On Sunday atheist blogger Daniel Florien capitalized on the murder of a pastor to promote his perennial case against the non-existence of God.
Hardly surprising coming from a person who’s built a following on flushing out the circus acts of Christianity…declaring them normative…and then condemning Christianity in its entirety.
Neither is it surprising coming from one who has an ethic that begins and ends with himself.
When you are an individualist and relativist, it’s really very difficult to determine whether something you are doing is tacky or not.
So goes Daniel Florien.
Welcome to the Echo Chamber
However, I pick on Florien to bring up a bigger problem. Let me explain.
I’ve only been blogging in this reformed arena since December 4, 2008–but participating in it since May 08. One thing is abundantly clear: reformed bloggers like to talk to each other.
About things they like.
Listen: I enjoy reviews of books on obscure Christians. I relish reasons why I should study theology. I appreciate Lloyd-Jones sophisticated definition of an evangelical. I like Justin Taylor’s aggregation of everything reformed.
Unfortunately, after time, this discussion becomes nothing more than an echo chamber. Or a boring cocktail party.
In fact, I’m not really sure what we’re trying to accomplish. This frustration led me to make a decision late last month.
The 3 Events That Led Up to This Post
Last month a number of things came to a head to bring me where I’m at today.
1. After browsing the 50th look-alike, I decided to stop crawling through reformed blogs altogether.
2. I heard Tim Keller suggest pastors evenly spend their time with Christians and non-Christians.
3. I stumbled upon Daniel Florien’s blog.
That last point is important: Here was a world I was so out of touch with. And a world I knew I needed to engage.
Christians as Uneducated Carnival Acts
In part, that’s why I’m frustrated by Tim Wilson’s decision to bail on blogging. He’s a guy who wasn’t afraid to engage non-Christians. Even militant atheists.
More importantly, he knew his stuff–both Christianity and blogging. He was going in the right direction.
Then he stopped.
Unfortunately, the Christians who tend to engage atheists like Daniel Florien…well…tend to be ignorant and unstable, reinforcing Florien and his atheists’ view of Christians as uneducated carnival acts. We can change that.
4 Ways to Engage Atheist and Agnostic Bloggers
My hope is that more Christian bloggers–more reformed bloggers–with a refined sense of debate, blogging and Christianity will invest some of their time engaging non-Christian blogs.
How could they do that? Here are 4 ideas:
1. Read blogs by agnostics and atheists.
2. Follow the comments on provocative posts closely.
3. Go as far as to comment on their blogs, with gentleness and respect. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Sustain the discussion.
4. Write blog posts based on what you learn from the last 3 steps.
This idea goes back to Tim Keller and vibrant blogging. It goes back to creating a rich, understanding of the culture were in.
There’s an entire world out there dying. In fact, there’s an entire country out their literally losing its religion. And we’re not making it easier by treating Christianity as an insular online bubble.
Don’t Be Afraid
Acts 24 says Paul inserted himself in front of non-believers. Augustine attacked heretics like Pelagius. Luther exchanged bitter words with Erasmus, a humanist. Even C. S. Lewis hung out with atheists and agnostics.
It’s okay to debate reasonable atheists in a blog’s comment section. Engage in an email dialog with an agnostic. Write posts that disagree with their ethics, values and arguments.
The upshot is you’ll get wiser.
Answering Common Objections
Now, I know some of you are probably saying “I’m doing this in person.” Care to bring it online? If you are a persuasive writer, we need you.
And then some of you are going to say I’m a pastor of a church–I don’t have time to engage Christian bloggers…let alone non-believers.
If that’s the case, then honestly rethink your commitment to blogging.
How would you feel if I stood in the pulpit weekly and drummed home a message on repentance…but told people in the church I didn’t have time to talk to you afterwards? Or even ignored the community you lived in?
Would I be a good pastor? The answer is no.
We have enough bloggers encouraging Christians. Enough bloggers reviewing books. Enough bloggers aggregating other Christian blog content.
What we need more of are courageous Christians bloggers who will converse, create relationships and even confront atheist and agnostic bloggers.
What You Need to Do Next
So. Wanna start a blog? Or resurrect the languishing one? Or overhaul the lackluster yawn-fest you are working so hard on now?
Then decide to affect the online world by sticking your toe into the messy world of non-Christian blogs.
Now get to work.