Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Much Do You Hate?

Penn Jillette is an outspoken atheist, libertarian, and skeptic. He is most noted for his role in the Penn & Teller illusionist act. After one of his performances, a man gave him a copy of the book of Psalms. Jillette speaks about this experience in a YouTube video. (http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHS8adO3hM)

Jillette asks the question, "How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" Now that's a question to think about!

Jillette concludes his observation by telling us that he will not change his beliefs, but that he admired the Christian who shared the Scripture.

That got me a-thinking - what motivates me to not share? I run through all the reasons:
I don't know what to say. I don't have time. They will laugh at me. I will see them again. I don't have the gift of evangelism. I don't know any unchurched people. I don't want people to lump me in with all those religious "kooks." Nothing I say will make a difference anyway.

As I review each reason, they seem shallow, unfounded, and just plain wrong. I do know what to say, "We all sin. The wages of sin is death. We deserve to die. God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price of our sins. Our sins are forgiven. We will live forever in heaven because of this."

Perhaps, it is time for me to "walk the talk," and step up with the Good News. I can proclaim it to my family, my friends, those I know at work, those I meet during the day and even send a letter of encouragement, a copy of the Good News, and some prayer to politicians.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure hatred is the motivation behind not discussing salvation with others. In fact, if you hate someone, it's your salvation you need to be concerned about. I admit, I often hesitate to witness to others. But I have more difficulty witnessing to people I love and care about than I do strangers. My hesitation is mostly from fear of turning them off, and driving them away. I find it much easier to witness to someone I'm sitting next to on a plane then to my son whom I love. My wife and I took my son to church almost every week when he was growing up. And we are active in our church today. But my son doesn't go to church any longer. And, although he knows how much that concerns me, and although I want his salvation as much as my own, I find it very difficult to discuss with him. Because when I do, I feel like I'm doing more harm than good. So I mostly try to set the best example I can, and pray every day for him, and expect the Holy Spirit to work in him some day.

Ted said...

What a question!! How cool to hear that from an atheist. I suspect that we usually do not share not because we hate another (as the poster above also said) but because we want to tolerate them. We allow toleration (whatever that is in an American context) to overcome genuine love (Christ's love).

Glen said...

I don't believe that Penn was really saying that you must hate someone because you don't share the truth with someone. I think that he was actually making a statement that if you really believe in salvation and life everlasting and you don't share it then you are guilty of not loving one another as Jesus commanded us to do anyway.I have been sharing this clip with people for a while and the witness of this atheist is actually stronger than what is being taught in a lot of congregations today.Also,I believe that Penn has a seed planted in him and the Holy Spirit may just perform some wonderful work in and through him.Peace and Grace

jimfromohio said...

Good question. I have faced this issue for many years.

"Life's experiences" come to us to reveal what we really love. Life experiences leads you to God and the key is knowing "WHO" you are "inside" as Christ see you. The Holy Spirit is within us believers, Christ dwells in our hearts, and "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) is the burning core of the Christian faith.

Christians' attitudes find their root in the heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10). In Proverbs 4:23 says, “...Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” God charges each Christian to personally model his attitude: “Do nothing out of ... vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2: 3-5)

The Layman said...

Great comments folks, I also have responeded to this post by e-mailing an outreach thought to as many of the congregations in Iowa District East that I had e-mail addresses for. I gave them the link to read your post and asked whoever read the e-mail " Can you post this?" Building a blog takes a long time so I do encourage people to share their thoughts here and on our INTL L L L district blogsite.

Anonymous said...

THE reason people really don't witness?? THey really don't believe in Hell. There has been years of negligent teaching about the reality of Hell. We all want to talk about the happy place, just not the sad place.

THe opposite of love is not hate, but fear, as in perfect love casts out all fear. Satan has had a field day w/ the church.