de·fend (dĭ-fěnd’) Pronunciation Key
v. de·fend·ed, de·fend·ing, de·fends
v. tr.

  1. To make or keep safe from danger, attack, or harm.
  2. Sports
    1. To attempt to prevent the opposition from scoring while playing in or near (a goal or area of a field, for example).
    2. To be responsible for guarding (an opposing player).
    3. To compete against a challenger in an attempt to retain (a championship).
    4. To represent (a defendant) in a civil or criminal action.
    5. To attempt to disprove or invalidate (an action or claim).
  3. To support or maintain, as by argument or action; justify.
  4. Law
    1. To represent (a defendant) in a civil or criminal action.
    2. To attempt to disprove or invalidate (an action or claim).

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I had a Christmas party tonight with some of my nearest and dearest chums. Since these chums are not only near and dear but also incredibly stimulating and wise, we were drawn into discussion, as we so often are, about our faith and what it looks like in real life. We came to the mutual conclusion that we hate not only the term, but moreover the need that so many Christians seem to feel to “defend their faith.”

Why do we automatically go on the defensive or the offensive when our faith is questioned, or attacked, or opposed? Why is our first thought not for the person who is questioning or attacking or opposing us, but for ourselves and the image of ourselves we feel the need to protect? Why do we never seem to realize that in “defending the faith,” we are simply proving the attack on our “faith” to be justified and right, because in “defending the faith,” we are showcasing our pride in the most hypocritical manner possible – a manner cloaked in the name of a God whose name is Love?

What we seem to neglect is the fact that anybody can argue any faith down to the bone. Any individual, regardless of their personal faith, can list and categorize every detail of any religion, can learn every argument necessary to win any debateable point, can memorize any holy book from cover to faded cover. I’m sure Ken Ham and Darryl G. Hart did extensive research in order to write their defensive treatises, and I’m sure their presented facts are quite valid and interesting. If researchable defense fails, one can turn to physical defense, in the manor of the Crusaders. With enough soldiers, enough horses, enough armour, enough swords, any religion can be defended quite successfully; one simply needs to exterminate the opposition, and you, by default, reign victorious.

There will always be someone who can logistically defend their side as well as you can defend yours. But what we cannot accomplish – not in research, not in facts, not in debates or military victories – is inexplicable peace. What we cannot accomplish is a relationship with Love that brings joy beyond anything we have ever experienced. We cannot defend this because it is not ours to explain or create. And this is what calls us to true faith.

So when we “defend the faith” … what are we defending except ourselves?

Don’t confuse that with faith. Don’t confuse that with Christianity. Any hypocrisy you are disillusioned by, any selfishness you have encountered, any hurt you have experienced from the mouths of those “defending the faith,” it is real, but it is not the work of Christ. Rather, it is the work of us blinded by pride and forgetting, if only for a moment, the name we are supposed to represent.

Christ. Jesus. God with us. And God is love – desiring a relationship… not a winning debate.

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5 thoughts on “

  1. This is quite an intelligent post. Thank you for making me think so early in the morning.

    So when we “defend the faith” … what are we defending except ourselves?

    What a great statement.

  2. Beautifully written. I’ve never really looked at it from this light before, or put it into so many words, but the basic point of Christianity—relationships rather than empty, hollow religiosity—is well expounded upon here. Thank you for giving me another look into the faith I’m beginning to love ^_^

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