Moving Past Divisiveness

Last time, we took a look at the claim that “there can’t be just one true religion”, and the related charge that religion is divisive.  We said that responding by outlawing, condemning or privatizing religion won’t work.

This time, I want to share what Keller says about how Christianity contains resources that bring people together, not apart.

To begin with, Christianity provides a solid foundation for respecting people from other religious perspectives.  Jesus assumes, for example, that nonbelievers who know his followers will recognize some of what they do as “good” (e.g., Mt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12).  This assumes that Christianity and other faiths share some common ground. (18)

Why?  Because everyone is made by a God who is good and wise, they share in that to some extent, whether Christian or not.   Theologians call this being made “in the image (or likeness) of God.”  So Christians believe that unbelievers will be better than their mistaken ideas about God.  In addition, the bible’s teaching that everyone is flawed, or sinful, means that Christians will fall short of living out what they believe.  (19)

So Christianity does not teach its adherents to believe that they are “superior” to those who don’t share their commitments.  Instead, for the above reasons, it tells them to expect that non-Christians may be morally superior to them in many ways.

Again, as we saw last time, everyone has certain fundamental, unprovable beliefs that are “exclusive”.  The issue becomes, then, “which fundamentals will lead their believers to be the most loving and receptive to those with whom they differ?”  Christianity insists that the only perfect person died for his enemies so that they could become his friends (1 Corinthians 5:21).  Although Christians – myself included – have not always lived this out, Jesus’ example should lead us to be people of peace, not division.  (20)

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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