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by Hilary Tompkins
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Love Your Enemies, Huh?
A few years ago, a documentary called Collision was made where Douglas Wilson debated Christopher Hitchens on Is Christianity Good for the World? Hundreds of hours of footage was shot and edited down to 90 minutes of solid debate and conversation. The clip you see above didn't make into that 90 minutes. Consider it deleted scenes. This is the first time it's being released, and we have it here for you to learn what it means and looks like to make a defense for your faith.
Notes from Douglas Wilson
In this clip, Christopher is taking issue with the heart and soul of Christian living, which is love. This is Christopher at the top of his enfant terrible form—attacking love! He will be kicking puppies next, trying to get all the Christians to gasp and go white in the face.
Love for God and neighbor is the summation of all the law and the prophets. Love describes the way God is, and the command to love is really a command to be like God. To obey it (by grace) is to bring yourself into conformity with ultimate reality. But Christopher didn’t like being told what to do, and he especially didn’t like being commanded to love. He regarded this kind of love as an extraordinary bit of luck, if it happens to you, but it could not be a rule to be followed. And he reserved a special ire for the command that Scripture gives to us when we are told to love our enemies. That is something that Christopher flatly refused to do.
But let us stop and reflect for a moment. One of Christopher’s favorite tricks was that of saying shocking things, and this was designed to get us to stop thinking about what was just said. In the previous outtake from Collision, his complaint against God was that God treated his enemies in exactly the way that Christopher was insisting (now) that our enemies must be treated. In short, in the previous clip, how dare God send his enemies to hell? In this clip, how dare God interfere with our attempts to send them there?
Cornelius Van Til once used the illustration of a rebellious child who needs to sit on his father’s lap in order to slap him. In order to attack God, a rebel must pick some place to stand (which necessarily must be an attribute of God’s considered in isolation) in order to be able to be critical of another of God’s attributes. These two video clips provide a perfect illustration of the technique. In this clip, Christopher uses the doctrine of justice to attack God’s words concerning love. In the previous clip, sitting at the same table, he was using the reality of God’s love to attack God’s words concerning justice.
G.K. Chesterton once said that it began to look as though Christianity were not big enough to encompass any errors, but rather that any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with.