Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Give Evangelicals a break

I am a former born-again Christian, now an atheist. I don't believe that Christianity is true and some of Jesus' advice is bad -- outright bad advice.

But I commend Evangelicals. I have fond memories of most of my experiences as a Christian (the worst part was really the anguish of struggling to believe, and that ended when I stepped away from the Faith).

Christians, especially Evangelical Christians are in general some of the most loving and generous people on the face of the planet. I also believe they are, in the main, extremely tolerant.

Some people find the Gospel to be irritating and maybe even a little boring. They find the professed certainty and judgementalism of committed Christians appalling. Christian-haters are entitled to such uncharitable feelings. After all, they are just feelings and don't by themselves do harm.

I feel sorry for people who let other people's fantasies bother them. Religious fantasies about Jesus and God and heaven might bother so-called liberals (what's liberal about despising Christians? Not much). Christians probably find some sexual fantasies repulsive. Everyone is entitled to feel that way about other people's myths. I don't mean to disparage genuine revulsion to other people's "happy thoughts". But I also feel sorry for people who let that innate revulsion eat at them or cause them distress.

For example, there's something about the irrationality of Christian myth that bugs me. But I don't let it distress me. If it makes some people happy, I don't want to take that away from them. I am not going to church anytime soon, but I am not trying to shut down any churches.

Similarly, I don't pass judgement on homsexuality. I see no rational basis for denigrating it in any way, but I feel an innate revulsion to it (well, to male-male acts mostly). I don't know why that is, but I would be lying to deny it. Still, why should my revulsion become a source of distress for me. No one is telling me I have to like it, just that my revulsion is not the basis for prohibiting somebody else's "happy thoughts".

To my way of thinking, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs about the cosmos -- and that includes the belief that all other belief systems are crap. I don't think you can really be said to have faith unless you believe that all contradictory faiths are crap. The tolerance required by the First Amendment is not that we pretend not to have faith, but that we don't take any action against all those others who do not share our particular beliefs.

You see, no one can make me believe in God. Nor can I make someone stop. Nor would I care to, especially since, as I said, I have fond memories of being a Christian. Christianity is a really blissful religion. It makes a lot of people really happy -- genuinely happy. And that's a pretty good thing.

My faith is now the faith of Liberty. I believe that letting other people act, talk, believe and own property as they wish is the profoundest rule we all should obey.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Tolerant is not something any true Christian should ever be of anything they believe to be wrong. Forgiving is something they should do as many times as a person needs it. There is a big difference between forgiveness and tolerance, but society seems to get them confused. As well, though you may not be tolerant of a certain behavior, you will remain kind, giving, and loving toward that person despite anything wrong they do.

Those who practice what the Bible teaches, do not believe in continuing to preach the gospel to those who reject it. So we should never be annoying or invasive with our message. We should share it out of love and concern for the individual and if they are uninterested, then we simply continue to be loving, friendly and forgiving.

As for each person having their own set of beliefs, regardless of what it is so long as its cloaked in religion, that is where chaos unsues and countries fall apart. Liberals would have us believe that the constitution allows anyone the freedom to do anything if its religious in nature. That is untrue. Every society must have a base set of laws, morales, and principles as a foundation. Liberals and Libertarians want to throw all those out. The problem then becomes, how to deal with religious beliefs that are in direct contradiction. The radical Islamists believe they should kill us. Since that is their religion we cannot argue, and must allow them to kill us...that is if we are to believe that all religious beliefs are to be respected.

But they cannot be. There is such a thing as right and wrong, and Christians will never be tolerant of the wrong, and will always work diligently to teach others what the God of the Bible expects and demands. For that, we will always be hated. But we understand that sin exists for all mankind (Christian and non-Christian), and always will. Which is why we forgive, and practice acceptance of others, but not tolerance of their sinful behavior.