Friday, September 17, 2010

Understanding the dying secular person’s resistance to Christianity’s salvific message

At the mission, yesterday, the main speaker was an elderly man — whom I’ll call Mr. Jones — who told us he had worked, for many years, with a team from a major California hospital/insurance group that helped to maintain people who were in the last months of their lives.

His job was to provide Christian counselling to those nearing death: To comfort Christians at death’s door, and to save others from hell before they died.

The group would go to the homes of these fragile, deathly-ill people and try to help them to be physically comfortable as well as find spiritual comfort.

Mr. Jones told us about many instances when people would reject his effort to win them for Christ.

I was discomfited by the speakers’ consistent theme of what he said he confronted when he was met by people resistant to his message. It was clear to me that the man did not understand the typical worldview of folks who are not Christians or are lapsed in Christian-spiritual vigor.

The speaker told us sometimes people would say that they weren’t worried about their death, because, at worst, they would end up where all their friends were.

Or, they would fully reject Mr. Jones’s entreaties to tell them about Jesus. Mr. Jones found this to be strange and startling. Mr. Jones was, understandably, greatly disappointed not to be welcomed to have the opportunity — perhaps the last opportunity that there was — to save someone’s soul.

From my experience, the most typical worldviews of secular people

The main thing that I would want a devout Christian to understand is that most secular people do not spend time thinking about Christianity.

Many mission preachers seem to suppose that non-Christians do a lot of thinking about God and reject Him, for whatever reason. I think that that is very much not so. Secular people are into whatever they are doing in their lives. They are mostly oblivious to matters relating to belief. They live in a world where God almost never comes up as a topic. And, when they hear talk of God, they walk away.

Secular people don’t spend much time thinking about Christian people, but when they do they think that Christians have an enchanted worldview. They would never say it that way, but I believe that it what most secular people think.

Whereas secular people look at the world as splendid and beautiful and the result of ‘natural’ processes that can be understood from the vantage of science, they believe conservative Christians see a world of (false) interconnections and (false) supernatural interventions to make things happen.

Some secular people think that the way conservative Christians think is silly, but for the most part secular people don’t think about how believers think.

Secular people see the world as a place that doesn’t interfere with events. Both good and bad things happen to good people and to bad people. A lot of what occurs is fully random.

Typically, a secular person thinks, We may only affect the world and others by taking action, and not by prayer or appeals to supernatural powers.

When secular people reject efforts to change their worldview, to bring them to Christ, this occurs because secular people (1) know the Christian message of salvation, already, and (2) because secular people are comfortable in their worldview.

They also believe that if there is a God, He is about love and would not send them to roast in hell for all eternity.  There is something profoundly contradictory about a God of Love, who knows us thoroughly during our lifetime, saying to us, on Judgment Day, that since we didn't profess a belief in Christ, He didn't know us, and the punishment is the worst thing that can be imagined.  A typical intelligent secular person thinks that none of that makes sense.  They put what faith they have in God (if there is one) being better than that.  Many dying secular people believe they are appealing to a higher Higher Power by not appealing to the Christian God at all.

I stand outside all of this.  But what I have written here is my sense of the Secular Mindset of many.  And why they would brush aside the effort to discuss Salvation that Mr. Jones might try to initiate.

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