Respectfully Disagree

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Flannery O’Connor

I once heard a story about a man who insisted that the US government had fabricated the moon landings of the Apollo space missions. The proof that he gave for his belief is that the Bible tells us that there are four corners to the earth, therefore those pictures of a round earth cannot be real. I’m sure that everyone reading this will think that such an idea is pretty silly. But he held his belief with strong conviction.

And he was absolutely wrong.

Some people want us to believe that we should accept all religious ideas as true. At least, they would say, each idea is true for the person who believes.

I disagree. There is truth, and it matters.

We should respect the right of every person to believe and practice faith as he or she chooses. Muslims should have the right to practice Islam, the same as Buddhists, Baptists and Lutherans. Millions of lives have been lost in wars where one religious group was trying to force another to convert. We should have learned this lesson by now. You cannot force someone to change their heart’s beliefs.

But even as I respect the right of each person to believe, I still believe that Jesus is the right way to God. I do not have to give up my convictions about faith to respect those who disagree. I have had conversations with people who have diverse religious beliefs, Wiccan, Muslim and atheists among them. I think they would agree I have shown respect to them and their convictions. I do not claim that I know everything about God. But I do hold strongly to my conviction that truth is found in Jesus.

The world will try to push you to lessen your conviction by suggesting that to believe totally in Jesus is disrespectful to those who do not. They are wrong. You can show respect to those who disagree while still holding your faith completely. We should respect everyone. Each person has a God-given freedom to seek truth in her or his own way. For those of us who believe in Jesus, that means to give our hearts and lives completely to Him.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

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