Best of Bweinh! — Is Belief Offensive?

September 25, 2008, 11:00 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Featured, Steve  | No Comments

Originally published March 29, 2007.

This week on my campus, the several Christian groups have all participated in a campaign called “I Agree With Craig.” Junior Craig Jones printed a statement of faith as an ad in the campus paper on Monday, hundreds of signs were posted, Christian students wore “I Agree With Craig” T-shirts all week, more ads were taken out where students, faculty, and staff said why they agreed with Craig, and several events have been, or will be, held — including a praise celebration, Craig’s public testimony, and a forum discussion on Christianity.

This campaign has unified the Christians on campus, many of whom were not aware how large their numbers were, or who else in their classes believed as they did. But naturally, the campaign has also caused a bit of controversy. Today’s “point-counterpoint” section of the newspaper concerned the campaign, and the featured columnist argued — well, I’ll let you see just what he argued. Go ahead, check it out. I’ll wait.

 

*twiddles thumbs*

 

Wow, huh? Pretty stunned? So was I!

Let’s go through this guy’s argument. First of all, public displays of personal faith — apparently ranging from street preachers to written testimonies to unobtrusive clothing — make him “anxious,” much like you might squirm at the sight of face-sucking on the bus. Fair enough so far. But what’s his solution? Well, it’s not to get a thicker skin, or to engage the actual ideas involved — no, this brave and brilliant gentleman has a problem with something far more fundamental — the very right of others to express what they believe in a public place, provided it has anything to do with the “binary” message of right and wrong. A full-blooded assault on at least two of the First Amendment’s underlying themes!

In Ben Peskin’s world, any statement you make, any belief you have that someone might reasonably disagree with, is best saved for your bedroom, late at night, behind closed doors, maybe even under your covers with a flashlight — and even then you ought to whisper it, because there’s a chance he might overhear and get a little uneasy down in his tummy. I’d love to see him teach a math class. “Class! Everyone got an A again, unless, of course, you don’t think that particular symbol represents an A, in which case you got whatever grade you want! Yes, 3 times 3 equals whatever you want it to, provided of course you don’t arrogantly stand up for your answer as right!”

Metaphysics and religion are different from mathematics, but closely examine Ben’s argument. He’s not arguing Craig is wrong; he has no interest in even considering Craig’s beliefs. His problem is strictly with the fact that Craig, and thousands of other Christians, stood up and shared them. Apparently in Ben’s world, it’s better to actively silence any messy discussion of religion, morals, diet soda or (one would imagine) politics, than allow such conversations to be shared publicly — through any means. Just think of all the Pepto-Bismol Ben would need if people were allowed to argue! It’s much better to just stay home and stay quiet, Christians, rather than “rolling around nude on the quad making out” with your four-word T-shirts. For Ben’s sake. Please.

Is it arrogant to share your beliefs, as Ben suggests, especially if they imply that others are wrong? I don’t think so. But if it is, then lo and behold, Ben is the most arrogant — after all, he’s the only one with both the courage to take a hard position and the intellectual confusion to order his opponents to just shut up and obey.


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