A disheartening state of affairs: homosexual-hating Christians.

My heart is grieving when I’m reading such things about the situation in Uganda and other African countries.

 

Why the surprise at learning how much evangelicals hate gay people?

There’s been a lot of chatter around the Internet lately from Christians who, thanks to the World Vision debacle, have been surprised to learn just how deeply the evangelical right despises gay people.

How can that possibly be a surprise to anyone? Where in “You’re going to hell because God deplores you!” does anyone see even a hint of affection or respect?

The evangelical right’s attitude toward gay people has always been about pure hatred. The Bible’s just an excuse (and a shallow one at that) for that hatred.

The difference between the Westboro Baptist hate-mongers and the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant body in the United States) has never been a difference of substance; it’s only been a difference in style.

Why does anyone think that so many of us out here have been fighting so hard for so long to bring a new and freaking better Christianity into the world? LGBT people get beaten. They get killed. They get spat upon. They get run over. They get doused with gasoline and lit on fire. They get bullied so ferociously that they kill themselves rather than suffer another moment of it.

Those things don’t happen sometimes. They don’t happen every once in a while. They happen all the time, all over the world. And it’s all perpetrated in the name of Christianity. If you believe that the Bible teaches God condemns to hell all “unrepentant” gay people, then why wouldn’t you pound to death every gay person you saw? Doing so would be doing God’s work, by extending God’s will into the world. That’s what Christians are supposed to do.

We need a new Christianity. And we need it now. (I defined one, by the way. This shit’s not complicated.) And I think one of the first things we also need to do is be very clear about the fact that no one who believes that God finds gay people morally reprehensible is, in fact, a Christian.

They’re just not, okay? Saying “I’m a Christian, and gay people are going to hell” is like saying, “I’m a feminist, and women should remain pregnant and obey their husbands,” or “I’m not a racist, and white people should own black people.” One automatically cancels out the other.

No one gets to declare that they follow the Prince of Peace while at the same time declaring that gay people deserve to be burned alive forever. I don’t care who you are, or how respectable you pretend to be: that pig doesn’t fly. Ignorant bigotry is ignorant bigotry, whether it’s wearing a tie or not. I know it. You know it. And God sure as hell knows it.

To quote Jesus (quoting Isaiah):

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

To which Jesus then adds his own words:

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.

This is a war, folks. It’s always been a war. It was a war when the evangelicals said the Bible supports slavery. It was a war when they said the Bible supports denying women the vote. And it’s a war when they say the Bible condemns homosexuality.

In a war people choose sides. They have to, because they realize that not doing so will only cause more death and suffering.

If you’re a Christian who is just now realizing that you are part of the problem if you don’t refute the Christian right with anywhere near the vigor with which they so horrendously persecute gay people, then hallelujah for World Vision’s ignorant cowardice.

The middle ground is where people fall and die. Stop standing there. Come to our side. Join us in fighting the good fight. We who know that the Bible does not condemn gay people will win this fight, because God is always on the side of what is right and just.

The sooner you join the winning team, the better for all. And most certainly the better for you, should you have to, say, answer to God tomorrow for why you waited.

And make a NALT video already.

I don’t hate Conservative Evangelicals. I don’t feel (in general) that I am a better person than them. But I am so worn down after seeing what they are doing in Christ’s name.

John Shore is right that if you believe that God is going to eternally torture most homosexuals, why should we not as well tolerate and even support violence against them?
I am disgusted by the Conservative evangelical attitude towards homosexuals and how they fail to consider Jesus priorities.

I want them to repent and sincerely begin to try loving their gay neighbors.

I pray for all Gays, Christians and non-Christians, who are being persecuted for the way they were born. May the Father equip you with courage.

And I pray that God’s love will be poured down into the hearts of their oppressors.

 

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45 thoughts on “A disheartening state of affairs: homosexual-hating Christians.

  1. “Jesus didn’t die for gay people.” That’s what these people are saying, plain and simple. With Martin Luther, Jesus didn’t die for the Jews. One way this works is via dehumanization; it has been done by theists, polytheists, and atheists alike, throughout time. Ultimately though, it restricts those for whom Jesus died. For God only loved… some of the world? Such a ‘God’ is ‘Satan’, in sheep’s clothing. Now, read John 3:17.

  2. If you believe that the Bible teaches God condemns to hell all “unrepentant” gay people, then why wouldn’t you pound to death every gay person you saw? Doing so would be doing God’s work, by extending God’s will into the world. That’s what Christians are supposed to do.

    This quote is absolutely, absurdly ludicrous. Go ahead – try to justify the line between ‘person has not repented for their sin’ and ‘Jesus says it’s okay to beat them to death’ on ‘conservative Christian’ terms. You won’t be able to do it.

    But that’s the problem. If regarding unrepentant sinners – not ‘gays’ but ‘sinners’ – as risking damnation does not cash out to what they say it does, then the whole conversation gets a little more awkward. They can’t very well declare war on people who pray for the unrepentant, who peacefully try to convince them to change their ways, right?

    But war and hate is what they need.

    The evangelical right’s attitude toward gay people has always been about pure hatred. The Bible’s just an excuse (and a shallow one at that) for that hatred.

    Once again, a complete lie. There’s been a mix of reactions, including sympathy, a desire to help them, and more.

    Articles like these are little better than historical racist and anti-semite propaganda, where criticism goes beyond being leveled at a race or a culture, and instead morphs into some bizarre and ugly caricature designed to gin up hatred towards a specific group. It’s the difference between saying ‘I object to Israel’s official treatment towards Palestinians’ and drawing some sneering, hooknosed bit of Jew-hating propaganda where he’s wringing his hands with glee over the bodies of dead muslim infants.

    This is a war, folks. It’s always been a war. It was a war when the evangelicals said the Bible supports slavery. It was a war when they said the Bible supports denying women the vote. And it’s a war when they say the Bible condemns homosexuality.

    More lies, and more caricatures. ‘Evangelicals’ didn’t say that the Bible supported slavery – a small group of people who, surprise surprise, tended to economically benefit from slavery came up with some transparently rotten interpretations to justify their secular interests. But acquiescing to the idea that ‘evangelicals’ could ever have done something right in their ‘conservative’ religious motivation doesn’t fit the caricature, and thus has to be airbrushed out.

    Nor is ‘homosexuality’ condemned in the bible. It’s particular sex acts, regardless of who engages in them.

    But since we’re going to stoop to talking in terms of war, I’ll add my own voice.

    Do you think that ‘going to war’ in the defense of (among other acts) anal sex is goddamn ludicrous?

    Do you think that it’s possible to reasonably disagree about the morality of various sexual acts, to regard some sexual desires – even between ‘consenting adults’ – to ultimately be disordered, something we should control of and, God forbid, perhaps not engage in even if we’re free to?

    Do you oppose hatemongering, like painting anyone who disagrees with the morality of some sex-acts as wanting to literally kill anyone who unrepentantly engages in them, against all evidence to the contrary?

    Do you oppose anti-religious bigotry, hatred, and fear-mongering?

    Then yes, it really is time to pick a side. Tell these people you won’t stand for their emotional games, their hatemongering caricatures, and their attempt to whip people up into the same kind of frenzy that’s been behind everything from lynch mobs to state-sanctioned murder of Christians to more in the past. Tell them that whatever hate and pettiness animates their lives is something that they should relinquish, and that you will not only refuse to be a footsoldier in their army, you’ll do your damndest to make their warped view of the world as marginalized as possible.

    And you can pick this side while still believing gay marriage is proper, and same-sex acts are moral. Just as “conservatives” can and do advance their cases while at the same time condemning lunatics like Westboro Baptist and more.

    And if you can’t pick that side – if you’ve decided that it’s just too important to make every man, woman and child fearful of daring to disagree about the morality of (again, among other things) anal sex or various sex acts, and that these people should have war declared on them until they fear for their lives or their livelihoods, then I have news for you. Whatever you’re worshiping, it isn’t Christ.

    • For the record, I think this comment is largely if not completely consistent with mine. I meant to respond to those who actually are condemning other humans, despite the fact that Jesus didn’t do that when he came.

      • I understand, Labreuer. The problem is that the ‘dehumanization’ you’re talking about is taking place in the very post Lothar is quoting.

        • I would like to see Lotharson address this. Too many become the enemy in fighting the enemy, and from what you’ve said, Lotharson is in danger of doing this. I stand by John 3:17. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, and we aren’t to, either. We can bring the Word which is sharper than any two-edged sword against ideas, selectively, but not against whole people, created in the image of God. James 3 and 4:11-12. We must remember that Ha-Satan is “the accuser”. When we start accusing like he does, we act as his agents.

    • Hallo Crude.

      I don’t necessarily endorse what the authors said and think they go too far in the other direction. I should have stated it. I want to be as impartial as possible.
      It should always be OKAY for a Conservative to argue against gay mariage as much as he likes. And there are MANY CONSERVATIVES who really love gay people even if they consider their lifestyle to be sinful.

      But this post was not about Conservative opposition to gay marriage (IN GENERAL) but about real hatred against queers.

      Having read countless Conservative Evangelicals on forums, blogs and websites I can assure you that many really hate homosexuals.
      Randal Rauser agrees with me on this one:
      http://randalrauser.com/2011/04/christians-and-the-sin-of-hating-homosexuals/
      http://randalrauser.com/2013/01/on-killing-homosexuals-in-gods-name/
      They don’t oppose or even actively support putting homosexuals to death in Ugunda.

      Have I a right to pray for them that they will start really loving their gay neighbors (while not necessarily becoming convinced it’s a good thing)?

      In France, many Catholics still oppose gay marriage and think it is a perversion. Yet many also genuinely love them and oppose homophobic bullying.
      I just want Conservative Evangelicals to drop their hatred.

      So it is perfectly consistent for me to oppose legal bullying against Conservatives by extreme liberals, and oppose hatred from extreme Conservatives.

      • lothar,

        I don’t necessarily endorse what the authors said and think they go too far in the other direction.

        Too far? They not only engage in rancid caricatures of conservatives and ‘evangelicals’ wholesale, but they call for -war- against them. It’s not merely going too far – it’s off in the land of irrational hate. How is this appreciably different from casting homosexuals as rampant sex predators?

        Having read countless Conservative Evangelicals on forums, blogs and websites I can assure you that many really hate homosexuals.

        I bet some do, absolutely. But ‘many’? Who are they? You said you’ve seen countless conservative evangelicals on forums who hate homosexuals. How about you link one right here? Let’s have a look at what they said and did – and remember, on the internet, there’s also such a thing as ‘sock puppets’. You know I’ve personally dealt with atheists who have pretended to be Christian in forums purely as a way to attack Christians – which doesn’t mean this is always the case, but it means to be hesitant.

        Here’s the thing, Lothar. I agree that there are conservatives and evangelicals who take the wrong attitude – they treat ‘gays’ and ‘LGBT organizations’ as the same exact thing. But let’s remember who you quoted, and what charge they made. They weren’t talking about some idiot making jokes about ‘queers’ and ‘faggots’ – as bad as that can be – or having a negative view of LGBT culture. They’re talking about “pure hatred” of the variety that leads to people wanting to beat gays to death.

        Do you have examples of this? And even if you did, do you think this is a fair representation of conservatives?

        Randal Rauser agrees with me on this one:

        Randal happens to be right onboard with the mentality of ‘you should be forced to provide services to gay weddings under threat of law’ and isn’t exactly providing a compelling argument on this topic. The first thing he said was ‘Okay, WBC is perhaps a bad example of a major group that has a negative view of homosexuals. Instead, let’s use Jack Chick.’ So really, no surprise he agrees with you. He has severe trouble regarding his opponents on this point charitably.

        But you know what? I can actually rally Randal’s examples to -my- defense on this one. Even the Jack Chick comic (after being quite literally comical) ends with a plea that homosexuals can be saved, and that they have to repent to Christ. So much for the ‘they hate and despise homosexuals and want to beat them to death with their bare hands’ routine. But ‘they think homosexuals are sinners and urge them to repent, alongside other sinners’ doesn’t exactly get the war cries going, so it was left out.

        I’m not saying you endorsed what you quoted, by the way, but you quoted and I think it is a pretty explicit example of dehumanizing one’s opponents.

        They don’t oppose or even actively support putting homosexuals to death in Ugunda.

        Who is ‘they’? William Lane Craig? Southern Baptists? Hell, even Jack Chick?

        Here, let me provide you with another view. Maybe this ‘conservative evangelicals support or at least don’t oppose the Uganda laws!’ stuff isn’t quite in the situation you currently believe, eh? Or maybe you have some news that balances out this link?

        In France, many Catholics still oppose gay marriage and think it is a perversion. Yet many also genuinely love them and oppose homophobic bullying.

        Last I saw, there were atheist gays in France who opposed gay marriage too.

        So it is perfectly consistent for me to oppose legal bullying against Conservatives by extreme liberals, and oppose hatred from extreme Conservatives.

        I am not doubting your consistency. But I think the person you quoted, frankly, is engaged in what would be called ‘hate speech’ if it were directed against any other group, and that they are dead wrong on what they suggest about conservatives.

      • Actually, let me quote from my link:

        (RNS) American evangelicals are denouncing a new Uganda law that criminalizes homosexuality, reiterating a position that many have held for years but which has nonetheless drawn scrutiny and skepticism from critics.

        The timing of Uganda’s legislation coincided with heated debates in the U.S. over the proposed legislation in Arizona that would have allowed businesses in the state to deny services to people who are gay if they felt that serving them would violate their religious rights.

        “The situations in Uganda and Arizona are galaxies apart,” Moore said. “I think that in Arizona and several other states, in an attempt to preserve our religious liberties, regardless of how we agree with how it’s being done, can hardly compare with persecution around the world.”

        California megachurch pastor Rick Warren, too, posted on his Facebook page on Sunday (March 2) denying allegations that he ever supported the Uganda bill. In 2009, Warren posted an “encyclical video” on YouTube saying he opposes the criminalization of homosexuality.

        “Last week, the nation of Uganda passed a bad law, which I have publicly opposed for nearly 5 years,” Warren wrote. “I still oppose it, but rumors persist because lies and errors are never removed from the internet.”

        I’m going to repeat, Lothar: even though I agree that some conservatives’ attitudes towards homosexuals are imperfect, the caricature presented by the article you quoted is not just wrong, it’s malicious hate-speech. But I want to put another possibility to you.

        Have you considered the possibility that you are being played here?

        I don’t think the article you quoted was the result of honest mistakes. I think it was an intentional bit of misrepresentation, an attempt to whip up hatred and animosity every bit as much as a neo-nazi blaming jews for every problem under the sun, just with a different target. And I think the talk of a ‘New Christianity’ falls right in line with 20th century manipulations of religion by secular forces, from the Positive Christianity of the nazis to the Soviet manipulation of the Orthodox Church, to the “State Sanctioned” Churches in countries like China and North Korea.

        So again, I repeat: consider the possibility you are being played. The left does it, the right does it, except the left’s got a bit more skill with it.

    • The war I’m willing to engage in is against anti-Gay HATRED.
      It is NOT a war against nice Conservatives arguing against the morality of gay relationships.

      As other posts I wrote made it clear, I defend Conservative rights to publicly state what they believe if it is done in a spirit of love and respect

    • Excellent response to the above article, that clearly doesn’t seem to grasp that real Christians are far from a people full of Hate, as so many would like to paint them to be.
      Thank you for your response to this very limited in perspective type of article.

  3. I took a look at the link that guy gave to his “redefined unfundamentalist Christianity”. I’m going to be blunt here: What a freaking disaster.

    Where do I start?

    1) A NEW Christianity? Right off of the bat, that’s nuts. Christianity should be remaking US, not the other way around.

    2) They certainly seem to have an odd idea of the Holy Spirit. “The totality of himself left behind”? Huh?

    3) I love how they say “Well Paul never condemned homosexuality” and then right after that add “We don’t believe women should submit to their husbands”. In other words, Paul matters when his words can be suitably twisted to make their point, but when what he’s saying is unavoidably against what they want to believe they’ll drop him like a hot potato.

    4) “God can handle converting people”? Really? So all of those verses about the importance of evangelism, they should be dropped then.

    And finally, the worst of all of them. I saved this for last because it’s truly appalling:

    Christianity is supposed to be all about nothing more (and nothing less!) than living a life of love, compassion, fairness, peace, and humility.

    That’s right. Christianity isn’t about belief in the Holy Trinity, or the literal Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, or his status as God and the Messiah, or His death for our sins, or the many commands and teachings given to us directly by Jesus in the New Testament.

    Yes, it is nothing more than living a life of love (fine, if you define love correctly), compassion (fine, if that doesn’t mean “telling everybody who is sad exactly what they want to hear all the time), fairness (nonsense – we’re unfair to many people all the time in perfectly valid ways), peace (hopefully, but we should be prepared to fight when necessary), and humility (as long as it doesn’t mean cowing your head and stammering apologies when somebody yells at you for being a mean evangelical).

    Belief in the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, obeying Jesus’s direct commandments, prayer, evangelism…none of that is “about” Christianity. Just leading a nice and fluffy nice where you’re nice to everyone.\

    That whole website is a farce.

    I thought hard before posting this, wondering if I’m being too harsh. I don’t think so, though. Some things need to be said – this is one of those things.

    • I don’t think you’re too harsh at all. This isn’t Christianity – this is some vaguely feel-good bit of pablum matched to go with foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of evil ‘conservatives’ that asks nothing of its adherents except unswerving devotion to the trendy social and political causes of the moment.

      • This isn’t Christianity – this is some vaguely feel-good bit of pablum matched to go with foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of evil ‘conservatives’ that asks nothing of its adherents except unswerving devotion to the trendy social and political causes of the moment.

        …Compassianity, perhaps? 😉

      • Not even that, since the ‘compassion’ is entirely selective. Compassion… except for anyone who disagrees with gay marriage or this or that. Then it’s time for WAR.

        Doesn’t that really say it all? Preaching the Gospel? Ewwwww! God can handle converting people.

        Oh, but pushing for gay marriage, for acceptance of this sexual act or that? Stand back, God, THIS is the important fight!

      • Hmmm…Socianity? Dedication to the social causes of the day, with a veneer of Christian platitudes heaped on top?

        I’m just trying to help them out here. You know, so people stop confusing them with Christians.

    • Well-stated, @malcolmthecynic. When man sets his sights on man as the goal, man decays into animal. Man must set his sights on Jesus. This is less than Jesus:

      nothing more (and nothing less!) than living a life of love, compassion, fairness, peace, and humility.

      The very word ‘love’ falls apart without Jesus, without God, without the Trinity. With respect to humility, see Colossians 2, especially v18 and v23. Humility does not mean wimpyness; see the 7+1 instances of “one who conquers” in Revelation, for example. Or 2 Cor 10:3-6.

      I would say more, but it would start repeating what you’ve said!

      • ” When man sets his sights on man as the goal, man decays into animal.”
        – I obviously don´t have a problem with being called an “animal”, it´s simply a statement of fact and true by definition (or more exactly, true by how “Homo sapiens sapiens” and “animal” are defined within biology). However, you seem to understand the word very differently, as something that is necessarily less than fully human, else the word “decays” doesn´t make any sense given the context. And that makes this statement dehumanizing, *literally* dehumanizing. Not from my perspective, but certainly from yours. I´d be very careful with that kind of rethoric.

        • However, you seem to understand the word very differently, as something that is necessarily less than fully human,

          I believe that Jesus actually exists and can give us moral energy analogous to how the Sun gives us regular energy. A system closed to outside energy decays to maximum entropy. If isought, then we need a type of (¬is)-energy in the moral domain, if we don’t want decay there. I define ‘fully human’ to be someone who is grafted into Jesus, drawing life from him. You don’t believe this is possible, except in the same sense that one can use MLK Jr. as inspiration. So what I’m advocating here is something you just think is impossible. Why would you be offended? Instead, you ought to pity me for thinking that there is an attainable ‘better’ than what you know to be possible.

          (Surley you will admit that people can be more- or less- morally ordered?)

        • Hi Andy – interesting point about humans and animals. Not that I really agree with Labreuer’s point, but I suppose this is where biology and theology part company. From a strictly scientific point of view there is little or no qualitative difference between a human and any other animal; from a theological point of view there is all the difference in the universe. In theology, humans are animals but they are not *just* animals.

          Perhaps it’s simply the difference of ‘sapiens’. Humans are animals with the capacity for rational thought and ethical choice. We have a common evolutionary heritage with our biological cousins, and we share their instincts, impulses and drives. But we also have the capacity to go against those instincts; to choose to behave in ways that are not solely determined by evolutionary programming.

          Christian theology would go further and say that humans have the capacity to love in a way that goes beyond the mere natural. We are all programmed to love our offspring, and there may sometimes be evolutionary advantages in caring for other humans. But there are examples of love that arguably go far outside this.

          So when Christians talk of becoming animals, it’s in the theological not biological sense. It’s about living by biological rather than moral imperatives. It’s about giving up those parts of us that (in theological terms at least) make us distinctively human as opposed to merely animal.

          But I don’t agree with the view that gay marriage leads to this undesirable end…

          Anyway, not in the least bit expecting you to accept the theological view, just trying to explain it as far as I understand it!

          All the best,
          Harvey

      • I am not offended at all, for the reasons I mentioned above. However, you have said so far that people who do not “set their sights on Jesus”, “decay into animals”, are morally in a state analogous to “maximum entropy” and “not fully human”. Now, substitute “people who do not set their sight on Jesus” by “Jews” for example, and you have made claims that would fit right into Der Stürmer.

        ” Instead, you ought to pity me for thinking that there is an attainable ‘better’ than what you know to be possible.”
        – Oh I am absolutely certain that there is something “better” that exhausts my knowledge and imagination. I pity you for believing that people who do not “set their sights on Jesus” are subhuman.

        “Surley you will admit that people can be more- or less- morally ordered?”
        – I believe that people can be morally compromised for a great variety of reasons (and I do not believe that there is any human being for which not at least some of those reasons apply). What you do believe in when it comes to religious, political, or scientific matters is potentially one of those reasons, I´d say that a Neonazi for example is morally compromised due to his beliefs. However, I still wouldn´t consider him or her as anything less than a fully human being. Further, I find the notion that someone is morally compromised for not believing that Jesus is divine to be utterly absurd. If someone is convinced that the person of Jesus as described in the NT is in every respect less moral than Adolf Hitler, I´d grant you that it is a given that there is something wrong with the moral compass of that person. If however someone merely does not believe that Jesus is divine, than this does not tell you *anything* at all about the moral compass of this person and you are deluding yourself if you think that it does.

        • Now, substitute “people who do not set their sight on Jesus” by “Jews” for example, and you have made claims that would fit right into Der Stürmer.

          If I believe that the unrighteous ought to die for the righteous. Christians, however, worship a God who believes that the righteous ought to die for the unrighteous. And hence, Der Stürmer could only arise from Christians who don’t understand the very thing that Jesus came to the earth to do. Jesus says “you will be persecuted”, not “you will persecute”. Jesus said that he came not to condemn the world, but to save it (Jn 3:17). And yet Christians think they can condemn other people (vs. ideas—2 Cor 10:3-6)? Here I am tempted to use the term “True Christian”, because this stuff is central to who Jesus was and is, and “Christian” is supposed to be someone who follows Jesus.

          Further, I find the notion that someone is morally compromised for not believing that Jesus is divine to be utterly absurd.

          Ok. What’s or who’s your moral energy equivalent of the Sun? I would describe the earth as ‘physically compromised’ if a giant solar shade were launched that caused permanent eclipse conditions.

      • If I believe that the unrighteous ought to die for the righteous. Christians, however, worship a God who believes that the righteous ought to die for the unrighteous. And hence, Der Stürmer could only arise from Christians who don’t understand the very thing that Jesus came to the earth to do. Jesus says “you will be persecuted”, not “you will persecute”. Jesus said that he came not to condemn the world, but to save it (Jn 3:17). And yet Christians think they can condemn other people (vs. ideas—2 Cor 10:3-6)?

        Yeah. Christians like you. You literally said that Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists and simply everyone who “doesn´t set his sight on Jesus”, “decay[s] into animals”, is morally in a state analogous to “maximum entropy” and “not fully human”. If that is not “condemnation” – then the word doesn´t mean anything. And I couldn´t care less whether you think you have reasons for saying these things that you deem “righteous” – there are plenty of historical precedents that illustrate what happens when a sufficiently large group of people accept the kind of dehumanizing rethoric that you use here, and these groups had a tendency of considering themselves to be “righteous” as well.

        Ok. What’s or who’s your moral energy equivalent of the Sun?

        What or who is your mathematical energy equivalent to the sun? You don´t have any? Well, then it´s obvious that you have decayed into something subhuman that cannot even count or perform the most elementary mathematical operations. Seriously, what I just said here is not one iota less ridiculous than your “moral energy” analogy.

        • is morally in a state analogous to “maximum entropy”

          Nope, I didn’t imply that, and I definitely didn’t “literally state” that. What I “literally stated” was: “A system closed to outside energy decays to maximum entropy.” This is a core tenet of physics.

          there are plenty of historical precedents that illustrate what happens when a sufficiently large group of people accept the kind of dehumanizing rethoric that you use here, and these groups had a tendency of considering themselves to be “righteous” as well.

          Pray tell me, how many of those groups believed that the righteous ought die for the unrighteous, like Jesus died for ‘sinners’? One possibly conclusion of this is that the whole thing about “righteous dying for the unrighteous” is a fantasy that never happens. If you believe that’s the case, then please state it literally.

          What or who is your mathematical energy equivalent to the sun?

          God. He is the source of beauty, knowledge, and excellence. He can interface with people directly, or through other people. What other option do you have? That nature (Nature?) just happens to be conducive to us learning about how nature works ad infinitum? That’s a really strong ad hoc claim. Why expect that as a brute fact of our universe? It isn’t required for life. It isn’t required for limited intelligent life. It is only required for unlimited intelligent life.

          Surely you view further understanding of reality as increased ordering? When it is further understanding about what is, we can trust the Sun to provide the outside energy source which reverses entropy. But when it is further understanding about ought, the Sun is useless, unless the is–ought gap is closed. The idea of ought seems to only apply to persons, because only persons can have purposes which make hypothetical imperatives binding. And yet, history is filled of purposes that were realized by the forced sacrificing of other people. It doesn’t have to be win-lose via zero-sum game. It just needs to be “I win more than you”.

          Only a universal, impartial morality and understanding will suffice. Only God’s, in the sense of a “greatest possible being”. And yet, if God doesn’t exist and help us attain that highest of moralities, what makes us think we can achieve it (ostensibly, by successive approximation)? What exists to promote a continual increase in moral ordering? Where is the cause from outside the [finite?] system? Entropy doesn’t reduce magically, except in tiny amounts here and there, temporarily (Boltzmann brain, anyone?). And maybe only when there is a properly random substructure; check out Sean Carroll’s recent Fluctuations in de Sitter Space.

          Remember that natural selection does not guarantee increased complexity.

      • Nope, I didn’t imply that, and I definitely didn’t “literally state” that. What I “literally stated” was: “A system closed to outside energy decays to maximum entropy.”

        Those are all verbatim quotes from you:
        – ”When man sets his sights on man as the goal, man decays into animal. Man must set his sights on Jesus.”
        – “The very word ‘love’ falls apart without Jesus, without God, without the Trinity”.
        – “I believe that Jesus actually exists and can give us moral energy analogous to how the Sun gives us regular energy. A system closed to outside energy decays to maximum entropy.”
        – “I define ‘fully human’ to be someone who is grafted into Jesus, drawing life from him. ”
        And if I understand you correctly, then you also genuinely believe that your rethoric is neither explicitly nor implicitly dehumanizing towards non-christians.
        I see.

        Pray tell me, how many of those groups believed that the righteous ought die for the unrighteous, like Jesus died for ‘sinners’?

        Oh, it is quite common in fascistic regimes to glorify the concept of sacrifice itself and those that do sacrifice themselves for whatever is held in highest regard by the regime. They considered themselves to be noble and righteous, which probably doesn´t even cause a lot of cognitive dissonance if they are simultaneously convinced that their victims are not “really / fully human”.

        God. He is the source of beauty, knowledge, and excellence.

        Given that you cannot communicate with God, I could grant you that this is true and it would still not get you anywhere.

        What other option do you have? That nature (Nature?) just happens to be conducive to us learning about how nature works ad infinitum? That’s a really strong ad hoc claim.

        And a claim that no one who thinks about this for more than a few minutes would make. Consider what needs to be explained here – why nature is in some ways intelligible to us and in some ways not. Why does intelligibility decreases as you approach micro- and macrocosmic scales? (or even vanish completely – things like the quantum mechanical exchange interaction cannot be grasped by the human mind, because there is nothing analogous to it in the physical realm accessible to our senses, you can certainly figure out the mathematical model describing it, but grasping it in the same sense that you could grasp the concept of levers for example doesn´t work). Or why are our cognitive faculties plagued by a huge laundry list of systematic biases? Evolutionary epistemology does make sense of this, and has the added benefit that evolution, unlike your God, is demonstrably true.

        Only a universal, impartial morality and understanding will suffice. Only God’s, in the sense of a “greatest possible being”.

        Cool, ask him to chime in when you see him the next time, I´d like to know whether he is cool with the kind of rethoric you use about people that do not believe that his son was divine.

        • Those are all verbatim quotes from you:

          Yep, and none of them says that people are at “maximum entropy”. Even monkeys have morals, right? The genocidal Hutus in Rwanda had morals: they only raped, mutilated, and murdered ‘them’, not ‘us’.

          Oh, it is quite common in fascistic regimes to glorify the concept of sacrifice itself and those that do sacrifice themselves for whatever is held in highest regard by the regime.

          Ok, so if the only people who sacrifice are the righteous, then either they spread their ideas to others, or they make themselves go extinct. Sounds very dangerous! Better stop them from doing such a thing!

          Given that you cannot communicate with God, I could grant you that this is true and it would still not get you anywhere.

          I reject your given. I have requested knowledge and wisdom and sometimes I get them. You’re welcome to say that I just got them from myself; I’ll attribute them to God. Elsewhere I recall that you claimed that either God does not hear me, or he is not emotionally impacted by me (impassivity); if you did, I reject both these claims. I don’t know why you are so insistent that I do not communicate with God. I’ve already made it clear that I believe the righteous are called to sacrifice for the unrighteous, and not vice-versa. You still seem scared, or afraid, or angry or something. But hey, perception sometimes vastly differs from reality.

          Why does intelligibility decreases as you approach micro- and macrocosmic scales?

          What kind of question is this? Being finite beings, we must start from somewhere, and move out from there.

          (or even vanish completely – things like the quantum mechanical exchange interaction cannot be grasped by the human mind, because there is nothing analogous to it in the physical realm accessible to our senses, you can certainly figure out the mathematical model describing it, but grasping it in the same sense that you could grasp the concept of levers for example doesn´t work)

          What do you mean by “the quantum mechanical exchange interaction”—are you talking about quantum decoherence? The measurement problem? Do you really think that we grasp stoichiometry and chemical reactions just like we grasp levers? I’m really not sure what you’re saying, here.

          Or why are our cognitive faculties plagued by a huge laundry list of systematic biases? Evolutionary epistemology does make sense of this, and has the added benefit that evolution, unlike your God, is demonstrably true.

          The Christian says that these cognitive faculties follow from wanting the wrong things. Given our recent discussions where I’ve used the term “efficacy of the will”, this should be quite intelligible to you. To add to that, just look at all the post hoc rationalizations people engage in, rationalizations which probably contribute to the The Unreliability of Naive Introspection. There are some great research papers on how people suck at predicting their future emotional states. Or look at buyer’s remorse and all the rationalization mechanisms which can kick in. Wanting to [seem to oneself to] be self-consistent more than to be right is extremely corrupting of the mind.

          What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4)

      • Yep, and none of them says that people are at “maximum entropy”. Even monkeys have morals, right? The genocidal Hutus in Rwanda had morals: they only raped, mutilated, and murdered ‘them’, not ‘us’.

        That example is a little unfortunate:
        “The Rwandan government reported on November 1, 2006, that 56.9% of the Rwanda’s population is Roman Catholic, 26% is Protestant, 11.1% is Seventh-day Adventist, 4.6% is Muslim, 1.7% claims no religious affiliation, and 0.1% practices traditional indigenous beliefs.

        Although the ethnic divisions and tensions between Hutu and Tutsi predate the colonial era, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) report on the genocide states,
        “In the colonial era, under German and then Belgian rule, Roman Catholic missionaries, inspired by the overtly racist theories of 19th century Europe, concocted a destructive ideology of ethnic cleavage and racial ranking that attributed superior qualities to the country’s Tutsi minority, since the missionaries ran the colonial-era schools, these pernicious values were systematically transmitted to several generations of Rwandans…”[3]
        When the Roman Catholic missionaries came to Rwanda in the late 1880s, they contributed to the “Hamitic” theory of race origins, which taught that the Tutsi were a superior race. The Church has been considered to have played a significant role in fomenting racial divisions between Hutu and Tutsi, in part because they found more willing converts among the majority Hutu.” (quoted from the Wiki article “Religion in Rwanda”)
        But lets just pretend for the sake of the argument that they were muslims or anything other non-christian. So, given your claims:
        “- ”When man sets his sights on man as the goal, man decays into animal. Man must set his sights on Jesus.”
        – “The very word ‘love’ falls apart without Jesus, without God, without the Trinity”.
        – “I believe that Jesus actually exists and can give us moral energy analogous to how the Sun gives us regular energy. A system closed to outside energy decays to maximum entropy.”
        – “I define ‘fully human’ to be someone who is grafted into Jesus, drawing life from him. ”
        => This would mean that the Hutu “decay into animals”, receive no “moral energy” and are thus on the way to the moral equivalent of “maximum entropy”, are not “fully human” and cannot have any meaningful conception of “love”. And it would further mean that saying this about the Hutu neither explicitly nor implicitily dehumanizes them.
        I´d say that it might be wise to consider that people who believe that values, purpose, beauty, morals etc.pp. come from the inside and not the outside, or from the outside but a different “outside” than the one that you happen to believe in, are still fully human beings. Maybe wrong, maybe stupid, maybe misguided, maybe deceived, some also maybe just evil, but none of them anything less than fully human.
        That we seriously have to discuss this is somewhat stupefying to me, it´s also very sad and more than a little worrisome.

        Ok, so if the only people who sacrifice are the righteous, then either they spread their ideas to others, or they make themselves go extinct. Sounds very dangerous! Better stop them from doing such a thing!

        You genuinely believe that, say, a japanese Kamikaze pilot was “righteous”? Again, I´m at a loss for words…

        I reject your given. I have requested knowledge and wisdom and sometimes I get them. You’re welcome to say that I just got them from myself; I’ll attribute them to God.

        We´ve already been there in a different thread, if you cannot tell who is who – which is a thought from Luke and which is thought from God – then you are not having a “communication” in any sense of the word. Even IF I grant you that your God is real and does insert thoughts into your mind, you still have no method at all to know what comes from “within” and what from “outside” – attributing any of your ideas not to your own mind but rather to God becomes thus a completely arbitrary assertion that doesn´t increase the credibility of said ideas at all, not even by an iota.

        Elsewhere I recall that you claimed that either God does not hear me, or he is not emotionally impacted by me (impassivity);

        Nope, I never claimed or implied either one.

        What kind of question is this? Being finite beings, we must start from somewhere, and move out from there.

        Yes, and we did just that, very successfully so far. What I pointed out was, that the world is no longer intelligible on those scales in the same way that it is intelligible on scales that are accessible to our senses and that were relevant in the evolutionary history of our species. The human mind can no longer grasp many phenomena that happen at micro- and macro-scales. We are only able to understand mathematical abstractions of them, but we cannot intuitively grasp (think about the meaning of the word “grasp”) them in the same way that we can grasp the concept of a lever for example. And this is not a problem of missing scientific insights, quantum field theory for example is obviously incomplete, but as precise and complete as it gets at the moment, more precise and complete even than many theories that describe phenomena on scales that *are* accessible to our senses and that we CAN intuitively grasp and understand (beyond understanding mere mathematical abstractions). This needs to be explained when you ask the question why the world is intelligible to us.
        That our minds are qualitatively better at understanding the world around us on scales that are accessible to our unaided senses compared to scales beyond that, is absolutely expected if said mind is an evolved trait that did evolve in conditions where our ancestors had nothing but their unaided senses until just a (geological) blink of an eye in the past. A “designer” on the other hand could have given humans minds that are able to handle micro- and macro-scales just as well as the world perceived by our unaided senses.

        What do you mean by “the quantum mechanical exchange interaction”—are you talking about quantum decoherence? The measurement problem?

        Nope. Google “exchange interaction” and click on the first link – it´s one of the biggest mindfucks that you encounter in an introduction to quantum mechanics, something that makes total sense mathematically, but no human being has any fucking clue what the abstract mathematical concept *actually means* – because nothing in “everyday physics” is even remotely similar to it. You cannot even come up with fundamentally-flawed-but-still-helpful metaphors for it.

        The Christian says that these cognitive faculties follow from wanting the wrong things.

        Think about how much sense ingroup bias (for example) makes assuming that it is either a) an evolved trait considering the conditions our ancestors lived in or b) not actually a biological trait at all but rather a consequence of people “wanting the wrong things”.

      • Hi Harvey,

        From a strictly scientific point of view there is little or no qualitative difference between a human and any other animal; from a theological point of view there is all the difference in the universe. In theology, humans are animals but they are not *just* animals.

        I disagree, there are quite a lot of qualitative differences from a scientific perspective between humans and most other animals. A sponge is an “animal” by definition, but a sponge has no capacity for feeling pain and pleasure, or rather no capacity to feel anything at all to be precise – because they have no nervous system. A shark is also an “animal”, one that has the general capacity to feel things, but has no sense of fairness, justice, empathy etc.pp. There are qualitative as well as mere quantitative differences between animals of different species (and also between different members of the same species) from a scientific perspective. What you get with a theological perspective, is that you attribute some of those differences to a “soul”, so the disagreement here is not really about whether there are such differences or not, it is rather about what the nature of those differences is.

        Perhaps it’s simply the difference of ‘sapiens’. Humans are animals with the capacity for rational thought and ethical choice. We have a common evolutionary heritage with our biological cousins, and we share their instincts, impulses and drives. But we also have the capacity to go against those instincts; to choose to behave in ways that are not solely determined by evolutionary programming.

        So do our cousins. It is a quantitative, not a qualitative difference between humans and our closest cousins – humans have the potential to be the most kind, noble and selfless animals there are, but also the potential to be the most cruel, sadistic and selfish ones.
        This TED talk by Frans de Waal re moral behaviour in animals is worth watching:

        So when Christians talk of becoming animals, it’s in the theological not biological sense. It’s about living by biological rather than moral imperatives. It’s about giving up those parts of us that (in theological terms at least) make us distinctively human as opposed to merely animal.

        I don´t really disagree here, I would phrase it differently and without theological embellishments of course, but I see your point. What I was objecting to when I replied to labreuer was something different – that it is, at least IMO, very dangerous (and simply factually wrong) to say that people which do not believe that Jesus was divine, are something less than fully human.

    • I agree that Christianity is MUCH more than that, namely the belief that God showed us His human face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

      But Christianity should INCLUDE all the things he has mentioned, and among many Conservative Evangelicals they are conspicuously lacking.

      As a contrast, many French Roman Catholics possess these qualities and reflect Christ’s light, despite some of their socially conservative convictions.

      I would like all Conservative Evangelicals to have the same attitude towards gay people as POPE FRANCIS.

      • But Christianity should INCLUDE all the things he has mentioned, and among many Conservative Evangelicals they are conspicuously lacking.

        And “progressives” have them in spades?

        If you come across someone preaching the Gospel and trying to bring people out of atheism or otherwise, do you think it’s more likely to be a “conservative evangelical” or a “progressive christian”? What about if a church opens up a soup kitchen? Or opens up a charity project in some African village?

        Talk about ‘love, compassion, fairness, peace and humility’ really seems to add up to “vote for the right party, support the right social causes – many of which are the ultimate in First World Problems” for some people.

  4. The scariest thing is, from the way that the author of the article is speaking–with lies, exaggerations, propagandist points, vitriol, and talk of war–you easily get the sense that he would have little problem implementing something like Uganda’s laws against his chosen enemies (he is at war, after all). The only difference, of course, is that he has the “right” enemies, and so suppressing them, getting them fired, threatening their livelihood, etc. is fine.

    And all this talk of a New Christianity is also a bit disturbing. Christianity itself may have somewhat of a violent history (usually overblown for propagandist reasons), but, as history attests, when progressives want to remake the world in their image, rivers of blood often flow.

    Take care,

    RD Miksa
    http://www.idontgiveadamnapologetics.blogspot.com
    Sent from cell-phone

    • Hey Michael East, a quick question.

      If you’re whipped up into a hate frenzy where you believe people in group X want to beat you to death, does that provide encouragement for you to beat them to death?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      • I wish you could be more compassionate towards him for he has really suffered Conservative Evangelical hatred.

        Obviously enough Mike is against every kind of violence.

        You see Crude, I would like to foster a respectful and rational dialog between liberal and conservative Christians.
        I hate this culture war and think that BOTH sides get Christ wrong.

        I have no problem with French Conservative Catholics disapproving of homosexuality but loving engaged gays as their fellowed humans.

      • I wish you could be more compassionate towards him for he has really suffered Conservative Evangelical hatred.

        How in the world am I not being compassionate? We have in this thread a quote from someone who displayed a bizarre, feral and frantic hatred of Christians, urging “war” against them. I’ve asked him a fair question in light of that, after he contributed to the thread. If the answer to that question is not absurdly easy, I suggest we have a problem.

        Obviously enough Mike is against every kind of violence.

        Well, that wasn’t my question.

        You see Crude, I would like to foster a respectful and rational dialog between liberal and conservative Christians.

        I have no doubt you do. Seriously – I think you really mean that.

        But I also think you may have looked at that OP you pasted and regarded it as an example of respectful and rational dialogue. A kind of rallying cry against a group of people who you think are not capable of respectful, rational dialogue, and thus who should be excluded from the conversation altogether, shunned by all sides. And if so, I have a very, very different view from you, if that is the case. I think that was an amazing, explicit, vulgar example of vile LGBT activist hate speech.

        Like I said elsewhere, Lothar – I think it’s a possibility you are being played here. You seem to have an image of ‘evangelical conservatives’ that is just incorrect. I’m now starting to get the impression that these people you find particularly threatening… do they even exist in your country? Or do you have in mind a distinctly American group of individuals who you largely hear about through second or third hand (not to mention, hostile) sources?

        I pleaded my case with evidence and arguments. I linked to a news article showing various conservative evangelical leaders condemning the Uganda law – while people were still working hard to link them to it. You talked about hatred, and you really seemed to believe the OP view about how conservative evangelicals – a group, by the way, I’m not even part of, nor have I ever been – hated gays to the point where they wanted to beat them to death with their bare hands. I’ve asked for contrary evidence, I’ve conceded that this group is not perfect. But holy hell, it’s not what the detractors we’ve seen in this thread make them out to be.

        I think you are wrong. And, more than that, I think various people want desperately for you to BE wrong. They want you and others to have this broad, nasty perception of this group of people, because it’s politically and socially advantageous to them for said group to be perceived that way.

  5. Hey good people, we all clearly have very different strong views on this subject, but let’s not descend into Internecine trench warfare. Whichever side we’re on, our ‘opponents’ are not devils or fools but human beings like us, with feelings and probably with fairly good reasons for holding their views. However wrong they might clearly be 😉

    Also let’s not be too quick to use inflammatory language – accusations of lying are rarely helpful. Why not give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the writer is mistaken rather than deliberately mendacious?

    This wasn’t perhaps one of the good Lotharson’s most well-considered or carefully-worded posts – it was clearly written with great passion but I think slightly undermined by some uncharacteristic lapses in argument. Certainly I don’t believe that all evangelicals hate homosexuals and merely use the Bible as an excuse, though some may.

    Nonetheless, Lotharson’s main point – which we’re in danger of losing sight of – surely stands. Which is that, whatever we think about homosexual orientation and practice, it is wrong for gay people to be subjected to harassment, beatings and even execution. And if this persecution is at the hands of Christians, then shame on us and we need to stand against that.

    As an aside, some of you guys have been strongly critiquing the liberal view that Christianity is simply about love and forgiveness, rather than about doctrines like the resurrection and divinity of Christ. I take your point, but don’t be too quick to dismiss understandings and traditions of Christianity different from your own.

    I affirm the reality of the incarnation and resurrection, but for me the point of those things is not so we can believe doctrines about them but so that we and the world can be changed. Jesus didn’t primarily come to teach us right theology; his primary teaching was ‘Love God, and your neighbour as yourself’.

    Furthermore, in the Matthew 25 story of the sheep and goats Jesus suggested radically that we show our love for him by our treatment of fellow humans. So those liberals who hold that the essence of Christianity is how we behave towards one another may not be quite as wide of the mark as it appears…

    • I take your point, but don’t be too quick to dismiss understandings and traditions of Christianity different from your own.

      Okay. I now define “Christian” to mean “people who believe Jesus existed”. Thus, most atheists are Christian, and all Muslims are.

      What is your response to this? Do you “dismiss my understanding”?

      You also made an extremely important category error. Their Christianity is not a “different tradition” or even a mere “different understanding”. It is a NEW Christianity, and I frankly think that the people who are peddling it are doing great, great harm to the faith.

      Furthermore, in the Matthew 25 story of the sheep and goats Jesus suggested radically that we show our love for him by our treatment of fellow humans. So those liberals who hold that the essence of Christianity is how we behave towards one another may not be quite as wide of the mark as it appears…

      The problem, EL is that nobody here has said that Christians don’t have a responsibility to treat others well.

    • And while I’m at it – I reject the idea that every religion and every religious tradition deserves the same respect. I believe that there really ARE better and worse religions and religious traditions.

      If this offends some people, so be it. I’d rather offend people than act as if this sham Compassianity is in any way something to be respected. Acting that way is more than incorrect – it is harmful, and even morally wrong.

    • Also let’s not be too quick to use inflammatory language – accusations of lying are rarely helpful. Why not give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the writer is mistaken rather than deliberately mendacious?

      Because there are situations where it would be absolutely foolish to do so, and in the case of the author that Lothar quoted, this happens to be one of them. Why in the world should I extend the benefit of the doubt to a person who not only is spreading hate speech that is vile to an extreme, but is doing so while making claims about the people they hate that are flat out wrong and easy to realize as such?

      And more than that – why the hell is there a near complete lack of any “progressive” regular around here condemning John Shore’s hate speech? I suppose it’s okay when it’s directed against those of the wrong political view? Golly, he just declared war on conservative evangelicals, accused them of wanting to beat everyone to death, and – on his own terms – implied that it’s justified to use violence against them, certainly to persecute them. Oh, but he’s in favor of gay marriage! Benefit of the doubt here, come on people, let’s appreciate the larger point he was making.

      Wonderful. It truly is a mystery why my view of “progressive Christianity” has recently shifted from strong disagreement to utter contempt, isn’t it?

      This wasn’t perhaps one of the good Lotharson’s most well-considered or carefully-worded posts – it was clearly written with great passion but I think slightly undermined by some uncharacteristic lapses in argument. Certainly I don’t believe that all evangelicals hate homosexuals and merely use the Bible as an excuse, though some may.

      Lothar’s own words were fine. His choice of inspiration leaves a LOT to be desired.

      And don’t water down the problem here. ‘Merely use the Bible as an excuse’? Shore – who is apparently the author of that piece – railed against /sincere/ belief that unrepentant sinners are hellbound, and immediately connected that very belief with wanting to violently beat homosexuals to death. Then he said we should declare war on them, attack them and pretty much destroy them however we can.

      Nonetheless, Lotharson’s main point – which we’re in danger of losing sight of – surely stands.

      Pardon my language, but to hell with Lothar’s main point. ‘You shouldn’t want to beat people who disagree with you to death, and you shouldn’t hate them.’? Fantastic. Who’s going to disagree with that? Shore himself would pretend he didn’t disagree. That topic’s going nowhere, save for the implied tut-tutting of the ‘conservatives’ as if they’re the ones for whom such sins are live risks and realities.

      Shore called for the persecution of Christians. He reasoned that if you believe unrepentant same-sex sexual behavior lands one in hell that you will hate and beat to death people who do so. I say that casting your enemies as hateful monsters who will beat you to death if they have a chance and who ALSO are condemned by God, by Shore’s own logic, encourages the same persecution of them – and regardless, his rant was hate speech.

      Why should I ignore this again? Why is it so important to drop that topic?

      I affirm the reality of the incarnation and resurrection, but for me the point of those things is not so we can believe doctrines about them but so that we and the world can be changed. Jesus didn’t primarily come to teach us right theology; his primary teaching was ‘Love God, and your neighbour as yourself’.

      Great – you accept the incarnation and the resurrection? Then you’re going far, far beyond what “progressive Christianity” demands. And yes, actually, Christ did in part come to teach us the right theology. The incarnation, the resurrection – hell, the very existence of God Himself? Those things are important. They’re not something that progressive Christians can justifiably discard because it makes them feel funny to try and convert their atheist or buddhist or jewish or hindu or muslim friends that they may have something wrong about life.

      So those liberals who hold that the essence of Christianity is how we behave towards one another may not be quite as wide of the mark as it appears…

      Yeah, let me tell you, John Shore is just echoing the words of Christ Himself over there. Nothing poisonous about that – he hates the right kind of people with the right amount of passion.

      Here’s something to consider: when something has gone as wrong as it does with Shore and others, maybe the problem comes back to an earlier mistake they made in their reasoning. Like, oh, deciding that all that really matters is having the right political and social views, with theology and God being irrelevant.

      • Hi Malcolm, I hear you! I may not entirely agree, but I hear you. And of course I may well be wrong.

        Where I definitely am wrong is that I’d somehow not realised that pretty much the entire article was a long quotation from John Shore – someone of whom I know absolutely nothing. I therefore assumed these were Lotharson’s words, and was surprised as they seemed a little out of character.

        I’m not arguing for anything-goes or a content-free Christianity, even a doctrine-free Christianity necessarily. I’m not even sure what’s meant by a “New” Christianity – the only kind I’m interested in is both always ancient and always new, as is Christ.

        All I’m saying is that there are many types of Christian in the world, and I’m not all that interested in who’s in/out or even who’s right/wrong. I’m not too fussed about whether or not people are doctrinally correct to the nth degree – I know I sure as heck aren’t. I’m interested in lives genuinely changed by Christ – which is a lot harder to define and not even always easy to recognise.

        Anyway, all the best to you,
        Harvey

      • There are other problems there. According to Shore, why should *I* be Christian, especially since the actual theological beliefs that constitute the basis of the religion (i.e. the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and what those entail) aren’t important? From C.S. Lewis:

        I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

        – “Mere Christianity”

        Saying “Well, ACTING like a Christian is important, listening to Jesus is important” is true, if Christ is God”. Other religions have their own moral philosophies based around the Golden Rule…I’ll look them up if I get the time. What Christianity has that they don’t is Christ. Saying that Christ isn’t “about” Christianity but rather some vague fluffy platitudes is not saying anything about Christianity at all.

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