Quit Shoving Your Religion Down My Throat!
by Errol Hale
Do you believe that you have had religion shoved down your throat? What made you feel that way? “Quit shoving your religion down my throat,” is a favorite cry of those who do not like it when Christians talk about their faith in Christ. Is it a valid accusation? Do Christians really shove their religion down people’s throats? Or is this cry really a smoke screen for something else?
Is the Problem with the Shoving?
I am amused when I hear people accuse Christians of shoving our religion down their throats. I wonder if these same people get equally upset when other things are shoved down their throats? Are the landscapers who troll our neighborhoods for business by throwing little bags, weighted with rocks, containing ads for their services, “shoving gardening down people’s throats”? When real estate advertisements are hung on every door in a neighborhood, is the realtor guilty of “shoving real estate down anyone’s throat?” When the Pennysaver arrives in our mailboxes each week, do these same angry folks become incensed that classified ads are being “shoved down their throats?” The obvious answer is, “No.” Why? Because people understand that the ads go to every house, so if they don’t want the ads, they just throw them away.
Is the Problem with Religion?
Try to get away from the non- and irreligious ideologies constantly blaring from every form of media. Television, radio, internet, billboards, print media, and even illegal graffiti assault our eyes and ears relentlessly with messages we do not want to hear or see. Are people as offended that these are shoved down our throats as some are about the alleged religious force-feeding they are kicking against? Probably not. Why?
Or Is It Something Else?
The answer to this is simple. Though people do not like a variety of things, some people downright hate God, Jesus Christ and Christianity. People who accuse Christians of “shoving religion down their throats,” are not really upset about having something shoved down their throats. That goes on all the time. But let Jesus Christ be mentioned, and the knee-jerk reaction is, “Quit shoving religion down my throat.” What these individuals are really upset about is Jesus Christ. They do not want to answer to Him, so they do not want to be reminded that He exists, and that they will answer to Him.
This aversion to religion being shoved down our throats is really about Christianity. The religion of naturalistic evolution that teaches that everything came from nothing—by itself, has been systematically preached at us until most people not only believe it, but believe science supports it. How many are up in arms about that form of religion being shoved down our throats? And what about Yoga? Look it up in any dictionary or encyclopedia. Yoga is part of the meditative practices in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Janism. We don’t think twice about the Yoga classes at the gym, when friends tell us how great Yoga is, or when our physician suggests Yoga as a health practice; but what if Christian prayer were substituted for Yoga by our family doctors? They would immediately be accused of “shoving religion down our throats.” Can you see that people’s problem isn’t with having things pushed on them? That happens all the time. Nor is people’s problem with religion. Their problem is with Jesus Christ.
I find it amusing that Christians are accused of shoving religion down people’s throats, when truth be told, most Christians are so timid when it comes to speaking about their faith, they are virtually incapable of shoving it down anyone’s throat.
Why Do Christians Even Talk About It?
One of the tenets of the Christian faith is that it is universally true. That means Christianity cannot not be “true for some, and not true for others.” Why? Because Jesus Christ said that He is truth, and that He is the only way to God. So if He is right, He is the only way. If He is wrong, He is a liar and therefore no way at all. Those who claim to be Christians, but believe Christianity is “true for them, but not for others,” do not understand Christianity and are probably not Christians.
Another tenet of the Christian faith is that it is evangelistic. That means it is good news and it is to be proclaimed. When people who claim to be Christians are comfortable with a “private faith” that they “keep to themselves,” they are not following Jesus’ clear command to proclaim the Christian faith to everyone everywhere. These things being true about Christianity, Christians cannot keep their faith to themselves. If we are Christians, we must proclaim Christ.
Shoving or Merely Proclaiming?
Does proclaiming Christ mean that we are to “shove our religion down people’s throats”? Not in the least. Jesus commanded his followers to proclaim the gospel; He didn’t say “force the gospel.” The Christian gospel is to be believed from the heart, and since hearts cannot be forced to believe anything, Christianity cannot be forced. Our goal as Christians is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to trust God to change people’s hearts inclining them to believe. After all, no one but God can accomplish that feat.
The gospel (good news) we proclaim is simple: God is holy and He demands holiness from all people. No one is holy as God is holy, so all are condemned. But God loves us enough to provide one way by which we may escape His just judgment. That way is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is eternal God, who became man. As a Man, He lived the only perfectly holy life, thereby earning the reward of Heaven instead of the wrath of Hell. When He gave up His life on the cross, He received the punishment we deserve for our sins. When He rose from the dead He conquered sin, death and hell. What God requires of us in order to receive the full benefit of what Jesus did, is to trust that Jesus is who He said He is, and that He did what the Bible says He did. Trusting in Jesus means loving and following Him for all He has done for us. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am not, nor can I shove anything down anyone’s throat. Like any other presentation of the gospel, I merely proclaim Jesus Christ. It is now between you and God whether you will believe or not.