Thursday, December 29, 2011

Have You Met Shame? He's All Over the Internet.

I've been reading The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come to the boys each night and I stumbled upon this conversation where Faithful is describing to Christian his encounter with Shame. I was amazed at how well John Bunyan could describe this individual way back in 1678. I seem to meet these same enlightened, moderns arguing their secular, atheistic ideas all over the Internet using these same tactics today. I guess foolishness and self-righteousness doesn't change much over the years. 

“Did you meet anyone else in the valley?” Christian inquired. Faithful answered, “Yes, I met with a man named Shame. However, of all the men that I met with in my pilgrimage, he, I think, bears the wrong name. The others would leave me after a little argumentation, but this bold-faced Shame would never have left me.”
“Why, what did he say to you?”  
Faithful said, “He objected to religion itself; he said it was a pitiful, low, sneaking business for a man to consider religion. He said that a tender conscience is an unmanly thing and that I would be the object of ridicule if I watched over my words and ways and did not allow myself the liberties to which the brave spirits of the times accustom themselves. He also observed that not many mighty, rich, or wise are of my opinion. He also was quick to point out that most of the pilgrims are disreputable, powerless, and poor. He said that those who follow the way are out of step with the times in which they live, proving their ignorance and lack of understanding in all natural science.  
“Yes, he railed against many things. For example, he said it was a shame to sit regretful and mournful under a sermon and a shame to come home sighing and groaning. He thought it a shame to ask my neighbor’s forgiveness for petty offenses or to make restitution when I had taken away something that belonged to another. He said that religion estranges men from the company of great men, who will tolerate vices (which he called by fine, respectable names), and makes them respect base sin because of their religious fraternity. Then he asked, ‘Is not this a shame?’”  
“And what did you say to him?” Christian asked.  
“At first I did not know what to say,” Faithful recounted. “He put my mind in such a spin that the blood rushed to my head. Yes, Shame almost silenced me. But then I began to consider, ‘That which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination to God.’ And I began to consider that Shame was telling me what men were like, but nothing about what God or the Word of God is like. 
 “Moreover, I realized that on the Day of Judgment we will not be doomed to death or life according to the harassing spirits of the world but according to the wisdom and law of the Highest. Therefore, thought I, what God says is indeed best, though all the men in the world are against it, seeing that God prefers His religion and a tender conscience. I understood that He calls those people wise who make themselves fools for the Kingdom of Heaven and declares that the poor man who loves Christ is richer than the greatest man in the world who hates Him. 
“So I said, ‘Shame, depart, for you are an enemy to my salvation! Shall I consider your arguments, Shame, against my Sovereign Lord? If so, then how can I look Him in the face at His coming? Can I now be ashamed of His ways and servants and expect the blessing?’ 
“Indeed, this Shame was a bold villain. I could hardly get him to leave my company. He would haunt me and continually whisper in my ear about one or another of the infirmities that attend religion. At last I told him it was useless for him to attempt to persuade me further, for those things that he disdained were the very things in which I saw the most glory. So at last I was able to leave the company of this unfortunate man. And when I had finally shaken him off, I began to sing:
 “The trials that those men do meet withal, Who are obedient to the heavenly call, Are manifold, and suited to the flesh, And come, and come, and come again afresh; That now, or sometime else, we by them may Be taken, overcome, and cast away. O let the pilgrims, let the pilgrims, then, Be vigilant, and quit themselves like men.”

Bunyan, John (2009). The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come (Kindle Locations 1239-1250). Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

You know this Shame, don't you? He hangs in forums, threads, and comments, delighting in nothing more than engaging in arguments and attempting to cloud the faith of those whom he hopes to provoke. When you meet this man it is best to do just as our friend Faithful, seek to be rid of his influence and presence. 
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