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I recently uploaded a picture to Facebook in the style of the KEEP CALM posters, which said "KEEP CALM, JESUS IS COMING". I knew before I posted it that I would likely receive spiritual attack from this, however it was something that I wanted to share, so I went ahead.

Pretty soon after this, I was involved in a debate between a Buddhist believer, and my best friend, who is an Atheist, who, from where I was concerned both seemed intent on attacking my faith trough argument that "there is no proof of Jesus", and claimed that even the picture I uploaded was offensive and meant for provoking spiritual attack. When I spoke of truth being a part of the spiritual armor, I was again attacked claiming that this was like "Islamic Jihad"...

I stated that the aim of uploading this picture was to share the love of Christ, regardless of their acceptance of it, and to be fair, if they didn't want to accept it, they could have just ignored it, right?

The debate is so far unresolved, but I feel angered, and disappointed that I have come under such scrutiny, in as far as I'm concerned, a spriritual conflict, which my best friend said: "didn't exist".

But just how far should I go to resolve this, and make my point clear? should I perhaps just walk away, and resolve this at least in my own mind, with prayer?

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closed as not constructive by Kazark, David Stratton, JustinY, Jon Ericson, Andrew Nov 19 '12 at 21:20

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I like this question as I've ran in to the same thing on Facebook, but I think you need to scope it to the site to ask about a particular tradition and make it clear you're not looking for spiritual direction or pastoral advice –  Peter Turner Nov 16 '12 at 15:59
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Know where to draw the line between being showing your own joy and being passive aggressive. If the thought foremost in your mind as you uploaded that picture was other people's negative reactions to it, then you weren't actually doing it to "show your love of Jesus". You're just fooling yourself. On the other hand, if you uploaded it joyfully, with other people's negative reactions very much in the back of your mind, then you're probably okay. I am not a professional ethicist. This is a comment, not an answer. –  TRiG Nov 16 '12 at 19:00
    
You are in conflict .. KEEP CALM, JESUS IS COMING - but you feel angered .. you want "to share love of Christ" but your best friend is atheist .. the line between spiritual attack and spiritual defense is in your heart and mind .. KEEP CALM –  Iulian Nov 16 '12 at 21:42
    
If someone tries to tell that you your picture is "like Islamic jihad," ask them who your picture has killed, or what buildings it's blown up. –  Mason Wheeler Nov 19 '12 at 21:13
    
@MasonWheeler. Slander doesn't help. Jihad in Islam is generally seen as an internal struggle; and Christianity is just as full of violent imagery (war with the Devil, &c.). –  TRiG Dec 1 '12 at 17:12
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The main problem is your friends' world views are fundamentally opposed to yours (or at least to what they understand is yours). Most "harmless" words of encouragement between Christians fall on, at best, deaf ears to someone who doesn't share your set of "givens".

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6

The reason they responded so defensively and violently is because a logical consequence of their worldview is that God is the enemy. The predominant image of God as the angry Judge who demands infinite sacrifice for the smallest offenses is in the minds of many reasonable people a monster. When you say "Jesus is coming", they (consciously or not) probably hear something like "...to send me to Hell for not believing in fairy tales" which is simply unjust in their mind. What you intended as encouragement therefore comes across as a threat, triggering the fight or flight response you witnessed. Talk of "spiritual armor" tends to reinforce the image of you as a crusader. I would give it some time to cool off and if you do come back to the "battlefield", maybe approach the discussion a different way. Maybe try asking them what they found so offensive or aggressive about your posts rather than just insisting you're wearing God's truth as armor against their spiritual attack.

To be fair, I'm not sure this counts as a spiritual attack anyways since it's really just a debate between opposing theologies.

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I'm coming from a United Methodist tradition, if that makes a difference

The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables. He replied in Matthew 13:11-13 (NRSV)

[Jesus] answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.”

Jesus didn't want to take away from those who have nothing.

In other words, Jesus kept his audience in mind when he spoke about spiritual things.

Now, I'm assuming you have more than 2 Facebook friends. I would say that you could post spiritual thoughts on Facebook, and you gave the justification.

I stated that the aim of uploading this picture was to share the love of Christ, regardless of their acceptance of it, and to be fair, if they didn't want to accept it, they could have just ignored it, right?

Right, except that you also confessed this thought.

I knew before I posted it that I would likely receive spiritual attack from this...

I don't mean this as personal spiritual guidance, but the question you (all of you) have to ask yourselves is, "Am I taking away from those who have nothing?"

Edited to add TRIG's comment (which I believe goes to the "heart" of posting):

If the thought foremost in your mind as you uploaded that picture was other people's negative reactions to it, then you weren't actually doing it to "show your love of Jesus". You're just fooling yourself. On the other hand, if you uploaded it joyfully, with other people's negative reactions very much in the back of your mind, then you're probably okay.

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When truth is the matter (and it is, when we talk about God and religion), it's easy (and just) to see propagation of worldview A as an attack to worldview B. This is worsened by false images of others' beliefs, as Kurosch wrote.

Two things make difference: the way how you present the truth (your faith in the Truth, Jesus Christ) and your audience's prejudice. These are joint vessels: the more prejudice in the others, the more carefully you have to act. I would suggest you to avoid such phrases (for you, statement like "I have armor of faith" or "Jesus comes" are not meaningless phrases, but how could they understand?) and focus on "neutral" chatting and questions. When you try to understand the others beliefs, they would be more likely to listen to you, and you will more easily explain your faith in a way they can understand. To apologize your faith might be good to persuade a reasonable people (when they really calm down), but in the first time they usually even more enrage them. In face-to-face situation, I would suggest listening, staying quiet and praying for the other person and for guidance of Holy Spirit, until a) you find out what to say and b) they calm down. Then (or during their offensive) you can ask questions about their beliefs, their motivations and their assumptions about your faith. Ideally, you will help them to realize they have beaten the void, that they critised their assumptions about Christianity and not real Christianity itself. Sometimes even direct attack helps to achieve this goal, but it's risky and you must be extra sure it's from Holy Spirit, and don't try it if you don't have enough practice of peaceful discussion about religion, asking questions and listening to your opposition. In medieval disputations, the side who attacked more strongly rarely won, but the one who understood the other's position better usually was the winner.

This assumes that you are able to keep calm. If you are hurt by their verbal attacks too much (and try to protect yourself too much), how can they believe that you are not the fanatic they assumed you to be? Test your heart - if you can't bear attacking your faith, try to avoid these situations and to get stronger yourself. Pray for them, try to understand your faith deeper and deeper and try to understand their position. Few tips to consider: - What you see as attack might bee seen a a defense by the other side. Defence is not solution, understanding is the solution. - Mother Teresa (not exact citation, just as I remember it): "For a long time I thought I have to convert others. Then I realised I have to love them and it's up to God to convert them." - God is greater than anyone mocking Him. Remeber Jesus on the cross - he didn't reply and even though it must have hurted Him, he kept silent and died for them. - Do you know they won't become Christians later? And do you know what will help them to believe or what will keep them away from faith? Even the worst opponent can become a devout Christion - remember apostle Paul.

One more thing: timing matters too. There is a evangelisation technique called "traffic light" - almost everyone is open to talk about religion (and to listen to the other side), but not always. When the person is not in the mood for profound talking and thinking ("red light"), any mention of your faith only disgusts or enrages the person. Sometimes green light is on and the person is ready to discuss questions of faith. It doesn't have to be easy, still they can be critical, but it's much better. It's not easy to guess which light is on (especially for not very empathic beginers) and it's even more difficult through internet, so your poster might have just arrived to their "red mood".

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