I am a big Gordon Keith fan. Gordon Keith is a local celebrity to Dallas, as he is the cohost of a sports talk radio show on 1310 The Ticket (which I listen to almost exclusively now, go figure). I wish there was a better biography somewhere online, I just can't find it. I think Gordon is a very intelligent person and has lots of great commentaries on a variety of subjects. Today, he wrote on article on Dallas Morning News about the Bible, moreso, our interpretation of the Bible, entitled Tebow not a wimp for passing on Jeffress' 'portrait of God.' I don't know much about the Tim Tebow deal with backing out on speaking to First Baptist Church of Dallas, and that's not reallly the point. Keith addresses some interesting points in his article and I will let you read it to determine your take on it. Go ahead, I will wait.
Now, go back and read some of the comments. I will wait again, I am pretty patient today.
So, God never really addressed how to handle discussing Christianity, the Bible, and Himself on social media websites or on the internet. Right? It is so easy to read something someone writes as a Christian and get so angered and passionate about either the post being so wrong, or about it being so right and commentors being so wrong. Then, you find yourself embroiled in a back in forth argument with several complete strangers who are either non-believers, smarc alecs who are purposly trying to get you riled up, or people who are using what everyone is writing to determine their own beliefs. In any case, you often come out looking exactly how they want you to as a Christian: pompous and arrogant, closed-minded, and an idiot follower of something that they don't understand who has no ability to think for themselves.
I am not saying I am those things, but there have been many times I've allowed myself to be goated into a conversation and ended up looking really bad to many people. I have reread the entire stream of posts and thought, why did I allow myself to become a part of this? Even I looked bad to myself, reading the posts. The problem with getting into arguments like this on Facebook (especially) is that it is absolutely and completely impossible to keep up with what people are saying and to respond to specific areas of the Bible that non-believers love to bring up in their defense and to accurately explain the ideas behind it. Non-believers love to bring up Old Testament laws, which are hard to go into and argue with, or explain, in 160 characters or less. But, as a Christian, you feel you need to stand up for what you know is right, so you try, as best as you can, and usually fail.
Giving your commentary on a certain story, such as Tim Tebow for example, is wonderful. Everyone is allowed their own opinions. But when you do it on the internet, as I am doing now, you must be aware that you will more than likely get anonymous comments by readers who do not agree with the things you are saying. I am OK with that. It's not my job to change everyone's mind on the internet, nor could I ever attempt to. You will also get friends of friends post on your status update when giving religiously-slanted political opinions. Sometimes, I am OK with that and sometimes, I am not. There are times when I know I am only writing it to cause an argument, and that is never a good place to start a religious debate. Even if you are writing something you feel and you think is right, you have to ask yourself if there are non-Christian's reading this, will it draw them closer or farther away from Christ?
It is my belief that there are time and places and to have these types of conversations, and the internet is not one of them, unless you are discussing the Bible and getting opinions from others who believe as you do. I believe that more often than not, even Christian's who make great points in a non-aggressive way will still be skewered by those who spend their time trying to paint believers as unloving, nonunderstanding people. So it's best to just bow out, as you will never make your point the way you want to and you will probably never change the person's mind. You would be better of responding with, "If you are really interested or are struggling with your beliefs, please come to church with me on Sunday" and inviting them to church than to attempt to defend the Bible and God.
As Christians, I think we have to be very careful the forums we choose to become a part of. As God might use these forums to spread His word through you, Satan is also using the internet to spread his ideas and cause chaos through non-believers. So you have to ask yourself, are my words spreading God's words or helping to increase the resistance against it? I have a feeling, if God is going to use the internet, it's more than likely going to be showing Himself through your writing or blog than in direct response in comment sections such as these. I just urge you to be careful and praying before you respond sometimes and not taking every chance to "defend" God's word. I have actually had to remove friend's feeds who have caused me to respond negatively and angrily, as I felt it was doing more harm than good.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an online Biblical debate? How did you handle it?