Culture war: On loving one’s enemy and winning an argument

If you had the choice between both options, which outcome would you favor?

Keeping a friendly and respectful tone during the whole discussion, even if this might give to outsiders the impression that your cherished ideas aren’t quite airtight?

Or demolishing your adversaries with your words so that most people would perceive your rhetorical victory as the superiority of your beliefs?

Sadly, countless folks at the left and right side of the Culture War are passionately committed to option 2) and almost never wonder if their attitude might cause serious emotional harm to their opponents.

https://i0.wp.com/www.spiked-online.com/images/culture_wars3.jpg

This happens all the time for hot topics such as abortion or homosexuality where kind and respectful persons are constantly being bashed, insulted, humiliated and bullied on the ground of certain beliefs they hold sincerely.

I was really delighted as I found this refreshing post arguing for Gay marriage but in a spirit of love.

******

God Does NOT Define Marriage as a Man and a Woman

marriage2

“I am sorry if gay marriage attacks the sanctity of your fourth marriage.”

Does God define marriage as only for one man and one woman? You would think so by how often it’s claimed. But the answer is ‘no’ and I am reclaiming that truth today.

As marriage equality becomes the law of the land, pastors are seeking real answers for how to respond. As I said last week, there are people sitting in pews and pastors standing behind pulpits whose hearts are being changed by God. More than you can imagine.

Perry Noble, a pastor in South Carolina said this is one of his most frequently asked questions. He wrote about it on his blog, and I appreciated his loving tone and his focus on Christ. But I differed on his view of marriage equality and thought it worthy of a response, not just on directly to him, but for others working through this issue in their congregations. (Here is a link to his post.)

Here is my response.

Perry,

I appreciate your message about same-sex marriage, your heart of love, and not wanting to legislate morality – that you want to point people, with love, to Jesus. That is the call of a Christ-follower!

But I differed with you when you said, “And as far as we’re concerned, God clearly defined marriage as a relationship between a male and a female in Scripture.”

Biblical marriageIt’s simply not true.

We see various configurations of marriage (multiple wives, multiple wives plus concubines, marrying your dead brother’s widow, etc.) that are NOT condemned. They served a compassionate purpose in a period of time.

I’m not saying this to be a burr in your saddle, but to point out that your conclusion is not foregone. Pastors and scholars who have studied this disagree. I thank you for encouraging your people to love, not moralize. I want to encourage you that love is enough! Being the love of Christ is enough!

Jesus tells us to let the Holy Spirit lead in all truth, not to try it ourselves. We are not to be trusted with correcting. We have a poor track record at it!

Only a little legalism empowers people to take matters in their own hands, and soon you have bullies enforcing those views in the classroom and workplace, and parents kicking kids out of their homes.

I thank you for your kind heart. I implore you to make sure your people get the main message: love, love, more love, when they’re tiring of loving let Jesus love through them, and leave all the correcting and directing to Jesus.

Otherwise, they’re in danger of hurting someone Jesus loves dearly.

Marriage is not about religion. Atheists get married.
Marriage is not about reproduction. The infertile get married.
Marriage is about love. That’s it.

And that’s beautiful.

****

My response fellows.

I’m myself a progressive Christian having coined a very simple argument showing that Gay marriage is NOT against the will of God .

I believe that no law of God is arbitrary and that the whole Christian ethics can be entirely summed up by Love and its consequences, which is the central message of Jesus.

Even during my non-Christian youth, I believed (owing to prejudices) that homosexuality was a harmful and deviant lifestyle. But after having done thorough researches and read the testimonies of real people, I realized it is not a condition one chooses and that committed homosexual relationships are as harmless as heterosexual bonds.

I loudly affirm that two persons of the same sex can be married while fulfilling their God-given commission which is to grow in Love .

I’m bitterly grieved by the fact so many Conservative Evangelicals focus so much on homosexuality while ignoring real and devastating sins.

But I also know that numerous Conservative Christians opposed to gay marriage do NOT hate queer people and that they sincerely try to separate what they view as a sin from the “sinner”.

Therefore I disapprove of John Shore’s strategy (Even if John might be a wonderful person in other areas) and think we should keep harsh words for those truly deserving them, i.e. self-righteous bigots.

Thus your correspondence with Perry was really lovely and I wish all actors of the Culture War would treat their respectful “enemies” in this manner.

As for marriage, I think it is clear that the Bible speaks with conflicting voices on many topics .

It is a culturally-conditioned text which contains both an awesome beauty and a utter darkness. Like our own soul.

Thus I think that enlightened Christians ought to understand it as people reporting their experiences with the Almighty and reflecting on them, in the same way C.S. Lewis and many others did.

Trying to follow an inerrant Bible is not only logically impossible (due its inconsistency) but also  very dangerous since it leads many people to pick and choose evil verses for building up their doctrines.

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

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3 thoughts on “Culture war: On loving one’s enemy and winning an argument

  1. I agree that the Bible does not speak with one voice on marriage.
    1 Samuel 18 sounds suspiciously like gay marriage to me.
    If only people could accept a variety of views on interpretation.
    And live and let love.

  2. Wow:

    Jesus tells us to let the Holy Spirit lead in all truth, not to try it ourselves. We are not to be trusted with correcting. We have a poor track record at it!

    This is radical individualism. I will let scholar Alistair McFayden explain, from The Call to Personhood: A Christian Theory of the Individual in Social Relationships:

        The doctrine of the fall means that the question of the right practice of relations (ethics) has to be relocated. The ethical question cannot be equated with possession of the knowledge of the difference between good and evil, for that is precisely the form of self-possession which led to the fall. Adam and Eve thought they could dispute what God’s Word really meant, get behind it to judge both it and God.[35] The assumption that we have the capacity to know the difference between right and wrong and to act upon it is in itself and on its own already a corruption of the image. It isolates one from God and others because what is right for one and others is assumed to be already known. The assumption that one already knows what is right stops communication because no new information or external agency is necessary. In what follows I will describe the image and its redemption as a relational process of seeking what is right in openness to others and God and thereby to the fact that one’s understanding and capacity are fundamentally in question.

    The choice between good and evil implies that people are already in touch with reality and their only task is its administration . . . The choice between good and evil calls elements within our environment into question: the real ethical question calls us into question.

    (43–44)

    This cuts all ways—it neither lets the conservatives dictate reality to progressives, nor does it allow the other way around. And yet, the bit of Susan Cottrell’s comment I quoted indicates that she gets to decide what is right and wrong—of course, she’ll say that the Holy Spirit was telling her what is right and wrong, and I don’t have to deny this a priori. I am merely pointing out where her logic goes.

    There can be love without truth. Until I see this affirmed by anyone who justifies gay marriage in love, I will continue voicing my concern. C.S. Lewis wonderfully illustrated love outside of truth in Till We Have Faces; I think I know why it was his least popular book: nobody wanted to hear that message.

    Again, nothing of what I say necessarily indicates that gay marriage is wrong, or right. Instead, it is a critique of the idea that my sense of ‘the good’ need not be influenced in the slightest by your sense of ‘the good’. This is a direct violation of 1 Cor 12:12–31, specifically v21.

  3. Trying by litigation to force Christian ministers to approve of homosexual marriages or performing them is unconstitutional and isn’t going to happen in the USA! With both Houses of Congress now Republican lead, measures are surely going to be passed to stop liberal judges from overturning state and national laws against homosexual marriages–such as the national law passed in Congress in the 1990’s defining marriage as only legally acceptable between heterosexual couples (DOMA). It’s past time for leftist judges to be allowed to “legislate from the bench”. The Congress has the power to impeach such unconstitutional judges who interpret and bend our Constitution anyway they want to twist its logical legal meanings. I’m sick of our country’s judges who overthrow good laws passed by state and federal legislators, also term limits must be put on judges who seem to think that they are above our legislative and executive branches of our government. Presidents and all the executive branch of our government are to administer instead of legislate like Obama has been doing by his “executive orders” that unconstitutionally bypass Congress. Roe vs. Wade seemed to start all this evil nonsense by allowing legal abortions of babies in their mother’s wombs–millions of human beings have been “legally” murdered since this infamous Supreme Court ruling! I’m sorry if this offends you, but I loath so-called “progressive” pseudo-Christianity–which is anything but true Christianity and being a disciple of Christ! Jesus Christ warned of “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, and made it perfectly clear in His Command–“Think not that I came TO ABOLISH LAW, BUT TO ESTABLISH IT” True Christians love God and strive to consistently obey His moral Laws “written on the tablets of our hearts”!

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