I have not read the book, nor have I seen the movie of the same name, and I won’t ever read or watch it. It is un-Christian and dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs by anyone who considers him or her self to be a Christian. Here is a review that informs and supports my opinion. It should be your opinion too. Beware.
Okay. This may be a slightly over-the-top paraphrase of a post I recently saw on Facebook, but the gist is definitely the same. Here’s-my-opinion-about-this-thing-I-freely-admit-to-knowing-nothing-about-and-openly-refuse-to-learn-about-but-I-really-want-you-to-take-me-seriously-so-share-with-your-friends-please? Right. There was so much wrong with the original post, days later I am still thinking about it and bothered by it so much that I felt compelled to blog about it even though it’s been over a year (I think) since I posted anything here! Ah, well, there’s nothing like a good agitating Facebook post to get a girl back into the swing of writing.
This particular offending post (or introduction to a post, as the case may be) does not represent the first time I’ve witnessed something like this, though. Unfortunately, it is an appalling and frighteningly common problem I am seeing more and more of these days, not just online, but everywhere. Here’s how the problem usually manifests: A person has all kinds of opinions and beliefs. That person holds on to those opinions and beliefs for dear life, because they like them. Their opinions and beliefs make them feel some kind of way: powerful? smart? justified? superior? something else? They refuse to give any genuine, open consideration to any resource that might challenge their beliefs and opinions with something they don’t like. They don’t want to be wrong because being wrong is much less satisfying than being right and feeling powerful, smart, justified, or superior. Being wrong might make them feel unsure, confused, challenged, or angry. Who wants to feel like that?!
The obvious solution to avoiding any risk of potential personal discomfort is to ignore facts, point fingers, discredit those who disagree with them, and avoid the things that frighten or challenge them, all while holding on to their opinions and beliefs for dear life. After all, they are that person’s life raft and reason for living, all wrapped up into one. It’s a good idea to have a posse of fired-up, like-minded people who can help them hold on when they start to feel weak and tired and who will feed them whatever they want to hear so that they can continue to feel powerful, smart, justified, and superior. Whatever happens, they make sure to be clear that they are doing all of this in the name of Christ, because invoking the name of the Lord when you’re attempting to get other people to see how right you are excuses everything you may be forced to say and/or do in order to be heard and taken seriously, and provides you with a certain level of Constitutional and (mostly) socially-acceptable protection should anything (unintentionally, of course) go awry.
(You *know* I’m being sarcastic here, right? Just checking.)
In all seriousness, pride, ego, and self-righteousness are idols we strive to protect when we use the name of Christ as a sword and shield to serve our own selfish purposes. As people of faith, we are called to rise above the idolatry of self in compassionate, loving, humble service of others. We are called to strive for peace, justice, and reconciliation, and ultimately we are called to bear Christ into the world so that others might come to know him through the Holy Spirit alive and at work in us for the sake of a world (clearly) in need. (Philippians 2)
When our deeply-held beliefs are challenged by a piece of literature, a film, another person–you name it–the Christian is not called to intimidate those around us by using Jesus as a weapon meant to protect ourselves and our interests, or as a “Get out of Jail Free” card to make us feel good about what we are doing and how we are living. Instead, the Christian is called to consider how God might be using our present discomfort to help us grow in faith toward God and in love and service toward one another. When we truly believe that God is the potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8), we accept that we are works in progress, held in and shaped by the hands of the Creator of the Universe. God the potter has an image of who each of us is being created to be. We deny the creative work of God in our lives when we refuse to allow ourselves to be shaped and molded into the people God knows us to be through Christ’s death and resurrection.