An opinion piece by MARK MANEY
I heard something interesting the other day. It was a comment from Justin Brierley, the host of a well-known British radio show and podcast called Unbelievable? On it he gets Christians and non-Christians to discuss all sorts of issues related to the truth of Christianity. The comment from Justin Brierley that took my interest was that he “had never met a non-believer.” Initially I was confused, because he’s been hosting his show for over ten years talking to sceptics and non-believers. But he continued, “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met thousands of atheists and sceptics, but even the most non-religious people can still have a holy cause, ritual ceremonies, sacred symbols, and even their own heretics”.
Justin Brierley’s observation was astute. For example, many non-believers are big on advocating for abortion and women’s reproductive rights (a holy cause), on kneeling for the anthem to protest racism (ritual ceremonies), on waving the rainbow flag (sacred symbols), or on cancelling JK Rowling for ‘wrongspeak’ on gender issues (heretics).
The point is not the issues above, the point is that in reality we are all believers deep down. We all have a set of beliefs which guide our lives. In this 2020s cultural moment, so many of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, believe that good must conquer evil and that justice really matters. Yes, we are all believers deep down, but sadly far too many of us are worshipping the wrong things.
In reality, as Justin Brierley also noted, if we desire to bring truth and grace into our confused and divided culture we need to make sure we are worshiping the right things. And when we put God at the centre, with the grace of Jesus guiding us, we can tap into the power of the Spirit and help transform our culture and bring true justice.
The New Testament teaches (1 Pet. 3:15) that Christian believers should be ready to give a reason to others for their faith, with gentleness and respect. It would be great if everyone applied that principle, non-Christians too. We should all be able to give reasons for what we believe. There is no default or neutral position on important life questions. Non-Christians do not get off the hook by just saying, “I’m not convinced Christianity is true”. They should also give reasons for what they believe.