I’ve discovered the easiest way to decide what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”: by asking, “Am I being forced to accept this?”
If someone lays out the facts, then takes a step back to let me ponder and evaluate, then I’m much more inclined to accept their position.
But if someone tries to force their ideas on me, I dig in my heels and refuse to budge, because something is fundamentally wrong with the argument if it must be forced to be accepted.
And it doesn’t matter who or for what cause they’re forcing. I’ve known very religious people try to force their children/spouses to obey them. I’ve known agnostics and atheists do the same thing.
Force is always wrong, because it takes away a person’s agency: their God-given right to choose for themselves. And it IS God-given. That’s not a nicety, but a reality.
No ideology, political group, religious organization, government or family member has the right to force their opinion and will upon another. If someone is trying to control another, you can be sure they are acting devilish. That’s not an euphemism, but a fact: Satan is all about control, about force, about taking away freedoms. Lucifer is real, and his influence is very easy to spot. If someone’s trying to control you, there he is.
God, however, is not about control or force. Many religious groups and zealots, however, will hijack the notion of “god” and appropriate it as their own, pretending that their cause is god-driven and therefore you must follow. But the only god they’re following is the one they made up; they’re worshiping themselves and want you as a follower.
God, on the other hand, sent us to this earth as a testing ground. He wants us to choose right or wrong, good or evil, and He so values our freedom that, when we make mistakes, He’s even given us a way to fix them. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sins so we could come back to Him.
BUT–and this is a big BUT–only if we want to.
God is our Father, and like any good father He wants His children back home. But He will never force us back, never force His will. He sets out His terms, His promises, His hopes, then takes a step back and lets us choose for ourselves.
That is love.
Satan is not.
And every last argument in the world plays into either of these two courts: Are you being forced, or are you allowed to choose?
“You can’t force your will on someone,” Peto would say as he hauled the flailing teenager to the barn, “and demand they do what you want. That’s the Refuser’s way, not the Creator’s way. The Creator allows everyone to choose their way, even if it’s the stupid way. But the Refuser wants to control everyone’s lives. That’s not our way!” ~Book 7, The Soldier in the Middle of the World, coming October 2017