be around when the Bill Mahers and John Brummetts of this world are long gone. In Matthew 24: 35, Jesus says, "Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will abide forever." Again, so there will be no misunderstanding, this is what I meant when I said, "Just consider the source."
It has never been my attitude, my spirit or my desire to attack someone else for his or her beliefs. I have a deep and abiding faith in humanity, and, while I may not agree, to respect the rights of every person to think and believe as they choose. However, I will not sit idly by and listen to someone else attack my faith without uttering a word in defense. The Bible says to "Be ready always to give an account of the reason of hope that is within you with meekness and fear." Love is really the answer, and when we have love, we are truly blessed.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)