As Christians, we are called to love and respect all people, regardless of their beliefs. While we may have different convictions and worldviews, it is essential to show kindness and compassion towards others. This raises the question: Do Christians have a license to slander the gods of others? Let’s consider some biblical passages that address this question and seek insight on how we can approach this topic with grace and truth.
Paul in Ephesus
In Acts 19:37, the town clerk of Ephesus is trying to calm a riot that had erupted due to the preaching of the apostle Paul. He reminds the crowd that the city’s reputation for worshiping the goddess Artemis is well-known, saying, “For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess”. This implies that the apostles did not engage in slandering pagan gods, even in a heated situation like a riot.
Warnings against false teachers
Both 2 Peter 2:10-11 and Jude 1:8-10 warn against false teachers who speak disrespectfully of celestial beings, whether those beings be angels or demons. These passages caution against arrogance with things we do not understand and urge Christians to be mindful of their words. It also implies that those slandering such beings are out of line.
Implications for Christians
Based on these passages, it doesn’t seem that Christians are are given any license to slander pagan gods, even were we to consider them demons. While we are called to proclaim the truth about God and the gospel, we must do so with respect and kindness towards others. We should not use our words to tear down or belittle those who hold different beliefs but rather seek to engage in meaningful conversations with them.
In addition, it is important to remember that our ultimate goal is not to prove others wrong but to share the love of Jesus with them. As 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
In conclusion, Christians do not have a license to slander pagan gods. Instead, we are called to love and respect all people, regardless of their beliefs. While we may have different convictions and worldviews, we must approach conversations about spirituality with grace and truth, seeking to build bridges rather than walls. May we always honor Christ with our words and actions and show the love of Christ to all those around us.