Evangelical Christians, among others, have private (personal) beliefs that people such as I consider uninteresting, intellectually lacking, or irrational. As long as they do not try to force their beliefs on me or demand special treatment for their beliefs, I am quite indifferent to their beliefs. I have no interest in regulating what people believe about God, Jesus, the Bible, or anything else for that matter.
However, when the Evangelical Christian states/argues/debates his beliefs in the public space: newspaper, TV, books, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, the internet, public meetings, etc., then the rules of engagement change. Once these beliefs are uttered publicly they are no longer considered private and are open to criticism, investigation, debate, ridicule, mockery, and attack. Those people deciding to utter their beliefs in public should know this, and if they don’t, they are in for a rude awakening the first time they “share” their beliefs publicly.
As a writer, hopeful author, essayist of letters to the local newspaper, and the public face of atheism where I live, I am considered a public figure. As such, I open myself up to criticism, investigation, debate, ridicule, mockery, and attack. While I would hope people would treat me fairly and with respect, I have no right to expect such treatment and I have no recourse if someone lies about me, distorts my beliefs, or attacks me personally.
I can’t can’t do anything about what someone may say about me or my writing on their own blog or in an internet forum. I can’t control the sermons Evangelical preachers preach about me. They can take something I have written and twist and distort it and there is nothing I can do about this. This is the wild, woolly nature of the public space.
I wish Evangelical Christians would understand the difference between private and public. When they drag their beliefs into the public space, they have no right to whine, moan, or complain that I am attacking them and their beliefs. If they don’t want their beliefs assaulted or challenged then they need to keep them out of the public space. As Tristan Vick said in a comment:
Someone needs to tell this caterwauling Christian that it’s people who have rights, not ideas.
And all of Darwin’s people said Amen!