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Tim, I know exactly what you mean. I have a friend in California whose answer to every problem is, “Believe Jesus.” He does this with Christians, of course, but he also does it with those who have no religion or who are of another faith. When questioned about this, he answers, “If they don’t believe in Jesus, their problem can’t be solved.” This, of course, shows a lack of knowledge about atheism or other faiths. It certainly stops dialogue. I’ve listened to his his form of evangelism for years, but he’s not changed an inch. I ask him, “Daniel, have you tried to find the commonality that you have with others?” His answer, “Oh yes, but Jesus is the answer. We have a great deal in common, but Jesus is the answer. If you don’t believe, then you are lost – spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”
It is very frustrating. I confess that I have to, and have, examined my own responses to Daniel. Is my somewhat universalist approach to salvation may have closed my mind, and that after all these years, my heart and mind have closed to my friend on the subject. Perhaps, I need to “bone up” on his arc conservative form of faith. After all, is my goal to win him over to my way of thinking, or shouldn’t my aim to be more understanding of his point of view? Listen more, become less dogmatic in my own approach to faith.
I’ve rambled. I had a better answer to this, but I got lost in my rambling, but it has helped to put it down in writing.