One of the currents winding its way through the church these days is that atheists don’t deserve our love and that we should treat them in the same manner they treat us, whether good or bad.
Thus, we allow them to determine our behavior. If atheists are respectful and kind, so are we. If not, we’re not.
But a different current winds its way through the New Testament: love your enemies.
Return curses with blessings.
Turn the other cheek.
Rejoice that you are considered worthy to suffer for the name.
Many of the so-called “new” atheists offer little in the way of argumentation, either for their position or against mine. Rather, they engage in mockery and ridicule of their opponents.
Their main weapon is insult, not logic. Snicker, not syllogism.
I absorb this sort of rhetorical attack quite often from one of my atheist friends, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.
But if I strike back I’m actually allowing him to set the terms of our interaction. I’m stooping to his level and affirming that I’m no different than him.
And if I’m no different than him, why should he change?
Let’s say on the other hand that I show love to my atheist neighbor, even when he’s shooting me down. This is the way of Jesus.
I ask you: what might be the result?