Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Faith: A Private Matter?

Recently a controversy erupted over high school cheerleaders displaying banners with Bible passages before football games. The “the wall of separation between church and state” debate ensued.

This also rekindles the similar discussion of whether one’s faith is a private matter to be kept to oneself. Civil persons don’t argue over politics and religion, do they?

Certainly what I believe is not something I should seek to impose on someone else. It would do no good anyway. “One convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,” the adage says. But if our faith is important to us, why wouldn’t we want to share it with others? We don’t hesitate to tell about favorite sports teams, books, music and websites.

Imagine somehow stumbling upon the cure for cancer, diabetes or some other disease. If we were to say, “I’m not sharing it with anyone. It’s a private matter,” we would spark no limit of public outrage. The entire human race is afflicted with a spiritual cancer – it’s called “sin.” And the cure, according to the Scriptures, is Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus said that; I didn’t. Frankly, for the sakes of non-believing friends and relatives, I often wish there were many ways to God, rather than the singular way that Jesus declares. But that’s not my decision.

Convinced of that, I also recognize that my faith is not a private matter. Therefore, it’s my duty to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15). To do otherwise would be to deny them access to the cure for the cancer that has struck us all.

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