Robert Wright, a fallen-away Baptist and science writer, explains why it’s dumb for secular liberals to mock Jesus and Jesus-lovers. Excerpt:
Prominent among the political adversaries of secular liberals are religious conservatives, the more extreme of whom consider themselves to be at war with the prevailing culture. They may homeschool their kids (though not all homeschoolers share this attitude) or in other ways try to wall themselves off from this culture. When secular liberals who shape the culture fulfill the religious conservatives’ stereotype of them as threatening–by, say, seeming to ridicule Jesus, or seeming to ridicule Tebow’s faith–conservatives will be more inclined to stay within their walls, avoiding engagement with the secular world. So they’ll find it easier to reject the entire liberal agenda, ranging from gay rights to uncensored science education in the public schools. (Don’t get me started on the damage that I fear Richard Dawkins is doing to science education in the heartland by embodying a false equation between Darwinism and a militant, contemptuous atheism.) In short, when liberals are seen as ridiculing Christianity, they’re energizing their adversaries and making it harder to turn adversaries into allies, or at least neutral parties, on particular issues.
It’s hard for me to emphasize how correct Wright is here, from my own experience. When people believe you despise their God and them for believing in God, they will listen to nothing else you say. Richard Dawkins and his devotees are the best friends anti-evolution Christians have. They make Christians who are persuadable about the ability to reconcile their faith with evolutionary biology believe that to reject Biblical literalism is to take the side of nasty snots who hate Jesus. For so many people on the Dawkins side, it’s more important to publicly register their utter contempt for Jesus people than to persuade others to join their side, or to show a decent respect for others, even those you believe to be foolish.