I’ve noticed a recent trend on social media. Every time a Christian tries to make a valid and good point about Christianity or religious liberty or issues like abortion, civic duty, or anything that could even remotely touch on even the slightest edge of politics, other Christians join in the conversation with unreasonable, wild, and ridiculous claims.
Hyperbole seems to be the rhetorical strategy of the day in Christian circles. In comment boxes, imprecise language and thinking, haphazard arguments based on fallacy, and all kinds of claims about what Satan is doing often taint an otherwise helpful, measured post. So often it feels like Christians behind keyboards are working to validate the mistrust that many outside of the church have for our worldview, especially when spreading false information or letting anger, fear, ignorance, or basic carelessness contaminate our thoughts and reactions.
These weird and wild comments do nothing for the spread of the gospel. They are usually indignant, entitled, arrogant, and overly opinionated, and they paint a completely insufficient picture of God’s grace.
Be careful, Christian. Pray more. Comment less. When you see a brother or sister making an excellent and reasonable point, resist the urge to jump in with unreasonable assumptions, repeating things you’ve heard from unreliable sources and questionable teachers. More often than not, Christians are making unreasonable arguments to agree with a good post, only they carry the idea far beyond what the original poster intended, into the realm of presumed spiritual warfare, unreliable prophecy, or emotional instability. It’s time for Christians to rediscover the art of effective rhetoric. We need to stop speaking to each other as if the rest of the world isn’t listening in. We should think about tools of persuasion, about speaking from the truth of scripture alone.
If we continue down this road of unrestrained emotion and tiresome inaccuracies, the church will continue to lose more and more legitimacy in the eyes of those who desperately need Jesus. One of these days we will be held accountable for the things we wrote in the world’s comment boxes. Will we be found faithful in the little things? Every stroke of the keyboard spells out a witness to a watching world. Be reasonable. Be truthful. Be faithful to the One who deserves the best representation all over the world and all over the internet. Do this, for the sake of the gospel.