Friday, November 02, 2007

'Holier than Thou'

About 28 years ago in Moscow, Idaho, I became good friends with a student who was not a Christian. One day he came into the bookstore and decided to tell me what he did not like about Christians. The conversation went something like this:

“They all have a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.”

I replied that I knew many Christians and did not know any who had a “holier than thou” attitude. “Name one,” I said.

“All right,” he replied, and then proceeded to name another student whom I knew. This fellow did not have a “holier than thou” attitude, and I assured my friend that this Christian was innocent of the charge.

My friend then asked, “Why, then, do I think he’s got a ‘holier than thou’ attitude?”

“Oh,” I replied, “He is holier than thou.”

In another instance, at another time, in another store near the University of Maryland, a student came in. He was a stranger to me. He found out what kind of store he was in and launched a tirade against Christians, saying why he was not a Christian. He amplified this by reference to the Crusaders, Inquisitors, Conquistadors, and hypocrites. After he finished, I agreed with him and then asked him these questions.

“Were the Crusaders Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Were the Inquisitors Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Were the Conquistadors Christians?”

“No, they weren’t Christians.”

“Are hypocrites Christians?”

“No, they aren’t Christians.”

Then I said, “You just told me that you are not a Christian because of non-Christians. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

I will tell you the rest of the story if you contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org. This week’s reading: The Gospel according to St. John.

(From Good News/Bad News)

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