THE BLOG
05/02/2013 11:48 am ET | Updated Jul 02, 2013

Believers, Atheists, Why Can't We All Get Along?

A while back I wrote a post expounding upon my faith and the reasons I was often reluctant to share it with those who I knew were non-believers. Several key words in my article, such as Christianity and Jesus, triggered such a backlash from many atheists that the rocks flung at me have left dents and bruises. Not only was I shocked at the cries of indignation bellowed from one camp to the other, but I was sad to see that my confession was used as a means to further fuel the fire of controversy, rather than foster tolerance and respect from parties of different ideologies.

More interestingly, however, was the fact that so many atheists were quick to read something where the title clearly stated that the content would serve to glorify God, and would certainly not be rebuking Jesus Christ. I understand that everyone has an opinion, but it was eye opening for me that those of such different beliefs took time from their lives to read about something which clearly would not exalt anything but the God I pray to.

Christians also troll sites where atheism is the main topic, and leave their own opinions in a less than gracious manner. But thing is, since I, as a Christian, have no interest in reading how and why an atheist is an atheist, I don't Google and I'm not drawn to the title of an article that would have for its discussion a point which goes against the very ideology which defines me as a human.

I thought perhaps the reactions to my post were due to the nature of my writing; the way in which I had phrased my thoughts; the naivety with which I had delved into such a touchy subject. Or maybe the title itself -- "Why Am I So Scared to Admit I'm Christian" -- was too vague and opened up the possibility of derogatory propaganda aimed at Christianity, in which case, yes, I get it: non-believers would be curious to witness the assault.

But turns out that this is common practice in this world of public opinion -- that to speak a viewpoint, to share a defining characteristic which is different than someone else's, to say "I am a Christian" or "I don't believe in God," means "open season" on the person who dares proclaim a belief.

As a Christian, I am drawn to the words of the Bible. In this world of social media, I happily "like" posts in which Scripture is quoted. I'm all over Instagram, "liking" this inspiring picture and that lovely uplifting quote. But as I scroll through the names and comments of the others who I stupidly believe will share my enthusiasm for God, I am instead surprised by those who disagree. And of course, in this world where anonymity encourages boldness, the disagreement manifests as a sandstorm where everyone is blinded by the dust, and nobody achieves their purpose.

This is not a post about Christians vs. atheists. I have children, and not all of them share my view. I can sit at the kitchen table with my oldest child, and have a discussion which is never complete. At no point does either of us tell the other he/she is right. But the discussion itself, the human interaction has for its purpose to unite us.

In this world where we seek to connect, to latch on to others in order to form a lasting bond despite the miles separating us -- why is it that the topic of faith or non-faith causes such a tidal wave of discontent and aggression.

Of course wars have been raged for millennia over this topic, but why are we unable to overcome the adversity and accept the differences? This is Canada. There is no shrapnel on our roads. So why is the declaration of an identity, whatever it may be, so frightful? If I tell you I only wear pink, the backlash will not cause a series of back-and-forth insults which leave one or more questioning our humanity. But if I say that I worship Christ the Lord, or that I don't believe in God at all, the retaliation is awe-inspiring.

The energy and ardor we see flung with feverish force at the sight of certain key words would be far more beneficial if harnessed and used to rid the world of its eternal anger and insults.

Possible? Probably not now.

Powerful? Always.