Note: We’re interrupting our regular Sunday series for this post. Please pray for Nepal and the people in light of the Earthquake.
one more.. the scavengers of tragedy.. inspired by
I saw someone else shared our post with the hashtag “Soulvultures” and when I looked it up I was surprised at the amount of Tweets that have been spewing against Christians who are praying for Nepal and that also prayed for the people in Nepal to see the love of God in Christ Jesus through Christian organization providing relief. I guess Christians who want to help in Nepal or are praying evangelistically for Nepal are now labeled as “Soul Vultures.”
There is a sense of irrationality with some of these tweets. One Tweet says:
#SoulVultures are dangerous than #earthquake
And then there’s this tweet:
People who convert using sword are far more honest about their motives than
#SoulVultures,who prey on people when they are most vulnerable.
With someone’s reply:
I always maintained ‘Jejus loves u’ Types are more Dangerous than ‘Kill all Kaafirs’ ;)
Really? People who are evangelistic relief workers are more dangerous than an earthquake that has killed 1500 people thus far? Or even more dangerous than Muslim extremists who want to kill all non-Muslims? Those who come with aid to help improve or save life is the equivalent or worst than guys who want to take life? You don’t have to believe in Christianity to see that these claims are outrageous.
Then there were the tweets that called for “Soul Vultures” to be damned, the Army to shoot them and also for a “Hindu Inquisition” to be implemented against them. Irrational hate for Christianity knows no bound.
I want to deal with two things in this post. First I want to clarify what is the Christian Gospel that Christians want to share with others as I see so many strawman fallacies being committed on Twitter. Secondly, I want to consider some of the objections to Christian evangelistic relief efforts in light of the different worldviews/religion and note that their own worldview provide the undercutting defeater against their objection to Christian evangelistic earthquake relief aid. I want to look at the Gospel first as it will shape how one deal with the objections in part two.
First what is the Christian Message that Christians want to be shared in Nepal?
Again, I’m abhorred at the massive amount of misunderstanding as to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means among those who tweet against “Soul Vultures.” For the purpose of avoiding misrepresentation this is a paragraph summary of the Gospel:
The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all his ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin. Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is alienated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnatin at the hands of God. But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of his great love, sent his eternal Son born by the Virgin Mary, to die as a ransom and a substitue for the sins of rebellious people. And through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and his willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in his sight, have eternal life, and recieve the Spirit of God as a foetaste of the glories of heaven with God himself.”
(Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church Member?, 40-41)
Now this message will shape the way Christians share the Gospel. Christians who do share the Gospel are to do so in a loving manner motivated by the Love of God as Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15=
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Note here that their is no room for force, manipulation or strong arm tactics. Yet part of being loving is persuading people to be reconciled with God through Jesus Christ as verses 20-21 goes on to say=
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The sharing of the Good News to people must go around the World in light of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19-20. A Christian must put into practice lovingly and wisely presenting the Christian faith. Whether or not the person comes to Christ is up to them and the Lord.
Objections to sharing the Christian Message in Nepal After the Earth Quake
As noted already there is a strong resistance on Twitter against Christians helping people in need in Nepal who also have the goal of sharing the Gospel. No doubt some reading this will object that of course the above is important to the Christian; but Christians must also consider the faith of other people. And they are right. Here I am going to consider the objection to Christian sharing the Gospel in Nepal in light of other people’s faith and worldview. From my observation on Twitter I see objections coming from Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, “Christians” and various assortment that I’ll group together as “humanitarians.” I think the objection to Christians helping people in Nepal with both physical aid and the Gospel does not even make sense in light of the consideration of other propositions within their own belief systems. I will first look at the “humanitarian” objection as it overlaps with the objection of some of the other worldviews.
Humanitarians objection: “Christians who want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ after the Earthquake are not compassionate.”
The heart of the humanitarian objection is much pragmatic: They see the need to address the practical need of the here-and-now of desperate people and not some pie-in-sky matter. I think an example of this objection can be seen from the following Tweet:
#SoulVultures pryng fr lost souls in #NepalEarthquake, no cncrn for humans pain. They fed on asian flesh nw wnt soul
Note the complaint that the Christian evangelistic relief worker has “no concern for human pain.” But does this even make sense?
First off, it doesn’t make sense to say Christian evangelistic aid workers are not compassionate and not concern for human pain. It’s the opposite. Christians are concerned for people’s pain. Not just only with the temporal pain after an earthquake but with human pain for all of eternity. The Christian relief worker is like the humanitarian: He or she sees the reality of human suffering and is moved unto action. Not just for the phenomenon of the earthquake. But also in light of the eternal reality of hell. You might assert that Christianity is not true–but please don’t make the Global statement that all Christians are not concerned and compassionate for people’s pain.
Secondly, let’s say hypothetically Christians are not concerned for human pain. From a pragmatic “here-and-now ” perspective if Christians are on the ground in Nepal with physical aid for those who are hurting wouldn’t that be a good thing? Even if the intention might not be noble among some Christian relief workers the “here-and-now” result is that Western non-government Christian charities are coming with help for Nepal. The “humanitarians” have nothing to complain about in light of their own criteria. Ironically the humanitarians who object to Christian Gospel driven relief effort is more concern about the “pie-in-sky” innner motivation of the helper rather than the “here-and-now ” result. The objection makes no sense within their own worldview.
Thirdly, if the goal really is to get physical relief for people in Nepal then opposing Christian evangelistic-minded relief goes against this very goal.
Does an Atheist Objection make sense?
Atheists don’t believe in the existence of God. As I noted earlier some atheists on Twitter have also participated in the hash tag against #SoulVulture. But does an atheist objection against evangelistic aid workers in Nepal even make sense in their own worldview?
First off, some atheist put significance in helping people suffering from the Earthquake as the basis to condemn Christian who cannot put aside the promotion of the Gospel in their relief work. They presuppose that there is such things that are more meaningful and significant than other things but ironically the atheist worldview reduces everything as meaningless and insignificant since there is no significance and meaning for anything in a world of “pitiless indifference.” Note Richard Dawkins saying that things just “is:”
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
Why help people in such a universe? Helping people in this historic occassion means nothing when all of history means nothing since it “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing,” to quote Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Ultimately the atheist worldview has its own self-defeater against the significance of Earthquake relief over the propagation of the Gospel, but at the expense of reducing everything meaningless and insignificant.
Secondly, an atheist cannot assert that evangelistic relief effort is evil because within an atheist worldview there is no such thing as evil or good. Note Richard Dawkins’ famous quote:
The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
If there is no such thing as good or evil it makes no sense for them according to their own beliefs to condemn Christian relief missionary work as evil. For the atheist there is no standard of good and evil to “measure” the Christian and say they are wrong, evil, bad, etc.
Does an Hindu/Buddhist Objection make sense?
First off, for followers of Hinduism and Buddhism that believe in the doctrine of Maya, we must ask: Is it real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal to Christ? That is, if everything is ultimately an illusion (Maya) then it is not real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal. Or that an earthquake happened in the first place for that matter. And it is hard to make a Hindu objection to Christian doing evangelistic relief work if an Hindu or a Buddhist believes everything is an illusion since that claim itself is an illusion.
Secondly, there is a lot of objection on Twitter that Christianity is exclusive. It makes exclusivistic truth claims. An undercurrent behind this objection is that Hinduism/Buddhism is not exclusive like Christianity. And yet ironically they exclude Christianity.
Thirdly, in light of the point made above, if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive as it claims to be, then it would have to embrace Christianity as true. Thus Christians who are doing evangelistic relief work are providing spiritual truths to those who are hurting. But most Hindus/Buddhists on Twitter object to Christian presentation of the Gospel. Instead they want Christians to provide physical aid without involving the Gospel. But if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive and embrace Christianity as true, why would they reject the spiritual truths but only want physical aid? Do they want physical aide more than spiritual truths? If that is the case, isn’t this being attached to the material things with their physical desires being greater than their desire for spiritual realities? And isn’t that contrary to the ways of Buddhism and Hinduism?
Fourtly, perhaps Hindus/Buddhists object to the above and say Christianity is not true and they object to Christianity because it is not tolerant while their religions is tolerant. This does not make the problem go away. If they are truly tolerant will they tolerate Christians who come with earthquake aid who also lovingly present the Gospel and leave the decision up to the individuals?