Although I think there are more important issues to talk about, yet since many unbelievers make a big deal about this, I’ll address it.
Many unbelievers seem to think that they are entitled to a certain standard of treatment. Indeed, to a Christian standard of treatment. And if they’re not treated the way they think that deserve, they scream “Hypocrisy!”
By way of reply:
1.I agree that Christians should treat everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, according to Christian standards.
However, secular critics have a very shaky grasp of Christian ethics. They seem to get their idea of Christian ethics from Mahatmas Gandhi or Touched by an Angel.
Then, when a Christian fails to live up to their thirdhand misconception, they scream “Hypocrisy!”
But to say that we treat everyone according to the same standard, and to say that we treat everyone the same way, is a non sequitur.
Although the Bible has the same standard for believer and unbeliever alike, it doesn’t treat believers and unbelievers alike, for the obvious reason that believers and unbelievers are unlike.
Indeed, many unbelievers go out of their way to distinguish themselves from their believing neighbors.
Moreover, not all unbelievers are alike. The Bible doesn’t treat apostates the same way it treats ignorant pagans.
I have the same standard for everyone, Yet its the very same standard that distinguishes between believers and unbelievers, as well as one unbeliever and another.
2.But an even more interesting question is why an unbeliever would want a Christian to treat him according to Christian standards of conduct.
After all, an unbeliever regards Christian ethics as unethical from the standpoint of secular ethics. Unbelievers typically demonize Bible morality.
So why in the world would an unbeliever want to be treated according to the canons of a false value system?
If anything, you’d expect an unbeliever to complain about being treating according to Christian values, and be grateful whenever a Christian is inconsistent.
For example, would an unbeliever really want Cotton Mather to treat the him consistent with Mather’s Puritanical principles?
Unbelievers can’t make up their minds about how they want Christians to treat them. We’re either blamed for being too Christian or too un-Christian. Which is it?
3.I’m at least as nice to the average apostate as Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett or Bertrand Russell or Robert Ingersoll or Sam Harris is to the average Christian.
Why do unbelievers get so lathered up when I treat a secularist according to secular standards of conduct?
If they demonize Christian ethics, then what’s the alternative? If they don’t want us to treat them according to a Christian code of conduct, then what’s the alternative?
The only alternative would be some form of secular ethics. But when we borrow their yardstick and return the favor, they act as if we’d done them a grave injustice.
Once again, unbelievers can’t make up their minds about how we should treat them. If we talk to them or about them the same way that Dawkins or Dennett or Russell or Ingersoll or Harris talk about Christians, then they wax indignant.
4.Finally, unbelievers, or at least militant unbelievers, seem to think they should be treated with the utmost respect while they treat God with the utmost disrespect.
Here’s the deal: I’ll treat you as respectfully as you treat the Lord.
Imagine someone who went out of his way to disrespect my father or mother or sister or brother, but expected me to be respectful in return. Respect is a two-way street.