So there’s this video that’s making the rounds on the Internet, perhaps you’ve seen it.
It’s a video of a guy riding in the back seat of a car, taking a video of himself. He starts by telling the imaginary “Mr. Atheist” he is going to “destroy evolution” in three minutes. He then proceeds to try to do just that….in around four minutes.
This thing keeps popping up everywhere. Someone even posted it on my Facebook page (I’ve since removed it).
I don’t mean to pick on the guy, but it should be noted that the arguments made in the video are not scientifically accurate. Regardless of what you think about evolution, or God, or creationism, or any of that stuff, the fact is nearly everything he says in the video can be proven false by a very brief Google search.
I believe the guy in the video believes he’s telling the truth, but he’s not. I don’t think he’s a bad guy- by all accounts he seems to be a guy who really wants people to meet Jesus, which is obviously a good thing. He’s just not telling the truth in this instance.
But that’s not my real issue with the video, because people – both Christian and non-Christian – unknowingly say factually untrue things to support their agenda all the time. I’m sure I’ve done it myself (though I try really hard not to).
My issue is that the goal of the video is to “destroy” evolution.
Did Jesus say, “They will know you are my disciples by the way you destroy their arguments.”?
I don’t think so.
If I set out to “destroy” something you believe in, I’ve lost you, haven’t I?
If I’m trying to destroy something you believe in, I obviously don’t love you. I’ve decided you’re an enemy. You’re not a person to me won over, you’re an enemy for me to try to (verbally) beat into assimilation.
Why would you want to listen to me?
Think about it, how many times have you changed your beliefs about an issue because someone attacked you and made you feel stupid? I’m guessing not very many. When someone treats us like that, the last thing we want to do is agree with them. Even if the facts are on their side.
We live in a culture where trying to “destroy” people’s arguments is popular, but it doesn’t do any good. Pundits in the media don’t actually convince anyone, they just convince people who already agree with them that people who believe differently are stupid.
I don’t see much value in that.
Because the best you can do if you try to “destroy” someone is you can win an argument.
But you’ll never win someone’s heart that way.
And yet, we as Christians too often buy into this combative way of relating to people we disagree with.
But if a conversation starts with, “Let me show you why you’re an idiot,” it rarely ends with, “I’m so glad we agree now.”
I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of beliefs in our culture that deserve destroying. On a daily basis I read about people who believe things are are crazy, hurtful, thoughtless, or all of the above.
But seeking to “destroy” those beliefs is not going to convince those who hold them to change.
Those sorts of tactics only deepen the divide.
I’d rather be about winning hearts. It’s more work, it requires a gentler, humbler spirit, but it’s worth the effort. It requires taking the time to truly understand your opposition so you can characterize them in terms they accept, but that extra work at least creates the possibility of an honest conversation.
So I don’t want to destroy arguments, even if they’re (in my opinion) worth destroying.
I want to have conversations, understand people’s stories, understand why they believe what they believe, seek the truth no matter whose “side” it supports, and speak that truth with love.