(I am having some font issues here. Hopefully I can get this legible soon.)
If you've ever tried your hand at telling someone that didn't already believe it that Jesus is the Son of God and that He loves them and died for them to be able to join Him in Heaven, you've probably had the charge of arrogance lobbed at you once or twice.
I'm currently in patchy email correspondence with one of our Starbucks customers whom we can call the "Milk Guy" because the milk or half-and-half at the condiment bar always runs out just before or just after he tries to put some in his venti coffee. We have, in our emails, briefly touched on this issue. (Not the milk issue. The Jesus issue.) In one email, I said,
If you really believe that there's a God, and that that God wants everyone to know Him/Her because S/He loves them, and that the completest way to do that is through getting to know Jesus, and that there are some pretty severe consequences for not, then there's probably something wrong with you if people's dismissal of Jesus doesn't make you cry from time to time.
The Milk Guy then charged me with using a lot of disclaimers, which just goes to show that trying to present a scenario which encourages the other person to put themselves in your shoes doesn't always work. (My point was that I do believe all that stuff and could he imagine what it would be like to be me, believing it? But all he seems to have gotten was the "if.")
He also, quite naturally, took umbrage with the "pretty severe consequences for not" line. I figured he might and almost didn't put it in there, because sometimes I can hardly believe Hell either, and in any case, I'm not sure that it is what we often think it is. But whatever it is, I don't want anyone I know to have to experience it.
He retorted that such an assumption has arrogance as its root, and that it automatically condemns most of humanity, and that it's not fair if someone overseas, due to lack of knowledge, ends up with the "severe consequences" just because they were born in the wrong place.
Back in the day ("the day" in this case being about three years ago when Antagonist-Andrew worked at our store and the two of us bickered about faith issues at work all day long and drove everybody--including ourselves--insane), I would have jumped on this as an invitation to rebut. However, the Milk Guy hasn't really asked what I think. And he has made it clear that he isnt' really comfortable talking about this stuff. Which makes me think that he might not even hear what I'm saying anyway. So I'm trying a new tack and just holding my peace for the moment.
However, I do have thoughts about this. Lots of thoughts. And so for lack of another audience, I have decided to spend the next post or so mulling them over. Feel free to issue your own responses, retorts and rebuttals to me, too.