A quote from the new Rob Bell book, Love Wins:
"For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do."
I have two thoughts on this quote.
First, I think it a shame. Attacking, defamation, and slander is not the language of love, the language of Jesus. It's about as un-Christian as it gets. Therefore, no matter how absurd an idea may seem, it is critical that we remain loving towards each other. We don't have to agree on everything, but we do have to treat each other with love and respect in everything.
Let's not lose our religion defending our beliefs.
This is why non-Christians dislike Christians. It's not because non-Christians are hard-hearted, or sinful and blind. It's because Christians, too often, are not agents of love. We are agents of attack and slander. Even though we're on the same "team," we treat each other like crap. Why would anyone want to join us, seeing how we act toward each other? [Not to mention, how we act toward "outsiders?"]
Secondly, it is critical for me to remember that those attacking and defaming sincerely believe they are demonstrating their highest allegiance to God. They feel like they are acting out their faith by defending their beliefs. So I must act with a great deal of patience and understanding, as I realize that, for that individual, this is allegiance. This is what it means to be a Christian.
I just wish they were nicer about it.