One thing to notice in religious debate today is how some in the name of "tolerance" or the pretense of "community/dialogue" are actually hiding behind deception by which they not only seek to disguise their own intentions but also to avoid confrontation with the truth ... the gospel truth.
Recently, I've noticed statements on the part of unbelievers (one an agnostic, another a "pluralistic Hindu) in dialogue (/debate) with Christians such as:
..."I appreciate the fact that you are nice to me. Please don't change." Another stated "I am very much impressed by you. My hats are off for being very COOL and not getting angry when you write your theories about God and salvation."
What's interesting is that in both cases, while the debate began on this note, as soon as the debate advanced to include anything related to the exclusive nature and demands of the gospel, ... the attitude and tone of those who previously had set such a "high" value on relationship and tolerance changed, and eventually, even within a few exchanges, the unbelievers came to admit themselves their intent neither was nor had been to engage in mutual dialoge, but to attempt to prove the Christian and his position wrong (if that were possible). Note - They did this by false pretense, or by suggesting & setting forth a facade by which the Christian, if unaware or undiscerning, might be deceived (be or become preconditioned) to either make allowances he otherwise wouldn't or shouldn't make, or find himself in a position having offered himself as a sheep before a hungry wolf. (Does "Little Red Riding Hood" come to mind?)
This should not surprise us in a day where emerging principles seem to set community, fellowship and dialogue in the forefront over and against doctrine and orthodoxy. It appears one method of the enemy is to CAPITALIZE on this stage of relationship and gospel proclamation, so as not only to deceive believers, and catch them off guard, but so as to enable unbelievers to avoid the truth and demands of the gospel, which reveal the nature, intentions and persuasions of their hearts.
My point is simply this:
Christian apologists, DO NOT BE MISLED or DECEIVED by such statements!
1. Anytime you see such statements, be mindful that the unbeliever may be hiding behind deception. Note: moving fairly quickly to the gospel and exclusive claims of Christ willl reveal whether this is a facade or not.
2. Remember that much time can be spent under this pretense arguing with individuals regarding details when the other person is not interested in what you have to say. Better to deal with them and bring them to the issues of the gospel and of accepting or rejecting Christ than spend endless time answering their questions when we can be ministering to others. (Note - this is not to suggest that even those who hide behind this facade don't need Christ, but it's better to be aware when deciding upon the commitment of your time.)