Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Battlefield of Beliefs

This afternoon I participated in a forum to discuss the question: “Has the Church Abandoned Peace on Earth?”

I found the question offensive. So I said I’d be glad to participate. It was me, a Mennonite Peace Activist, and philosophy professor from the University of Lethbridge. The Mennonite woman was excellent. Smart. Passionate. Engaging.

The philosophy professor was…shall we say, less so. His whole shtick was what he called “Ideological Marketing,” of which the church was guilty. The first words out of his mouth were “Religion has done more harm than good in the world.” His arrogant dismissal of religion in general and Christianity in particular made me want to tear out what’s left of my hair. It was the same stuff that I’ve heard a hundred times, “You think that Christianity is the only truth. But MY philosophy of secular, modernist dogma is the only truth.” “All Christians are theocrats.” Etc.

I found myself getting defensive. Giving full-throated defense of the hard work that Christians are doing in the areas of peace, human rights, development, etc.

I’m a BIG believer in the marketplace of ideas. Now I know the rigour of such a marketplace. The give and take of two fervently held positions. The clash of competing world views. The battlefield of beliefs.

I had a GREAT time.

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