When demonization is directed at various public officials, such as Obama and Clinton, it is clear that one feels threatened by their activity or, as in Clinton’s case, potential activity as President. It is always about fear of change or a threat to the current behavioral regimen that is threatened by realignment of values. A Progressive approach to life and living gives rise to new ways of thinking and being. It often forces us to look at our ways of thinking and our prejudices, some of which were formed by legislative and religious bodies no longer as influential amongst the general populace. The social pendulum appears to be seriously swinging toward a liberal POV and that is threatening to the many who are shaken by change as if the very ground they walk on is trembling. Change is inevitable. The frequency, duration and intensity of change is what distinguishes one kind of change from another. There is a tectonic shift going on among the social plates known to be stable in our past but now taking on the current momentum stirred up by the desire to drop religious pretenses to piety through social behavior. Rules of order and appropriate behavior are now encouraged to be innate rather than external as religion and certain philosophical approaches are questioned as to their veracity, value and ultimate effectiveness.
Voddie is very articulate, learned, and persuasive. So, why is this issue an issue for the church? I know of no one who advocates the extinction of his, or anyone else’s, thoughts on homosexuality as long as they remain within the confines of the church community. Additionally, I know of no Christian heterosexual marriage hurt by the concept of someone’s homosexuality. It is a useless issue for the church to fight. For the non-believer it matters little what Christians believe. As long as the political system allows for religions to express their concerns they have a right to protest and preach their beliefs, even influence the political system, but not impose their beliefs on the electorate. So, go ahead and castigate the homosexual, claim that what they do is sin. That is your prerogative. But do not expect me, or anyone else to live under the hammer of forceful compliance.
Truth is truth no matter who discovers it. I am not opposed to any and all wisdom produced by any group, thought, or philosophy. For example, there is much to be gained from the wisdom contained in Scripture. But, where I come up short with recognition of the Scripture as God’s Word has to do with its inherent claim that it is God’s Word with little proof other than subjective deductions. The fact that it is a “reliable historical document” or that it has been written over a span of thousands of years by many authors, does not make a case for the credibility of its inherent message. The problem rests in the very words of the Word and that is, its claim to be God’s Word and, with no acknowledgment that there might be truth apart from the Word that will “save”, enhance, or fulfill a person’s life.
I am for speculation on any topic as I believe it opens new doors for innovative thinking and product development. But to make a claim that the only truth worth considering rests in the hands of those who believe in the Word is, in my opinion, the height of arrogance and undermines personal inquiry apart from Christianity. Most Christians have no idea what the rest of the world believes or thinks, let alone why they believe as they do. I contend that the only reason most Christians are Christians is that they were born into a predominately Christian country, one that has “privileged” Christians over other faiths. ([Christian “nationhood”] is being debated more frequently in U.S. courts to the benefit of many who do not claim to be Christian.)
“It was my luck to have a few good teachers in my youth, men and women who came into my dark head and lit a match.”
Yann Martel, “Life of Pi”
“If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? …If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? … If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? … and if he has spoken, why is the world not convinced?”
-Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
I am amused and somewhat confounded that when one contests a point-of-view and takes it to its end, the person who finds themselves cornered and apparently without the wherewithal to respond to questions and comments speaks out with a vengeance and declares the other person to lack civility and is a fool to boot.
My opinion about such things is that our educational system has not fulfilled its rightful role. Those who would call out another in a not-too-subtle manner as a “fool” etc., in most cases, have not been given a stage to present their thoughts for peer review. It is as if you can believe what you want as long as you are passionate enough about it to remain convinced. I find that approach to education wrong headed. Everyone should be given the opportunity to defend their position before their peers while having a person of authority, an instructor, also chime in with their years of experience and maturity. Are we too weak to call out defective thinking because it might hurt the little ones in their social interactions? Well, welcome to the real world.
Higher education is a place for trying out new ideas and getting the kind of feedback that benefits the presenter, shapes the message, even gives reason to re-think one’s position. I find that most of those who do not allow themselves to be challenged in a place of advanced education are unable to handle the emotional baggage that comes with being “outed” for poor style, as in name-calling.
For some time I have observed security to be described in terms of either black or white. Feeling safe is a right most contend they have been given while feeling unsafe is a threat few desire. What we think about is either safe or not safe. Sometimes it is in between. We gravitate toward those places and thoughts that make us feel safe and we do our best to avoid the discomfort of little or no security.
Many ideas have come to us from our parents and those we respect. These ideas become “grafted” into our unconscious. Assumptions about these truths are made and we live, for a time, without questioning them. The existence of Santa Claus and his reindeer are one of the first “facts” we are told. And, for most of us, that reality was as sure as anything else we were told. That is, until someone, perhaps an older sibling said there was no Santa Claus. That revealing statement became a troubling thought in our minds. At first, we denied it. Couldn’t be. No, Mom and Dad would not tell a lie. But then little things began to gnaw at our suspicions causing them to open like a festering wound that would not heal. The truth was unwelcome and inconvenient.
Truth works like that especially when a respected person, usually a parent, shares the “truth” with you. It becomes very difficult to give up the “truth” when it comes from such high authority as an all-knowing and invincible parent. Giving up Santa is like giving up a parent, a very difficult proposition.
Given the fact that other cultures have alternative Santa Claus figures that best fit their belief systems, one begins to wonder if a universal truth exists. There is no doubt that many believe a universal truth to be true but proof is very difficult to produce. There is no proof. One accepts Santa Claus stories on faith since the persons promoting the idea have a credible role as parent or adult.
If I were born in Utah chances are I would be a Mormon. If I was raised in Egypt I would be Islamic, and if I was born in Thailand I would probably be convinced that Buddhism was my religious identity. Much of our religious identity has to do with where we were born and to whom we were born.
So, when someone questions religious identities people begin to feel insecure. Their protection and security is threatened. People fear there might be a mistake and so to protect their beliefs they tend to lash out in defense. Some religions will even threaten anyone who believes differently. Some even threaten death. People are in danger of losing their reputation or life over a belief that they might be considered an atheist or unbeliever. Many pin their hopes on religion to assist them through some of the darkest things people experience. It doesn’t matter where their hope comes from it just matters that they are given something to believe. If you don’t believe as others do some begin to crush those ideas and exclude them from being part of the group. One can feel secure while observing most everyone else believing as they do while those who believe otherwise are made to feel outside the group. It is as if the person who does not believe as others do is made to pay for their independent thinking. Serious questions are raised that cause others to feel insecure. Better to shut down those who question the “truth” than to find cogent arguments to preserve a way of living no matter how little proof exists. As a result, one feels secure because the person who has legitimate questions is thought to have been vanquished. No proof, only a need to find security. Don’t prove me wrong, don’t even question. After all, if you have faith you have all you need. Or, do you?