Just when you thought you were safe from creepy crazed albino priest assassins from the Da Vinci Code…along comes the second installment of top level conspiracies, whole lotta Catholic bashing, and meet the super secret Illuminati that I guess everyone now knows about.
Yep. I'm talking Angels and Demons the sequel (that I heard was a prequel?) to The Da Vinci Code. Only this time the film seems to have received two Vatican thumbs up - as their description is boiled down into the phrase 'harmless entertainment'.
Although I heard the Hindus might boycott Angels and Demons - but I assure you that no Hindus, Catholics, Baptists, Atheists, or albinos were harmed in the making of this film.
Oh - and no animals either…
The core plot line of Angels and Demons revolves around a fictional historical conflict between a purely scientific group (The Illuminati) and an obvious faith based group (the Catholic Church). Without diving head first into the multiple layers of the story, the bottom line is that there is sharp disagreement over what appears to be two contradicting worldviews: faith and science.
But this really isn't fictional, right? There are a whole lot of Illuminati-esque people who are convinced that a belief in God and a faith based approach to life began when the first con man met the first fool and convinced him/her that there is an invisible magic man in the sky.
Of course we all know, as well, that the Bible is just a dangerous book of myths with no 'proof' (scientific or otherwise) that might give people of faith a solid foundation to an apparently non-scientific belief.
Or…perhaps not. Let me ask you something. If you believe in the God who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and you also believe the Bible and the Christian faith to be something as true as the law of gravity, do you have any solid evidence to back that up?
If not, you will never be able to enter into a meaningful and enlightening conversation with people who are under the false impression that Christianity is nothing more than a blind leap into religious nut job land, and that otherwise intelligent and rational folks must chuck their brains out the door when it comes to faith beliefs.
And if we have done a poor job of communicating why that isn't the case, who can blame them???
So rather than be a part of the problem that perpetuates the ongoing conflict between faith and science, what if we became part of the solution that helps people actually talk about the issues at stake, and not simply name call and hurl insults from oftentimes ignorant and unloving positions.
By contrast, here are the instructions for how to approach the 'Illuminati' type people:
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ (1 Peter 3:14-16) NLT.
Several key concepts here. First, just like 2000 years ago when this was written to Christians, you should expect opposition and attack for your faith in Jesus Christ - except back then the hostility came in the form of death threats! Yet even then, Peter instructs them and us to be ready to explain our 'Christian hope' - and to do it in a way that is 'gentle and respectful'.
This is not generally what I have seen - and most likely neither have you. So how about this…would you be willing to begin a movement of Christians who take this charge from God seriously and really make headway into building bridges with our skeptical friends and family?
If so, here's how to start. First, learn how to explain your beliefs in a way that shows how Christianity is truly a reasonable faith, and not a jump into craziness. Check out the Flashpoint section below for help on this.
Second, practice and pray for help with the 'gentleness and respect' method of debate. Ask yourself – "Am I harsh, judgmental, or prideful?" Also, develop a respect for those who value science and a purely rational/non-faith based approach to life. You don't have to agree with a worldview to respect it. As well, you are asking them for respect, so definitely apply the principle of 'do to others as you would have them do' (Matthew 7:12).
Finally, be confident in the fact that your faith in Jesus Christ is based on solid evidence and rational belief. It is not a leap in the dark, rather it is truly a step into the light…so let's let our light shine and illuminate the Illuminati folks of the world!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
The internet makes it possible for Christians to find solid evidence for our faith in a shorter amount of time than in the past. This week, take some time and research your explanation for why you believe in God and have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. Here are a few sources to get you started:
Also, check out these books:
A Case for a Creator
A Case for Christ
A Case for Faith
All by the author Lee Strobel (www.leestrobel.com/)
As well, try to enter into conversations this week that could get the ball rolling with this subject and give you an opportunity to explain your faith in Jesus.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6).
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children (1 Corinthians 4:12-14).
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:46-48).