The other day, at the Unbelievable? forums, a Christian user asked atheists if they would deny their atheism if it would save their life. You know, a guy is holding a gun to your head and will shoot you unless you pretend you’re not really an atheist after all. Personally, I’d have no problem lying in this situation. Apart from a general love of life, I’m sure my wife and son would prefer me alive than dead.
The question is obviously derived from a familiar scenario Christians sometimes think about:
You’re in church one Sunday morning, and a gunman enters the building. He comes over to you, points his gun in your direction, and says “Deny Christ or die“. What should you do?
I remember hearing a few sermons preached on such a topic. And it saddens me greatly that there are true stories of such horrible events taking place in our world. But the question is an interesting one. It can be difficult to answer such hypothetical questions, but recalling my Christian days, I remember thinking “I hope I’d have the courage to die for my beliefs”, and I strongly believe that I would have done just that. I was confident that I was looking forward to eternal life, so my earthly life being cut short like that wouldn’t really matter in the long run. What’s more, my death as a martyr might just prove to be a compelling witness to others, and I might just achieve more for Christ in my death than I ever could in my life. There’s also the possibility of a miracle. And besides, “Not my will, but yours”, right? So I fully understand the Christian who responds to the question by saying that you should not deny Christ even if meant your demise.
The message seems to be that your loyalty to Christ should come above everything, even your own life. But should it really come before everything? How about…
You’re in church one Sunday morning, and a gunman enters the building. He comes over to you, points his gun in the general direction of the other church goers, and says “Deny Christ or they all die“. What should you do?
There’s a lot I could say about this, but I’d prefer to leave it open for people to mull over it. I’d really like some Christians to have a good hard think about their response, without trying to avoid answering the question. If you were in that situation, what would you do? What should you do? You only have two options: deny Christ and your fellow church members survive, or profess your loyalty and see them all killed. So what would you do? And why?