Friday, December 26, 2008

Unity may mean hanging out with people who disagree with you

Conservatives and liberals alike are not fond of Obama's decision to have Rick Warren do whatever he is doing at Obama's inauguration. I can understand the concerns from both sides, but I'll choose to pick on the liberals because all this time they have talked about the importance of unity. When Obama supporters talk throughout the entire campaign about how important unity is for this country, then protest when he chooses someone to pray at his inauguration who shares views different from their own, it makes me think one of two things, both of them cynical. Either unity isn't that important, or, unity is important when it means getting conservatives to find common ground with liberals, but not vice versa. People of any political persuasion are free to say whatever they want about Obama's choice, but people have to show how "unity" is important, not just say it is. Believing in unity means, maybe from time to time, you hang out with somebody with whom you disagree.

22 comments:

Mark said...

Do you think "unity" takes logical priority over doctrinal purity - i.e the Truth?

Chance said...

Not at all.

It's not that I think "unity" is that important...it's just that the people who are talking about "unity" seem to only be doing that, just "talking." It's that the ones who do think unity is so important, that conservatives and liberals need to work together, who protest when somebody of a conservative bent says the inauguration prayer. And it's not like Warren is an extreme conservative, he's one of the people who would trumpet the cause of "unity" along with the Obama supporters.

Again, I have no issue with people protesting the choice, I just don't think people should talk out of both sides of their mouth.

Thanks for visiting.

Mark said...

Understood, thanks for the reply. Hypocrisy is indeed neither liberal or conservative. I just would prefer dis-unity IF Obama and Warren are thought of as some sort of "unifiers".

dolphin said...

it's not like Warren is an extreme conservative

He said that marrying a member of the same sex is an exact equivalent to sexually abusing a child (and then confirmed that that was indeed precisely what he meant when asked for clarity). In my book that makes him an extreme conservative. Most conservatives I know (even those who oppose same sex marriage) would prefer to see two members of the same sex marry than to see a child be abused.

I'm among those not terribly upset about the Warren selection (if Obama wants Warren to say a prayer, let him say the prayer, it's not as if he's giving him a cabinet position), however I don't like to see Warren's extremism downplayed.

As for unity; unity may mean hanging out with people who disagree with you, but does it mean honoring and celebrating those viewpoints? I'd say not. I might be able to work with a racist to achieve some mutual goal but that doesn't mean I have to throw a fundraiser for the KKK.

Chance said...

"He said that marrying a member of the same sex is an exact equivalent to sexually abusing a child "

I wasn't aware of that statement. While I'm typically hesitant to say certain sins are better/worse than other sins, I think most people can see that a situation of abuse is much worse than a relationship between two consenting adults.

Mark said...

humm... homsexuality is abuse (abuse to the image of God), so is a raising a child in that abusive relationship. God's word - and God does not lie, and God did indeed become flesh and walk among us - the tomb was factually empty, used the word "abomination". So.. like you Chance, I am also typically hesitant to call some sins worse than others. I refer to God's word, and gain a better understanding of what He is teaching us, not the opposite.

When did "consent" equate to Truth, Good, Right, Holy, or Pure in your worldview - absent of God's word?

Chance said...

Hi Mark,
Just to be clear, I'm not condoning homosexuality by any means. What I meant to say is that I believe different sins have different impacts here on earth, and I tend to believe that child abuse has more significant impacts, at least on an individual level, than a gay relationship.

To be clear, I do believe that sin is sin in God's eyes: homosexuality, abuse, murder, when I break the speed limit, when someone looks at a girl lustfully, etc... If I lump homosexuals with child abusers, that is true in a spiritual sense, but I also have to include those who have had premarital sex, those who swear, etc... I just want to ensure that gay people don't have a special position in the ladder of sin that I sometimes see assigned to them.

But if I am saying something that is biblically incorrect, please let me know. I am definitely open here. I try to walk the fine line of disagreeing with homosexuality, yet not thinking it is worse than other sins and loving those people with Christ's love.

Mark said...

I just want to ensure that gay people don't have a special position in the ladder of sin that I sometimes see assigned to them.

Understood, however, that "special" relationship on the ladder of sin is due when the sin is brought before God as being holy, no? Or that “sin” is being proclaimed as being a gift from God and to be celebrated. I would argue it is those gays that deserve “special” attention and thus receive a higher rung on the ladder – perhaps that you have observed.

That said, biblically all sins are not equal. In terms of eternal consequences, yes - all sin is indeed equal. There are most assuredly degrees of sin. Just as there are degrees of gifts and heavenly rewards and degrees of eternal suffering in Hell. Cf Matt 11:22, 24 and Luke 10:12, 14.

The good news – all sin is equally forgivable, but not equal in severity.

One of the most profound ways we can show love to those in rebellion - is to tell them the Truth; give them the Gospel. Remember even Judas had a "personal relationship" with Christ. I suspect the many who call on the name of Christ know nothing of His Lordship - those who speak of unity at the very cost of His Lordship -ie. Warren and gay christians etc...

Carsen said...

God's word - and God does not lie, and God did indeed become flesh and walk among us - the tomb was factually empty, used the word "abomination".

*sigh* I should totally not open this can of worms, but here it goes anyways. I spent 6 years in in depth study of the Christian Bible and its views on homosexuality. If you're going to go throwing out "God hates fags" nonsense, you need to provide scriptural citations complete with historical context and various translations of the original Hebrew and Greek texts, because frankly, when you don't you're not only lying, but you're spreading hatred in the name of God and if we're putting sins on a ladder here... ...we'll let's just say it's abundantly clear what Jesus said about false prophets...

Chance said...

Carsen,

First of all, nobody said "God hates gay people", so quit with that straw man. Saying that a certain action is wrong doesn't mean that we hate that person. I know it's a completely radical idea, but apparently it is very hard for people to understand that.

For example, I believe premarital sex is wrong, but I don't hate people who do it, then I would hate a lot of people. If a family member did the worst and killed somebody, I would still love my family member but totally hate what they did.

I have no beef with gay people, they just happen to do something that I believe is scripturally wrong.

Since you have a hard time between differentiating the disagreement with a lifestyle/philosophy and hating a person, I can assume you hate all conservatives, at least the theological ones.

Concerning biblical citations, Neil Simpson has a blog in which he gives scriptural citations for his argument.

http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/problems-with-pro-gay-theology-5-of-5/

http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/11/24/favorite-dish-of-liberal-theologians-skeptics-shellfish/

http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/endless-errors-from-soulforce/

to name a few.

Carsen said...

Saying that a certain action is wrong doesn't mean that we hate that person.

Frankly, I haven't seen anyone here say any particular action is wrong. I've seen "homosexuality" (ie, the group of people with same-sex attraction, whether or not such attractions are acted upon) defined as abuse and an "abomination." So yes, if you say a person's existence is abuse and an abomination, that is in fact hatred.

I can assume you hate all conservatives

Certainly, you are welcome to assume whatever you like (and indeed I have no doubt you will), but you will be mistaken. I think conservatism has a very important place in our society. there are many ideas in conservatism that I think have great merit, and those that I disagree with I think provide a valuable reflective check on their liberal counterparts. Regardless, you'd be hard-pressed to catch me saying that conservatism is an abuse or an abomination.

at least the theological ones.

Funny thing about theology; I've learned over the years that theology is a result of human belief, and not the other way around. That's why you so rarely find anybody who disagrees with their god in any substantial way (or more accurately, you so rarely find people whose God disagrees with them), despite the fact that those same people may disagree with each other sharply. I have no problem with theology as an academic topic (on the contrary, I've a HUGE fan of it and devote much of my time to studying it). The only point I develop a problem with theology is when people assert that their own personal interpretation of it (as filtered through their own beliefs) is absolute truth and wield it as a weapon to cause demonstrable harm to other people. It is my belief that wishing harm on others is a distortion of the core principles of just about any theology you'd care to explore and and I'll fight it on both theological and secular grounds.

As for Neil Simpson's work, I'll take a look at it. A casual glance at it doesn't reveal anything particularly new or interesting (and in fact I see right away several contradictions and factual omissions), but I'd need to read it more in depthly.

Chance said...

Carsen,
Thanks for your thoughts. I actually tend to believe that it is not the attraction itself that is wrong, it is the actions and dwelling on thoughts. Different people have different struggles. As a heterosexual male, there are thoughts and desires that I deal with as well, I just have to rely on Christ to avoid acting upon them (and focusing on the thoughts which can lead to the actions). Heterosexuals struggle with sexual immorality as well, it just happens to be a different flavor.

As far as disagreeing with God, I see your point. People, including Christians, shape their view of God, and their view of Jesus a certain way. I, many times, have my own preconceived notions of how God is or should be, but hopefully as I grow closer to God my perceptions of how God is will conform to reality.

I do agree with you that people use religion as a tool, even Christians, unfortunately, and it shouldn't be about that, it should be showing light to other people. But sometimes the truth is going to offend people. Many times it is Christians that offend other people, but sometimes it is just Christ himself. And saying that something will happen to other people does not equal wishing that it does. The apostle Paul wished a curse upon himself if it meant the nation of Israel would accept Christ. While I wouldn't go that far myself, I would love it if everyone in the universe accepted Christ; why would I wish harm on other people?

Again, thanks on stopping by. I hoped I changed some of your conceptions of what some Christians believe.

Carsen said...

Heterosexuals struggle with sexual immorality as well, it just happens to be a different flavor.

Fortunately for you, the evangelical god has given you an appropriate way to explore the life that he gave you. I've found that the evangelical god isn't so kind to folks who don't fit the straight white protestant male mold. In fact, based on evangelical interpretation of the scripture, folks who don't fit that mold are faced with a particularly cruel and evil god. And the only way folks outside of that mold can hope to come into favor with the evangelical god is to pretend to be in the straight white protestant male where possible, and where not possible, to offer complete and total submission to those that do fit that mold. It's no surprise that the god of straight white protestant males holds straight white protestant males as his favorites. Once again, theology comes from belief.

it should be showing light to other people

Unfortunately, that almost NEVER happens (in almost any religion, despite the fact that I fully believe nearly all religions have a light to show). I think it reflects on how few people are themselves actually experiencing a connection with the light through their religion. If they were, they'd simply live in the light, and others would flock to them.
Believe me, I've encountered people with an incredibly strong connection to the light (including two Christians, one protestant and one catholic), and they inspire others like nothing else, and they aren't even trying to.

When one must forcibly inflict their views upon another it simply is symptomatic of an insecurity in those views. The average evangelical isn't secure enough to simply hold their views on their own, so they demand everyone around them hold them as well.

And saying that something will happen to other people does not equal wishing that it does.

But acting to pass secular legislation explicitly designed to harm others is in fact equal to wishing that it does. Whether it was the evangelical pressure to maintain and enforce segregation (not very many years ago), or their new pet issues of today, the reality is that, insecure in their own beliefs, their instinct is to punish those who challenge them. That's where intent to harm and hatred come into play.

Chance said...

It's no surprise that the god of straight white protestant males holds straight white protestant males as his favorites. Once again, theology comes from belief.
What does being white have to do with anything? This whole "white" thing may work well as a shock-factor, but it has no basis in reality. Are you talking about heterosexuality or race? This whole race thing is out of the blue. Are you really up for serious conversation, or do you just want to bash a demographic. If your beef is with the WASP group, take it up with them, it has nothing to do with Christ. The female/male thing I can understand, but I don't feel like delving into that right now.

And the only way folks outside of that mold can hope to come into favor with the evangelical god is to pretend to be in the straight white protestant male where possible, and where not possible, to offer complete and total submission to those that do fit that mold. Protestantism is not the answer to being close to God. It is all about Jesus Christ. Yes, my spiritual beliefs happen to line up pretty well with Protestantism, but it is not a set of doctrinal points that saves me, it's Jesus. And not the fact that I'm white (again, I'm really confused with the white thing).

But acting to pass secular legislation explicitly designed to harm others is in fact equal to wishing that it does. I think here it is important to separate politics from Christianity. Yes, many Christians have unpopular political beliefs. I don't know if it should matter, but I tend to be a bit more libertarian in some regards in comparison to other Christians. But Christians and others on the left hold ghastly views as well. They want to inflict their viewpoints on others just as much as conservatives, whether it's forcing people to do abortions against their conscience, gay people forcing e-harmony to accomodate them despite the presence of many other dating sites, etc... D

But again, look at the Bible and who Christ is. Having a certain set of politics or belief system apart from Christ is not what saves you.

Carsen said...

Are you talking about heterosexuality or race?

I'm talking about it all. Yes, I'm aware it's no longer in vogue to cite biblical justification for segregating the races, but there are still people alive today who remember when such a thing was the order of the day. The reality is, whatever the issue du jour happens to be, there will always be folks saying, "I don't hate anybody, but this is God's truth and if that offends you, it's your problem." Again, it comes down to theology being born of belief instead of the other way around. When the majority of Christians believed the races should be separated, theology dictated that the races should be separated. Now that that's a substantially less common belief, theology makes no such dictations and the verses that once were just to suggest it have now been reinterpreted. 100 years from now, the same will be the case with gays and lesbians, and there will invariably some other group that are the feared "other" that must be oppressed in the name of God.

I think here it is important to separate politics from Christianity.

Well on that we can certainly agree, however, I'm not talking here of Christianity, but rather of the evangelical conception of Christianity (the difference cannot be overstated). The modern evangelical church really is more of a political movement than a religious one.

They want to inflict their viewpoints on others just as much as conservatives, whether it's forcing people to do abortions against their conscience, gay people forcing e-harmony to accomodate them despite the presence of many other dating sites

I certainly have not claimed that anything I've said is limited to one side of the political spectrum. Though I've never heard of it, I'm sure there are a small handful of extremists who would see people forced to have abortions (though, I think you'd find that 99.9% of the pro-choice movement would find such a thing abhorrent), and I myself thought the e-Harmony thing was ridiculous (though having seen gay people forced into homelessness by the policies of so-called christians, I think forcing e-Harmony to take money from gay people may seem a bit less "ghastly" to me than it does to you).

Chance said...

Just because Christians have been wrong on social issues before doesn't mean they are always wrong. The Bible doesn't say black people are inferior to white people, but it does say homosexuality is wrong. Some denominations are changing and accepting gay behavior; in the same way, a large majority of churches today think racism is wrong. The difference is the Bible supports one viewpoint, but not the other.

Chance said...

One more thing, really quick, you said that effectively, you feel that Christians "hate" gay people through certain policies and politics. Concerning the political side of things, I'm personally more of a live and let live type of person. I don't think homosexuality should be outlawed, and if someone wants to leave their life partner in their will, they should be able to do that. At the same time, I respect people's desire whether or not to recognize homosexuality - cue the eHarmony thing, or the issue with the Boy Scouts. As far as gay marriage, it is up to the people like a lot of other issues; it is up to "the people" if they want to support it or not. I won't vote to support it, because it goes against my beliefs. At the same time, however, if someone wants to get a house or buy life insurance or whatever with their life partner, I don't really care. I do believe in letting people be to some extent, I just won't condone it, and recognizing it as marriage is doing so. Hurting, or even not loving, people because they are gay is wrong and un-Christian. Not recognizing their partnership as a marriage, I don't see that as "hating" as many do.

Carsen said...

The Bible doesn't say black people are inferior to white people, but it does say homosexuality is wrong.

Except that it wasn't long ago when evangelicals would happily announce that the Bible DID say black people are inferior to white people. And I'm not talking about a small handful of folks. I'm talking about such mainstream names as Jerry Falwell. Further they'd happily point you to the verses that they claimed backed their viewpoint.

It's kind of funny. You're sitting here doing the same thing they did, but saying "No, see, when THEY did it, it was misinterpreting scripture, but there's no way that WE could be misinterpreting scripture."

At the same time, I respect people's desire whether or not to recognize homosexuality - cue the eHarmony thing, or the issue with the Boy Scouts.

One thing we need to bee 100% clear on. The issue with the Boy Scouts was NOT whether the Boy Scouts should be allowed to discriminate against gay people. It was whether tax payers should have to FUND discrimination against gay people.

Interestly, the court decided the government cannot make non-discrimination a condition of receipt of federal funds (BSA v Dale), and 5 years later decided that it CAN however make discrimination a condition of receipt of federal funds (Rumsfeld v FAIR). That's right, according to the SCOTUS, the government cannot compel a private entity to not discriminate, but the can force a private entity TO discriminate.

As far as gay marriage, it is up to the people like a lot of other issues

The people already made the decision. Equal protection under the law is guaranteed in our federal constitution and every individual state constitution. It's not a matter of what "the people" want, we know what "the people" want. But now hatred has reared it's ugly head and "the people" are saying, "oh when we said equal protection, we didn't mean for people that we hate."

Look at yourself, for example. You're sitting here feeling good about yourself because you're willing to say, "sure, if gay people want to rack up thousands of dollars in legal fees to obtain a small fraction of the rights that I get for the $30 or so a marriage license would cost me, I guess (as someone whose better than them and therefore hold the authority to make decisions about their lives for them) I can go ahead and permit them to do so."

Adding arrogance to your hate, doesn't make it less hateful. It's not something you ought to be patting yourself on the back for.

Chance said...

Look at yourself, for example. You're sitting here feeling good about yourself because you're willing to say...As opposed to feeling good about myself by saying everyone who disagrees with me is full of hate.

Simply calling people bigots or hateful because they disagree with you isn't the way to change minds.

Chance said...

Carsen,
It's kind of funny. You're sitting here doing the same thing they did, but saying "No, see, when THEY did it, it was misinterpreting scripture, but there's no way that WE could be misinterpreting scripture." Okay, find one verse supporting the idea that the white race is supreme. I'll find a few saying homosexuality is wrong.

Other than that...
please don't comment on this blog anymore by just saying I'm full of hate. Seriously, I was open to your viewpoints and thought you had some good things to say; I always like hearing things from other sides. However, as the conversation continued you started to get more heated and emotional and your comments turned to crap. Now all I'm hearing is that I'm arrogant and full of hate. Even if your viewpoints are correct, you'll get nowhere by namecalling.

Carsen said...

please don't comment on this blog anymore

Fair enough, I'll honor your wishes and not return. Hopefully, you'll allow this final comment. Thanks for the discussion while you allowed it.

dolphin said...

I think this thread is as good an example as any about why Warren is not a unifying figure. There is so much that we as a nation can compromise with each other on, but when you have two opposing sides on human rights issues, there really is no compromise. there are plenty of folks on the right who are leaders on less divisive issues that Obama could have selected to show unity.