Does conviction require coercion?

The same conversation, three times in one day:

Religion and Culture – what makes religions come into such violent conflict?
Systematic Theology – how do you do apologetics in a postmodern world?
Stuff Christians Like – what does “redeeming culture” mean? how is that connected to evangelism?
Religions spawn violence because they are non-negotiable. The whole point of religion is to tell you what things are most important. The best way to avoid violence is to compromise, and a deeply-held religion brooks no compromise.
Apologetics in a postmodern world has to abandon the idea that truth is the best thing we have to offer the world. Postmoderns are not looking for truth; they are looking for individual freedom and fulfillment. The best thing we have to offer them is respect for their individuality, and the opportunity, when sought, to escape the tyranny of self.
Redeeming culture literally means to “buy it back.” It doesn’t mean replacing or ignoring or accepting culture. It means transforming culture. We all contribute to the world in different ways; our contributions must bear Christ’s image.
The reason these questions seem so puzzling is because, as Christians, we have a terribly difficult time seeing anything from outside of our perspective, so that often we never even consider that someone else’s priorities and assumptions may differ from ours. We like to talk about Christ “meeting us where we are.” We don’t like to talk about meeting others where they are. We talk about “culture wars” when really, the vast majority of non-Christians aren’t trying to fight anyone; so we try to drag people over to our side when what they need is someone to tend their wounds. This is simply another manifestation of religious violence borne out of an inability to allow others their choices. Instead, we must prayerfully and patiently exhibit Christ’s love to the world with such beauty and strength and calm conviction that our lives become the final, undeniable proof of His supernatural grace.
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