In the last nine months I have lost two amazing men that have been part of my life. Both led long and mostly healthy life’s, loved meeting people and had the wonderful ability to talk into people’s life and leave an enduring positive influence to those who knew and encountered them.
In one regard though they were opposite; one was a missionary with God and Christian belief central to all he did. The other a president and successful businessmen who, from what I knew, was skeptical regarding the existence of God or an after life. They had very differing world views yet I am sure if they had met would have enjoyed thoroughly each other’s company.
How different that is to what I see in the world today from conservative “right wing” Christianity and new atheism from the likes of Richard Dawkins and on a more celebrity front Ricky Gervais. The debate between those camps is largely antagonistic and graceless.
I am all for debate and examination of what you believe and the right to express views. I am even happy to let people mock and ridicule to some extent, one can always chose not listen. But I despair at exchanges I see on Twitter and in the news at times. Faith has been redefined these days as belief in absence of any evidence yet I have always seen my faith in terms of a balance between evidence and rationality mixed in with some doubt at times where a degree faith steps in.
On the other side grace a central pillar of Christian belief is completely missing in jibes by some Christians in debate. “You’re going hell” is far too commonly banded about.
Yet what if anything can we take from my two friends and how they led their lives. Well ultimately both my friends as we all do faced their last battles of life on their own. Yet the path before that final end game we should extend as much grace, love and support as we can give to those we meet along the way. That can be tough and honest questioning as well as encouragement and support. Our aim should not be to win, cajole, bully or ridicule anybody over to a specific world view but just recognize the journey we all go along with it ups and downs along the way and in some way be of benefit.