However, I also want to take the opportunity to illustrate the opposite side of the equation. Sometimes those outside the church work very hard, in my opinion, to find a reason to attach these labels to Christianity, even when it is not justified. I recently read a conversation on Facebook which began with the following post:
In fact, virtually every time you come across a Christian saying something to the effect of "do the right thing, regardless of the consequences," he or she is speaking of personal consequences like I suggested in my response. To give just a few examples:
This most certainly is not " the opposite of the teachings of Jesus." In fact, it is absolutely critical to the central message of the cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39. Christ willingly went to the cross because he knew it was the right thing, regardless of the horrifying consequences to himself.
Perhaps what is most telling is that even after I posted my comment, the unwarranted assumptions continued:
"Christian extremists use this kind of phrasing to justify hate crimes and they are getting bolder in their speaking about their views."
"Welcome to the Age of The Crusades Resurrected. BELIEVE OR PERISH!!!"
All this from an e-signature.
"Fiat Justitia et Pereat Mundus" is an old Latin phrase meaning "Let there be justice, though the world perish." In a 2009 film it was paraphrased, "Do the right thing, come what may." This phrase, or variations thereof, have been used by Emperor Ferdinand I, 16th century author Johannes Manlius and philosopher Immanuel Kant. It has been viewed as a noble and worthy calling for centuries. Yet for some people, when it comes from the mouths of Christians, it is seen as a call to radical extremism. Some of this may be viewed as a symptom of the times, when acts of Islamic terrorism have been responsible for the deaths of thousands. People are "on guard" for religious extremists of any stripe. And while there may be some element of truth in that, our generation does not corner the market on violence in the name of, or in opposition to, religion.
Sometimes Christians are responsible for bringing about the negative perceptions that are attached to them. But many times they are not. Some people are so determined to believe what they wish about Christianity that they will convince themselves that they see evidence even when it is not there. Whether it is in respect to Christianity or any other worldview, we must all be cautious to follow the evidence only where it leads, and not read our unjustified biases between the lines.