I was having a conversation with someone the other day pertaining to politics and the role of religion in shaping one’s political opinion. I wondered aloud whether our differing theological views could contribute to any strife we might have in future, to which he replied “I don’t think so – I haven’t really seen it (Christianity) manifest in you”. Hearing that was like a slap to my face, after all the worst thing you could hear as a Christian is that you aren’t very Christ-like.
It took me a few minutes to process what he had meant by that, and I realised that to me, the manifestation of Christianity is love and patience and altruism learnt from being unconditionally loved by God. But what he had meant by that statement was that I was open-minded, tolerant of views different to my own and capable of reasonable debate. And it really saddened me to see what he thought Christianity was. Ignoring the sign-touting, hate-spewing extremists that plague every religion (after all, assholes will always exist regardless of what group you belong to), I think that there is a general defensiveness to modern day Christians. I think it is a brilliant thing that there is greater discussion, awareness and acceptance of more left-wing or radical ideas, even if I do not agree with them all. But I can see how this may feel threatening to the church. However, I don’t think being defensive will help anyone better understand Christ.
I don’t think it is our right to be offended when people reject Jesus. I often remind myself that a Muslim or a Hindu may believe in their faith as deeply as I do in mine. So who am I to tell them that they are wrong? I certainly wouldn’t appreciate them telling me what to believe in. I think it is important to bring people to Christ, but I think it is most important to do that through our actions; by quietly loving people, and being forgiving and gracious. I have a long way to go to become the kind of person I would like to be. But frankly, I think God doesn’t need defending to other people, I believe that the bible is the truth – my truth – and that God is perfect, and in His perfection, there is no need to defend or explain His word. We do not need to defend God against people, but we should represent him to people. Defensiveness stems from fear, not faith, and as Christians I think the only defensive front we need to take is to defend ourselves to God: to be able to justify our decisions and actions, and how we treat others and deal with situations in our lifetime. As John 3:17 says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
We all believe our truths to be the absolute truth. We all carry different scales.
I was recently listening to a friend tell me about his pointless debate with another friend and how it was simply frustrating for both parties. One person was a conservative Christian, and the other a very liberal person. Like most internet debates, this spiralled out of control and turned into a huge pointless mess. In a fit of frustration, my liberal friend told me that on the (evolutionary) scale of monkey to man, our conservative friend is barely above Hominoidea, and himself right on the dot for Hominidae. All the points our conservative friend made were moot if the other party did not believe in a higher power- they would come across as unscientific and impractical.
Whilst I myself am a Christian, I certainly disagreed with many points my fellow brother in Christ made. I believe my beliefs to be absolute, but I am able to see how people could think my reasoning ridiculous if they believed in a different absolute. However, I did not agree with the sentiment that our conservative friend was unintelligent. Like many other believers of the Christian faith, I believe that to have true altruism is to be God; that only God is perfect. So if my conservative friend were to draw a scale, it wouldn’t be from from Hominoidea to Hominidae, it would be from men to God (the Christian God, in this case). And to act out the Christian faith as much as possible would place my conservative friend way further along the scale, and closer to the maximum point of “God”, as compared to my liberal friend.
As an impartial observer of the debate, I found that both parties made very rational points- but only if you keep in mind their core beliefs (or lack thereof). Neither party seemed to be making objective points to the other because they both had differing absolute truths.
It made me realise that the human nature is a conceited one. We do what we believe to be right, and we embody the characteristics we deem desirable, to the best of our abilities. Because we try to become the best version of ourselves based on the traits we considerable favourable, we always see ourselves as just that little bit better than the stranger next to us. I don’t think it is self-centered or necessarily vain, we just prioritise different traits, characteristics and values differently.
It made me wonder about all the people I always considered unintelligent, and weather they have any truth in their words. Maybe I need to wipe my glasses and take a second look.
I have many homosexual friends I consider close to me; one of my bestfriends is bisexual. I am also Christian. Explainably, this has always been a hard topic for me to talk about, or to figure out for myself. But I think I’ve finally found a way to put it into words.
I think the act of homosexuality is wrong. And I have as much right to think it so, as you do to think I am a prick, or to decide for yourself that it is right. A girl is allowed to decide if she would like to keep her virginity for marriage or if she would rather not. Doing one no more makes one a snob than the doing the other makes another a slut. I don’t understand why this cannot be applied to everything else. Just because someone supports gay marriage doesn’t mean I harbour any hate or disrespect for him, and I hope that just because I disagree, will not result in them labelling me as judgemental lowlife. We simply have different views and I don’t see any need for war about it. We all do the things that we think is right or natural. The sad truth lies in that variation as to what is right have always, and always will exist in every aspect of life, from morality to literal action; Why should sexuality be any different. Why does there have to be a universal right to it.
I will not even attempt to go into the aspects or marriage law- I understand that in every legal and federal decision, a ‘right’ will be granted more favour over another party’s perception of ‘right’. And I don’t lay claim to knowledge in solving problems like these. But you don’t need law telling you who you can love, why do you feel the need legal papers to show your love. My personal stand is that people should have the right to love whomever they prefer, regardless of gender; because that is what they think is right- even if I don’t share the view. But likewise, I think churches should be spared being forced to marry them; because that is what they think is right. Lawyers are perfectly capable enough. If we all just allow that different people will have different concepts of right and that really, who’s to say which is the universal ‘right’, I think there would be a lot less hatred in the world. I don’t understand why there is literally a war regarding love.
In the simplest way that I can put it;
I have the freedom of religion just as anyone else has to a religion to nilhism, or a different preference for gender. However just because you sin differently from me doesn’t give me the right to judge or prosecute you.
I don’t think there is a need for hatred simply because we all share different views. A war to love, really guys?
Ps my first paper is tomorrow and I have been on farm or in a lecture about farm safety since 8.30am today. I am so tired, my legs are about to give way and I wish they hadn’t put a course the day before the freaking exams. On the bright side, at least I’m not covered in poop today. All the best guys, I hope you all do superbly well.