Monday, November 03, 2008

Mike Huckabee Provides an Excellent Role Model For How to Converse With Militant Agnostics (Bill Maher)

This clip was from his show just a day or two ago. I have immense admiration for Mike Huckabee. He's is a very likable, intelligent, gracious, non-controversial example of a (politically conservative) Christian man who wants to apply his faith to cultural issues, and to sensibly interact with others who disagree.

The way he interacted with agnostic comedian and extreme critic of organized religion Bill Maher was superb. It should be required viewing for everyone who wants to do any apologetics at all with non-Christian skeptics. Basically, one has to show personal respect, let the other person talk as much as he or she wants (which everyone appreciates), not lecture them at every opportunity, and to try to build a personal friendship, within which the progress of mutual understanding can be made. Wikipedia provides some background on Maher:
Maher was raised in his Irish American father's Catholic religion, and did not find out that his mother was Jewish until his teenage years; Maher's family stopped attending church when Maher was thirteen, because of Maher's father's disagreement with the Pope's position on birth control.

[that was in 1969, right after Humanae Vitae]
Before this, he had actor Richard Dreyfuss on the show, and let him basically "preach" about the Enlightenment (most of the time looking into the audience rather than towards the host). It was an exceedingly odd segment because of Dreyfuss' scatterbrain, thoughts-all-jumbled-together method of communication, but it showed again that dialogue (of a sort) was possible with those of the liberal persuasion.

The best part of the whole portion with Maher was arguably what Huckabee said afterwards (which unfortunately was not on this clip). He made a comment to the effect that his religious faith was not threatened at all by those who want to disagree with or criticize it, that he had a civil relationship with Maher and others with whom he disagreed, and that those of us who are Christians need to be confident in our faith and to know how to defend it (apologetics). It was a wonderful public affirmation of the Christian faith: one that is rarely seen on "secular" television.

Usually, Christians in these public situations are either ignorant, embarrassed to express things publicly, or compromised in some fashion. Huckabee exhibited none of those shortcomings. The late great journalist Tim Russert was respected for his Catholic faith, but would rarely express it in public. He apparently bought the liberal line about "separation of faith and life" (or else felt that personal opinions had no place in objective journalism, which view has some merit to it: a lot better than the openly biased reporters that are now as populous as flies). But Huckabee is as likable as Russert was, without the reluctance to express his (Baptist) faith on television.

Extreme kudos and bravo!

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