Saturday, 16 August 2014

IF: Guilt's Little Cousin?

“If you (heart)
Jesus, repost.”

I don't know about you, but this has got to be one of my greatest social media pet peeve’s that I see out there time after time, and which has bothered me for a very long time. Bear with me as I rant a little. First of all let me be clear about something. This has nothing to do with whether or not I love Jesus; I do love Jesus, and I often do post things that reflect that love.

The problem, the way I see it, is the attached innuendo.

The problem is the “IF” this, then that statement. “IF” I love Jesus, then I will do something, which in this case is, repost. The innuendo then implies, “IF” I do not repost, then I must not love Jesus.

We see this all the time. Another post I saw recently stated:
Share "IF" you have the greatest son or daughter.
All nice and sweet, right? Who in their right mind wouldn’t admit that? I think I do have the greatest son and daughter any man could ever wish for, and as such I consider myself blessed. So what’s the problem?

The problem is, again, the message’s innuendo: “IF” you choose not to share, then you’re essentially saying that you do not think that you have the greatest son and daughter.

Do you see what I'm trying to say?

Why do (some) Christians do this? Another related common thinking is that, “IF” you are a Christian, then you will go to church … or tithe … or speak in tongues … or have a ministry, etc, etc, etc. By implication, then, “IF” I do not go to church … or tithe … or speak in tongues … or have a ministry, does that mean that I must not be a Christian?

The argument reminds me of a course in logical thinking that I had to take back in my college days. One element of the course dealt with dilemmas in the form of syllogisms. These syllogisms attempt to force us to take one of two positions; I either love Jesus or I don’t. “IF” I do, then this, but then along comes logic and says, “IF” I don’t, then that.

A famous example of this was attributed to Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. He developed an argument, which in one form or another, has often been used in evangelistic endeavors. It went something like this:
"IF" God exists, I have everything to gain by believing in Him. And "IF" God does not exist, I have nothing to lose by believing in Him. Either God does or does not exist. Therefore, I have everything to gain or nothing to lose by believing in God.
Despite the logic, I guess the reason that the above Facebook post and others like it bother me so much is that I cannot seem to come away from them without feeling like I am being guilted into doing something. Something might be cute or funny or profound enough to make me share and repost it, and I sometimes do. But when I’m told to share or repost using that little word “IF,” well that’s now a whole other story. Maybe it’s just me, but the innuendo I hear behind “IF” is GUILT.

I’ve listened to enough guilt in the past, and I don’t do guilt anymore. Having said that, “IF” I’ve ever dished out the guilt your way then I’m sorry. (But I guess then “IF” I haven’t dished out the guilt your way, I’m not sorry ???)

That’s the way I see it. Peace.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

1 comment:

  1. It always feels so manipulative to me. Anyway, I think someone else used that line once.

    "If you are the son of God…"