a bridge

A Tale of Two Worldviews

Chris­tian­i­ty is fas­ci­nat­ing. The sto­ries of the Bible, the mir­a­cles and teach­ings described through­out? It’s end­less­ly curi­ous, with more nuance than it is often giv­en cred­it for, par­tic­u­lar­ly among my fel­low unbelievers.

Far too often, unbe­liev­ers pick up on car­i­ca­tures of Chris­tian­i­ty — shal­low exag­ger­a­tions or dis­tor­tions that can be eas­i­ly mocked in text­book exam­ples of the straw­man fal­la­cy.1 Adam and Eve, for exam­ple, get replaced by “a mud man and a trans­gen­der clone rib woman.“2

If, how­ev­er, our goal is to address what the Bible says and to use what it says as an argu­ment for why peo­ple should­n’t believe it, we’re going to need some­thing beyond a quick joke or meme. We’re going to want to under­stand why Chris­tians believe what they do, what their the­ol­o­gy means, and how we can best inter­act with them in the real world. 

Chris­tians aren’t stu­pid, regard­less of what you might’ve heard in the seed­i­er athe­ist cir­cles, and their apol­o­gists and the­olo­gians know their reli­gion bet­ter than most of us “on the out­side” do. I promise — I’ve been there, on the inside of not only casu­al Chris­tian­i­ty, but of absorb­ing all I could in terms of apolo­get­ics, or the art of pro­vid­ing a defense for some­thing, in this case what the Bible teaches.

I book­marked dozens of web­sites and read through as much of them as I could han­dle. The CARM apolo­get­ics note­book was a prized pos­ses­sion of mine years ago, and I sat atten­tive­ly and excit­ed­ly for a Ken Ham pre­sen­ta­tion. Apolo­get­ics was my jam, and that’s not to men­tion my end­less obses­sion with the­ol­o­gy, both in read­ing it and dis­cussing it with my clos­est friends.

Apolo­get­ics is the jam of many church­go­ers, and despite what­ev­er faults it has, it does one thing well: It inoc­u­lates believ­ers against base­less attacks against Christianity.

Well, what do I mean by that? Con­sid­er the fol­low­ing events found in the Bible:

  • God speak­ing through a burn­ing bush
  • God speak­ing through an ass
  • God cre­at­ing Eve from a rib
  • A ser­pent speak­ing more per­sua­sive­ly in Eden than I ever man­aged in high school pub­lic speak­ing classes
  • Jesus ris­ing from the grave

They’re exam­ples of the Bible’s diverse and myr­i­ad mirac­u­lous or super­nat­ur­al events.

Events which, by def­i­n­i­tion, defy nat­ur­al or sci­en­tif­ic explanation.

“I don’t see how any­body can believe the Bible! It’s full of absur­di­ties — you can’t even get past the first few pages with­out being expect­ed to believe that a snake can talk!”

I saw that sort of objec­tion a lot as a Chris­t­ian, but as an athe­ist, I see them even more often.

Objec­tions of that sort, how­ev­er, make no sense. They require judg­ing the world described in the Bible from a wrong frame of ref­er­ence. When I read the Bible, yes, I do so with the under­stand­ing that ani­mals can­not speak to humans as described in its pages; how­ev­er, the speak­ing ani­mals of the Bible aren’t objec­tion­able to me as the world car­ries with it an impor­tant assump­tion which I don’t have about my own world.

Just as it would­n’t make sense to com­plain that “Kirk dis­ap­pear­ing from the bridge of the Enter­prise and reap­pear­ing on an alien world makes no sense!” when those sorts of events occur in a world with gen­er­al­ly func­tion­al trans­porter tech­nol­o­gy, it does­n’t make sense to kvetch that “Don­keys can’t talk!” when those events occur in a world where­in a God exists that can cause that to occur.

Two Points of View

I men­tioned ear­li­er that I attend­ed a pre­sen­ta­tion by Ken Ham, and dur­ing that pre­sen­ta­tion, he ham­mered repeat­ed­ly on a key apolo­getic principle:

Chris­t­ian apol­o­gists and cre­ation­ists approach the world with the assump­tion that God is real, as opposed to skep­tics and sci­en­tists who rely more upon an evi­dence-first approach to the uni­verse, of which any sort of god would be behold­en as well.

Please read that again because it’s an impor­tant point, one which I sin­cere­ly wish that my fel­low unbe­liev­ers would understand.

The larg­er part of the Chris­t­ian faith­ful are not going to respond to straw­man rep­re­sen­ta­tions of their reli­gion or dis­missals of absur­di­ty — from their point of view, of course their reli­gion will be absurd to an outsider.

“Sil­ly Chris­tians, believ­ing that a ser­pent talked Eve into eat­ing what she should­n’t; how can they believe that! Ser­pents can’t talk!” says the athe­ist, to which an hon­est and per­fect­ly valid response from the Chris­t­ian might be, “You’re right, snakes can’t talk! But Satan can, and that was him the gar­den tempt­ing Eve, not a lit­er­al gar­den-vari­ety snake.”

two men depicted having a conversation: Man 1: "In the evolution of species..." Man 2: "The Bible said God created Adam and Eve!" Man 1: "The Bible also condones slavery and rape." Man 2: "But that's the Old Testament." Man 1: "Adam and Eve are also in the Old Testament." Man 2: *head explodes*
Ha-ha, you fool! You fell vic­tim to one of the clas­sic blun­ders, the most famous of which is “Nev­er get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slight­ly less well known is this: “Nev­er apply gen­er­al­ly that which was pre­scribed specif­i­cal­ly!”3

This changes the con­ver­sa­tion such that using hasti­ly pre­pared memes and oft repeat­ed objec­tions just won’t cut it, and it works the oth­er way too: If an unbe­liev­er points out that the Earth is bil­lions of years old, a young-earth Chris­t­ian will pro­vide the hon­est and per­fect­ly valid response that God cre­at­ed the uni­verse, that his account indi­cates that he did so far more recent­ly than even a mil­lion years ago, and that he can­not lie, so there must there­fore be some­thing wrong in what the unbe­liev­er knows about the world.

Does “hon­est and per­fect­ly valid” mean cor­rect, true, and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of an objec­tive real­i­ty? No. In using that phrase I mean only that with­in the frame­work — or world­view — which the Chris­t­ian approach­es real­i­ty, they are being con­sis­tent. I’m also not say­ing that that frame­work is rec­on­cil­able with sec­u­lar sci­ences, but I am remind­ed that in those sci­ences, we have both grav­i­ty and quan­tum mechan­ics, which sep­a­rate­ly describe dif­fer­ent aspects of the uni­verse very well, but which con­flict where they might overlap.

And where Chris­tian­i­ty and unbe­lief meet, we aren’t going to reach a place of mutu­al edi­fi­ca­tion if the most effort we can put forth is recy­cling the same tired memes, stereo­types, and straw­man-based objec­tions of each oth­er’s points of view.

We Must Dig Deeper

On the Chris­t­ian side, for those who choose to try to con­vince peo­ple intel­lec­tu­al­ly of the mer­its of Chris­tian­i­ty — or for hav­ing bib­li­cal his­to­ry taught in schools along­side sec­u­lar his­to­ries and sci­ences — they must do so accord­ing to the rules of those sec­u­lar sci­ences, by fol­low­ing the sci­en­tif­ic process that gives any and every­one oppor­tu­ni­ty to rev­o­lu­tion­ize our under­stand­ing of the world.

And on the side of unbe­lief, we must under­stand that mock­ing Chris­tians has a num­ber of problems.

  • First, we serve to rein­force their faith, for which the Bible explic­it­ly tells them they will be per­se­cut­ed; if your goal is to expose the prob­lem of faith, ful­fill­ing prophe­cies for the faith­ful isn’t going to help your cause.
  • Sec­ond, when we mock and insult the faith­ful, we rein­force every neg­a­tive stereo­type about our­selves that is held among so many with­in Christendom.
  • Final­ly, we so often show our own igno­rance of Chris­tian­i­ty, its his­to­ry, or its holy book. Chris­tians are just as human as any­one else, and humans tend to be a curi­ous sort; if we’re will­ful­ly expos­ing our­selves as a source of taint­ed infor­ma­tion (or FUD, if you will), why would those that we’re mis­rep­re­sent­ing want to actu­al­ly lis­ten to us?

So What Then Can We Do?

Look, I get it. Mak­ing fun of reli­gion or “evilu­tion” is fun, and it’s hard to resist the atten­tion social media gives a good insult.

But is your goal to actu­al­ly make the world a bet­ter place?

It is?

Okay, then.

Dear Christians

Chris­tians, I implore you to stop car­ing about cre­ation­ism, the evils of athe­ists, the “gay agen­da,” and any oth­er “god­less” left-wing non­sense that you’ve been taught to fear.

Focus on being faith­ful to your God, as the New Tes­ta­ment so often admon­ish­es, by liv­ing your life in a way that improves the lives of every­one around you — give freely, tend to the needy, be mod­els of for­give­ness and love, and all that goes along with these things.

There are mighty needs in the world, and I promise you that if you want Chris­tian­i­ty to grow and thrive, doing these human­i­tar­i­an works will let it do just that — and I can’t imag­ine that any­one will object to your work!

Dear Unbelievers

Unbe­liev­ers, I charge you to hold your­selves to the same stan­dard to which you would hold Chris­tians — if you’re going to mock them for not under­stand­ing sci­ence or athe­ism, you bet­ter make damn sure that you under­stand the Bible beyond what a few dozen memes and recy­cled talk­ing points from promi­nent athe­ists tell you to believe. To wit, Adam and Eve had more than just two sons, and the gospel writ­ers knew what Jesus said when he was alone in the gar­den because God was writ­ing through them.

If we’re going to botch sim­ple sto­ry details in the Bible, we’ll nev­er be able to prop­er­ly dis­cuss the­ol­o­gy 101, let alone any­thing more inter­est­ing with our Chris­t­ian broth­ers and sisters.

Oh, and if you see Chris­tians doing good work in your com­mu­ni­ty, shut up with the protest­ing — join up and do good work with them (if they’ll have you — don’t be a jerk about it) or get out of their way.4 Let good things hap­pen, be grate­ful when they do, and focus your efforts where they mat­ter: spread knowl­edge, encour­age cre­ativ­i­ty and curios­i­ty, and push for sec­u­lar­i­ty in pub­lic spaces (health­care, edu­ca­tion, law enforce­ment, gov­ern­ment, etc.).

So It Goes

I make no defense for Chris­tians who seek to leg­is­late their reli­gion onto oth­ers as that con­cept is for­eign to the Bible and does noth­ing to fur­ther the good that Chris­tian­i­ty ought to be doing in this world, so while you don’t need my bless­ing to go out and oppose reli­gious plat­forms encroach­ing into things which affect every­one, you absolute­ly do have my bless­ing regardless.

Ide­al­ly, even Chris­tians would active­ly resist their reli­gion being used in those ways.

That isn’t the case, at least not always, how­ev­er, but I do know we aren’t going to encour­age believ­ers to work with us so long as we con­tin­ue going out of our way to mock, deride, and insult those who think dif­fer­ent­ly than our­selves while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly refus­ing to even prop­er­ly under­stand their point of view, we’re nev­er going see the sorts of change we want in the world.

As an athe­ist, it’s super easy to say that the world would be bet­ter with few­er “thoughts and prayers” Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tive-style Chris­tians who refuse to bake cakes for gays and place blind “patri­o­tism” over human­i­tar­i­an crises.

But a world full of angry athe­ists who spread only mis­in­for­ma­tion or bla­tant lies and hate about the reli­gious of the world is hard­ly any better.

Imag­ine if we stopped enjoy­ing our echo cham­bers and start­ed lis­ten­ing to each oth­er. Imag­ine if we cared less about “own­ing” each oth­er in debates and more about edi­fy­ing each oth­er, encour­ag­ing the best parts pos­si­ble out of both sides.

I know that’s a tough moun­tain to climb. Join me, won’t you?

  1. In a straw­man fal­la­cy, a per­son claims to have best­ed some­one else’s argument(s), but they have only respond­ed to and “defeat­ed” a cor­rupt­ed ver­sion of the orig­i­nal argu­ment, a “straw­man” that is eas­i­er to knock down.
  2. These sort of argu­ments go the oth­er way too, with cre­ation­ists mock­ing evo­lu­tion­ary the­o­ry by say­ing “if evo­lu­tion is true, why are there still mon­keys?” for example.
  3. The his­to­ry in Gen­e­sis describes the Bible’s ori­gins of all peo­ple; the Old Tes­ta­ment laws con­don­ing slav­ery were giv­en specif­i­cal­ly to a small nation of peo­ple, not to the whole world. That cer­tain­ly doesn’t excuse the slav­ery, but it also doesn’t mean Adam and Eve being “Old Tes­ta­ment” is problematic.
  4. This is a les­son I real­ly need to learn myself.

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Worldviews”

  1. Excel­lent­ly objective!
    Obvi­ous­ly you have many resid­ual god­ly char­ac­ter­is­tics from your for­mer Chris­t­ian experience.
    I don’t believe I’ve ever read the words of an athe­ist with such a right heart about inter­ac­tion with those of oth­er worldviews.
    Clear­ly the Holy Spir­it still works in your life.

    1
    1. If the Holy Spir­it is real, then that would mean God is work­ing all lives accord­ing to his sov­er­eign plan!

      That said, well, what you said there about nev­er hav­ing read the words of an athe­ist with a heart like mine toward believers?

      That’s both encour­ag­ing and heartbreaking.

      Encour­ag­ing because that’s what I’m going for, being (as Jesus said it) a peace­mak­er… a rec­on­cil­er, a bridger of gaps.

      Dis­cour­ag­ing because it cor­rob­o­rates my own atti­tude toward much of the athe­ist com­mu­ni­ty, which is sim­i­lar to my atti­tude toward Chris­t­ian apologists:

      When peo­ple are so con­vinced that they’re right that they must mock, deride, or oth­er­wise devote their lives to telling oth­ers how wrong they are, they become a prob­lem big­ger than the un/belief was in the first place.

      I want to see athe­ists work­ing with Chris­tians to solve real life prob­lems in their com­mu­ni­ties, and I want to see Chris­tians spend their time doing the same rather than doing non­sense like build­ing arks or try­ing to muck up school curricula.

      Soci­ety could be so much more awe­some than it is, but it’s going to take CHANGE.

      1. “When peo­ple are so con­vinced that they’re right that they must mock, deride, or oth­er­wise devote their lives to telling oth­ers how wrong they are,…”

        I think I see two dif­fer­ent hearts here. There is the per­son that knows he is right, for exam­ple the one that knows 2+2 = 4.
        Per­haps there is some­one who doesn’t know 2+2 = 4, but mis­tak­en­ly thinks it is anoth­er answer.
        Now if the first per­son were to mock and deride him, I would think the prob­lem isn’t know­ing the truth, but rather hav­ing an evil heart.
        It would seem a per­son with a good heart who knew the truth would sim­ply attempt to help the mis­tak­en one see the truth.
        Now if the mis­tak­en one rejects all rea­son­able demon­stra­tions of the truth, then the one who knows the truth should sim­ply agree to dis­agree and con­tin­ue on in love and kindness.
        Jesus said, I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. We ought to have the same mind. 

        “…doing non­sense like build­ing arks or try­ing to muck up school curricula.”

        It does make sense to me, if one’s world­view is that there real­ly was an ark where mankind was saved upon, to build such an ark to scale sim­ply to see what it would look like and show oth­ers as well.
        I per­son­al­ly reject the apes to man Pro­gres­sion, but there are also plen­ty of artists that devote their time to ren­der­ing such imag­in­ings as well.
        As for muck­ing up school cur­ric­u­la, I’m guess­ing you are refer­ring to the ID move­ment or such.
        I’m no expert in the mat­ter, but the more I study mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy, the more I find it nigh unto impos­si­ble to believe that a sin­gle cell organ­ism can hap­pen by chance.
        That aminos could ran­dom­ly assem­ble into func­tion­ing machines accord­ing to what only hap­pens with hered­i­tary infor­ma­tion, and that even our great­est sci­en­tists at this time can only syn­the­size the code in a virus, while still need­ing the machin­ery of a cell to repli­cate is fur­ther sup­port to me how impos­si­ble chance brought this about. Even more sus­pi­cious to me is the new attempt to explain such luck in this uni­verse to even have a uni­verse that can sus­tain life, much less have the sup­posed laws to effect life, that we must pro­pose a mul­ti­verse pop­ping out an infi­nite num­ber of universes.
        Now all of those things may be true, but I don’t think that it’s any less like­ly that a super pow­er­ful being just made it all.
        Nor is it any less sci­en­tif­ic, since sci­ence cer­tain­ly has not demon­strat­ed life from non­life hap­pen­ing unguided.
        And the mul­ti-verse is based upon string the­o­ry, which is at such a dimen­sion and lev­el that we do not cur­rent­ly have the equip­ment to even test such things.
        All of that to say that I see noth­ing wrong with keep­ing a healthy doubt in the cur­rent sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ries, rather than pre­sent­ing them as facts, like our sci­ence books obvi­ous­ly do.

        Con­cern­ing your com­ment about change, I do agree that there needs to be a lot of change in the world.
        Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the world is not going to agree on what is good change and bad change.
        Your col­or­ful word of “change” does have the look of the rain­bow, which seems to be part of the pride movement.
        As a Chris­t­ian, of course my world­view is going to be that the LGBTQ change is a change for the worse. I would take the posi­tion that these are sin­ful lifestyles which bring cor­rup­tion into the coun­try and the dis­plea­sure of Almighty God.
        Now that does not mean that I hate such peo­ple. In fact by my call­ing such a lifestyle sin, I believe I am demon­strat­ing love.
        When Jesus first began his earth­ly min­istry, his mes­sage was, repent.
        He was not say­ing this because he was hat­ing peo­ple, but rather because he loved peo­ple and want­ed to deliv­er them from the wrath and pun­ish­ment of God.
        Unfor­tu­nate­ly, some Chris­tians may present the mes­sage with hatred, and also some hear­ers of the mes­sage may mis­un­der­stand the heart of the mes­sen­ger, if he is speak­ing in love and sincerity.
        After all, there was no one more mis­un­der­stood and hat­ed than Jesus, who was and is the per­fect man.
        There­fore, if we repeat his words, it should be no sur­prise that some peo­ple will hate us. He did in fact warn us of this.

        Joh 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hat­ed me before it hat­ed you.
        Joh 15:19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have cho­sen you out of the world, there­fore the world hateth you.

        Any­way, thank you for your time, and rea­son­able thinking.
        Keep up the good work, brother. 

        Mer­rit

        1. Now if the mis­tak­en one rejects all rea­son­able demon­stra­tions of the truth, then the one who knows the truth should sim­ply agree to dis­agree and con­tin­ue on in love and kindness.

          There’s a dif­fer­ence between religious/philosophical/personal truth and fact, though. 2 and 2 equal­ing 4 is a fact — it’s demon­stra­bly true. Same with trees being plants, atoms pos­sess­ing some num­ber of pro­tons, and so on; facts are objec­tive, inde­pen­dent of cir­cum­stance or person.

          Truths are sub­jec­tive, though, and are high­ly depen­dent on belief, cir­cum­stance, etc. “The sky is blue” sounds like a fact, but if I look out the win­dow right now, it’s a drea­ry grey; some­times it’s black, some­times it’s orange. And sure, some­times it’s blue.

          I tend to reserve my harsh­est crit­i­cisms for those who are objec­tive­ly harm­ful to oth­ers — Repub­li­cans notably — because I sub­jec­tive­ly believe that reduc­ing harm is a moral imper­a­tive. (And I’m not alone in it; it’s a core tenet of numer­ous major reli­gions for a reason!)

          I do agree, though, that as much as pos­si­ble the con­ver­sa­tion should be car­ried out in “love and kind­ness,” as you put it. Or as I put it, with patience, assum­ing the best of the per­son you’re talk­ing to. So much ani­mos­i­ty comes from mis­un­der­stand­ings, and I’d rather mis­un­der­stand toward a pos­i­tive than toward a neg­a­tive, you know?

          It does make sense to me, if one’s world­view is that there real­ly was an ark where mankind was saved upon, to build such an ark to scale sim­ply to see what it would look like and show oth­ers as well.

          I get that. How­ev­er, it feels like it would run aground of oth­er issues with­in the Chris­t­ian faith — such as not cre­at­ing idols, pri­mar­i­ly. There’s also the issue of mil­lions upon mil­lions of dol­lars being poured into a rel­a­tive­ly unpop­u­lar tourist attrac­tion when the things Jesus actu­al­ly told Chris­tians to be wor­ried about are still prob­lems found across the coun­try. Wor­ry about recre­ations of bib­li­cal events after every­one has a roof over their head and a meal on the table, oth­er­wise it just makes the reli­gion look ridicu­lous to those of us on the out­side — we know what the Chris­tians’ Lord com­mand­ed, so when we see for­tunes spent on things that aren’t that, well, it leaves a sour taste in our mouths when the evan­ge­lists come a‑knocking.

          I per­son­al­ly reject the apes to man Pro­gres­sion, but there are also plen­ty of artists that devote their time to ren­der­ing such imag­in­ings as well.
          As for muck­ing up school cur­ric­u­la, I’m guess­ing you are refer­ring to the ID move­ment or such.
          I’m no expert in the mat­ter, but the more I study mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy, the more I find it nigh unto impos­si­ble to believe that a sin­gle cell organ­ism can hap­pen by chance.
          That aminos could ran­dom­ly assem­ble into func­tion­ing machines accord­ing to what only hap­pens with hered­i­tary infor­ma­tion, and that even our great­est sci­en­tists at this time can only syn­the­size the code in a virus, while still need­ing the machin­ery of a cell to repli­cate is fur­ther sup­port to me how impos­si­ble chance brought this about. Even more sus­pi­cious to me is the new attempt to explain such luck in this uni­verse to even have a uni­verse that can sus­tain life, much less have the sup­posed laws to effect life, that we must pro­pose a mul­ti­verse pop­ping out an infi­nite num­ber of universes.
          Now all of those things may be true, but I don’t think that it’s any less like­ly that a super pow­er­ful being just made it all.

          The fact of the mat­ter is that the evi­dence does point to those things. The uni­verse could have been mirac­u­lous­ly cre­at­ed 6,000 years ago or last Thurs­day, it would­n’t mat­ter — it was cre­at­ed as a uni­verse that oper­ates accord­ing to rules, and those rules point toward the Big Bang, stel­lar evo­lu­tion, bio­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion, etc. 

          A sci­en­tist can believe the earth popped into exis­tence yes­ter­day for all I care, so long as they’re still doing their job and fol­low­ing the evi­dence for how the world actu­al­ly works. A mirac­u­lous cre­ation adds nor changes any­thing regard­ing how the world oper­ates. On the con­trary, bio­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion and our shared ances­try with apes has helped us bet­ter under­stand so much about how life works in very real ways. 

          All of that to say that I see noth­ing wrong with keep­ing a healthy doubt in the cur­rent sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ries, rather than pre­sent­ing them as facts, like our sci­ence books obvi­ous­ly do.

          The mul­ti­verse nor string the­o­ry are pre­sent­ed as fact. They’re offered as pos­si­ble expla­na­tions for evi­dence we see in the uni­verse. Maybe some day they are found to be fac­tu­al, maybe some­thing else alto­geth­er is. 

          But I’m much more inclined to trust the lessons of those who ded­i­cate their lives to fol­low­ing the evi­dence than those who hold up a book just to say “God did it,” squelch­ing all inquiry into the world that might cast any doubt upon that fore­gone con­clu­sion, as the church­es have done all too often through­out history. 

          Facts are vin­di­cat­ed by evi­dence, not borne out by the sword.

          Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the world is not going to agree on what is good change and bad change.

          Well, sure. On the one side, we have a lot of peo­ple who want to make sure peo­ple have their needs met, can love who they love, want less war, want cli­mate change dealt with, and so on… and on the oth­er hand, we have the Republicans.
          Like I said in my com­ment, though, I want bet­ter athe­ists and bet­ter Chris­tians. Bet­ter athe­ists who don’t spend their time shar­ing crap­py memes about Chris­tian­i­ty that do lit­tle else than demon­strate their own igno­rance and hypocrisy when com­bined with their “we know the Bible bet­ter than Chris­tians rhetoric,” who spend their time coop­er­at­ing with legit­i­mate char­i­ta­ble efforts by Chris­tians, who believe more in grow­ing soci­ety than world­view warfare… 

          And bet­ter Chris­tians who spend their time work­ing toward mak­ing Heav­en on Earth — feed­ing the hun­gry, cloth­ing the naked, hous­ing the home­less, vis­it­ing the sick and impris­oned, etc., rather than play­ing sci­en­tist, insert­ing them­selves into pol­i­tics, and all sorts of oth­er stuff that Jesus nev­er asked nor com­mand­ed them to do.

          Your col­or­ful word of “change” does have the look of the rain­bow, which seems to be part of the pride movement.

          Actu­al­ly, it’s just a rain­bow. I had in mind Sponge­bob when I wrote it.

          As a Chris­t­ian, of course my world­view is going to be that the LGBTQ change is a change for the worse. I would take the posi­tion that these are sin­ful lifestyles which bring cor­rup­tion into the coun­try and the dis­plea­sure of Almighty God.

          Why? No Chris­t­ian was ever com­mand­ed to not be gay; how­ev­er, Chris­tians were encour­aged to not be mar­ried in the first place unless they could­n’t keep it in their pants because of how much of a dis­trac­tion mar­riage is from serv­ing God (feed­ing the hun­gry, hous­ing the home­less, etc.). Despite that, church­es make a big thing out of mar­riages, young ones in the church aren’t dis­cour­aged from mar­ry­ing, etc. 

          Until Chris­tians fig­ure out their own appar­ent prob­lem with horni­ness, I don’t pay much mind to Chris­tians who want to fret about the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty. Jesus had a prob­lem with reli­gious lead­er­ship, not “the gays,” so that’s where I think Chris­tians’ pri­or­i­ties ought to be. Yes, I’m aware of what Paul said, and about that one thing writ­ten to the Jews back in Leviti­cus, but nei­ther are part of being Christlike. 

          Now that does not mean that I hate such peo­ple. In fact by my call­ing such a lifestyle sin, I believe I am demon­strat­ing love.

          That isn’t love. Telling some­one who is born a cer­tain way that their very nature is wrong and they must change? That isn’t love. That much is evi­dent in the sui­cide rate among those who are forced to try to change or repress who they are. Love is free­ing, not damning.

          There­fore, if we repeat his words, it should be no sur­prise that some peo­ple will hate us. He did in fact warn us of this.

          Joh 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hat­ed me before it hat­ed you.
          Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have cho­sen you out of the world, there­fore the world hateth you.

          You’re yank­ing this out of its con­text. Jesus isn’t say­ing “go and tell peo­ple not to be gay, and if peo­ple hate you for it, don’t wor­ry, they hat­ed me first.” 

          He’s say­ing “lay down your life for oth­ers” and “bear good fruit” and “don’t be a part of the world,” and it’s for those things Chris­tians may be hated. 

          How does a Chris­t­ian bear good fruit? By feed­ing the hun­gry, by cloth­ing the naked, etc. That’s it. By sac­ri­fi­cial­ly liv­ing their life in ser­vice to oth­ers, by “tak­ing up the cross” and suf­fer­ing for the sake of others. 

          Swap­ping all of that for “telling peo­ple to repent” and then claim­ing mar­tyr­dom when peo­ple get pissed at you com­plete­ly miss­es the point. It’s the whole rea­son why Jesus said he would judge peo­ple based on how they treat­ed oth­ers — because in so doing, that is how they treat­ed him. 

          Jesus’ whole thing was bet­ter­ing the world with love, and those who stood against it were the ones who stood up and praised God on the streets for not being a sin­ner, who prayed pub­licly for all to see, and who knew the Law inside and out. Jesus was a “yeah, the law said… BUT…” kind of per­son. If there was a more lov­ing way, he taught it.

          Find the love. The rest will follow.

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Rick Beckman