Friday, April 27, 2012

This doesn't fix the problem.

   Silly liberal(?) Christians! I was browsing the timeline of a Facebook friend and found this ridiculous image. In searching for the image, I found a webpage with a likewise silly comment:
YES, THANK YOU! It’s so hard sometimes to tell non-Christians that you’re Christian when you live in a world where “Christian” means Gay-basher and determiner of law.

My type of Christianity is the kind that LOVES and DOESN’T judge. So two men dig each other. Get over it. So the laws of Christianity don’t govern the whole country. Get over it and read the constitution.

Jesus was a rad dude, you guys.
   Ohhhhhhkay. But this doesn't fix the problem. First, note that this poster seems to admit that the laws of Christianity could allow discrimination of gays, but that Christians can't do that here in the USA because we have a First Amendment that prohibits religious laws. What if this poster did not live in such a country? What if they lived in Uganda, where there has been a struggle over a "kill the gays" bill? Might that be compatible with "the laws of Christianity"? Let me put it this way: If one of your defenses of Christianity involves pointing out that Christians can't have their way because we live in a secular country, that's not an argument in favor of Christianity. That's an argument for secularism. Not only that, it's an admittance that secularism is better than Christianity. Sadly, this Christian likely does not recognize the implication of hir statement.

   Moreover, the conservative Christian has arguments at their disposal that are good counters to this liberal Christian's argument about laws. Their argument could be that God's law is higher than, and therefore trumps, human's law. "So what if the USA has a constitution? God's law is higher. Is the liberal Christian really trying to place man above God?!? That's what those damn atheists do!"

   As for the problem with the image itself, the more liberal Christians can't actually say that there is nothing wrong with being gay or believing in other least not without abandoning some of the core doctrines of Christianity1. (At which point, why would you call yourself something you're not?2) The poster I quoted says "Get over it," but could they actually say, "There's nothing wrong with that"? Liberal Christians, at best, can speak about love or not judging, as this poster did. They'll say things like how Christianity teaches to love your neighbor. And from such ideas they derive catchy little phrases like, "Love the sinner; hate the sin." But they can't actually say that homosexual behavior is not a sin. Where would such a notion be supported in the Bible?

   Ideas of not judging might work to counter bullying, but what about reparative therapy?3 That's the "therapy" that tries to "cure the gay." Can liberal Christians really object to such a thing? Well, they can object, but what's their argument against it? They can't really argue that it's being judgmental. I would argue that such therapy is simply trying to help people free themselves from sin. Such therapy is out of love! If the liberal Christian then tries to argue that you should just allow people to sin, then they open up the floodgates. Do we then try to help alcoholics or other drug addicts? Just let them sin! Men who beat their wives? Let them sin!

UPDATE: I want to add that I have heard arguments from some pastors that helping homosexuals is like helping an alcoholic. Additionally, I do find these to be good least if you agree to the premises that both homosexual behavior and drinking are problematic. I don't agree, which is why I ultimately don't find the argument convincing, but what about the liberal Christians? Do they also not agree? /UPDATE

   Can the liberal Christian really say that? Take another look at the image. This is encouraging Christians not to judge, but there is still someone who does get to judge—Jesus himself! And what is Jesus going to do with the gays and those who worship other gods? Is Jesus going to send them to hell? If so, how can the liberal Christian just sit by and do nothing while the homosexual dooms themselves to eternal damnation? Think about it—if you saw a deaf person walking along train tracks and a train was approaching from behind, could you just stand and watch the deaf person meet their death? Wouldn't the loving thing be to save them? It would seem, then, that the Christians that are the truly loving Christians are those who want to help gay people with their sin4 or those who aggressively proselytize to those who believe in other gods. It is the liberal Christians who say "Get over it" that are truly the heartless ones, despite what they claim.

   To be fair to the liberal Christians, they may not believe in a hell that involves eternal torture. They may believe hell is just separation from god or annihilation. Still, if they believe heaven is a better alternative, don't they, out of love, have to help those who might not be going to heaven? Especially those who believe in the wrong god, and maybe even the nonbelievers! (Some Christians believe that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you'll be saved regardless of your sin. Thus, the gays are safe as long as they are Christians. The non-Christians, however, are still doomed. I know of few Christian denominations, Rob Bell's being one of them, that promote an idea of universal reconciliation. But I would expect many of these Christians to reject the notion of judgement, so this image doesn't apply to them anyway.) On top of that, it is not even the beliefs on hell of the liberal Christians that matter. It is the views of the conservative Christians (or those who believe in a torturous hell) that do. Before liberal Christians can even suggest that gays or non-Christians be allowed to live as they please, the liberal Christian must first demonstrate that those people aren't going to receive ill-treatment in the afterlife. (Which they can't, because there is no good evidence that such a place exists, let alone the god they believe in.) If you look at that which Rob Bell speaks, he speaks about "Jesus' message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy." However, the believer in hell can point to the many verses that speak of "weeping and gnashing of teeth. And then the liberals will argue that doesn't mean what it appears to mean, etc...because that's such a winning argument...or not. (Why couldn't a supposedly all-powerful god deliver a message that wouldn't be up to interpretation? Jesus could just as well have stuttered! Assuming he even existed and said anything at all.)

   Otherwise, what argument does the liberal Christian have against reparative therapy? Homosexuals were born that way?5 First, that's a secular argument. Show me where the Bible says that! Second, as per the judgement problem, even if gays are born that way, wouldn't it be the duty of Christians to help gays not give in to their natural behavior? Sure, you might not be able to get them to live as though they were heterosexuals, but wouldn't helping them abstain from homosexual behavior be a noble deed?

   As for the topic of worshiping other gods, what liberal Christian (again, except for those that subscribe to universal reconciliation) can object to proselytizing? Proselytizing has to be considered a loving activity if it will help get people in Jesus' good graces.

   In summary, liberal Christians, if they try to make arguments from Christianity against gay-bashing or other discrimination, appear to have little choice but to paint themselves into a corner. Sure, it's not the most visible corner, but a corner nonetheless. The best arguments that they have at their disposal are actually secular arguments, which says more about the superiority of secular morality than it does about Christianity.

1. Claiming there is nothing wrong with worshiping other gods would be in clear contradiction to the First Commandment.

2. This reminds me of some comment I once saw posted on a YouTube video. The comment had something like, "I disagree with most of what the [Catholic] church says, but I'm still a Catholic." Imagine if someone said they disagreed with most of the Democrats' party platform, but said they were still a Democrat. Would that make sense? Yet, the tribal nature of religion is so strong that people can say such things with a straight face.

3. And if you're a liberal Christian that sees nothing wrong with reparative therapy, don't be surprised when non-Christians treat you like a bigoted conservative Christian.

4. It is of my opinion that a lot of conservative Christians are bigots, plain and simple. (Especially those that demand gays be put to death.) However, there very well could be a number who are indeed genuinely concerned about gays going to hell. Or maybe they're even worried about what judgements Jesus may have in store for them if they stand idly by. Take Kirk Cameron, for example. Is he a bigot? I don't think so. I don't think he's very intelligent, but not a bigot.

5. The "born that way" argument also has some theological problems from the Christian standpoint. If their god created humans, then it created them to be gay. And then it condemned gays for being the way it created them to be. This is not the depiction of a loving god. Though, I know...I know...many Christians will blame "original sin" rather than their god.

UPDATE: One thing I forgot to say when I initially posted this is that I find it wrong to believe in gods without evidence. On that, there is no more good evidence for Jesus than any other supernatural god claim. (Perhaps there is more "evidence" but it is of the very shitty variety where it doesn't matter how high you stack it.) Believing in Allah or Baal or Zeus is no more wrong than believing in Jesus.

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