Appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country recently, Bill Maher launched the most recent attack on people of faith suggesting that we have a neurosis that stops people from thinking. He said, “I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality. It is the 21st century. And I will tell you, my friend. The future does not belong to the evangelicals.”
Although his views about religion aren’t held by most Americans, we’re experiencing an escalation of negative rhetoric. Rather than dwelling on ideas, more and more individuals with platforms like Maher’s resort to a barrage of belittling comments about the intelligence of people of faith. While we shouldn’t retreat from such frontal attacks, most of us don’t engage in daily debates with the men and women with whom we work. Many of them, however, will have heard or read Maher’s comments. Do they agree with him? If they don’t have evidence to the contrary they might.
Do you think the men and women in your workplace who know you have enough evidence to make them think twice about buying Maher’s diatribe? I hope they do, because we can be sure that this line of attack will continue. In fact it’s never stopped since the serpent suggest to Eve that she was misled by her faith in God. The question of whether Maher and his tribe increase has much more to do with your life and character at work than you might imagine. Are you a person of competence and intergrity? Do you show your intelligence by giving thoughtful answers or are you parroting talking points? Do people trust you? Do people know you care about them? This line of evidence has more power than reversing the attack on Maher. That’s why I co-authored Going Public with Your Faith, to help you know how to build spiritual influence in your workplace.
Beyond our competence and character, we do need to be able to give thoughtful, respectful answers to men and women’s honest questions about our faith. Dr. Tim Keller of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church has provided some of the most thoughtful answers to the critics’ challenges to the Christian faith in a serious of messages entitled The Trouble with Christianity. Keller has seen Redeemer grow to several thousand smart, savvy New Yorkers over the last decade. That should be testimony enough to suggest that he knows how to intelligently answer the tough questions we get thrown at us about our faith. You can find this series for download at the Redeemer website. After listening you’ll know how uninteligent Maher’s comments really are.