Friday, April 13, 2007

Who Would Jesus Hate?


So I was playing around on the CNN website earlier today and saw a question that should be posed ot everyone that claims to be a Christian: "If Jesus lived today, what do you think would be his top priority?"

I was stunned, but not at the fact that the overwhelmingly most popular answer was the right one, "poverty", but at the fact that nearly 2,000 of the 12,683 responses were homosexuality and abortion.

Have these people even read the Bible??? Surely, they can point to a place where Jesus even mentioned those things, can they not?

14 comments:

Slartibartfast said...

Not to get all technical and everything, but Christians believe Jesus IS alive today.

Were Jesus walking the earth in his human form, I don't think he'd be a-hatin', but he sure would be having to say, "Go, and sin no more" a whole lot.

Chris Thomas said...

We do believe that He is alive today and I think He's made His "top" priority pretty clear: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind..." and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matt. 22:37 & 39.

Freedonian said...

You're both right in that CNN should have phrased it more like "If he walked the earth today".

So... What does "Loving they neighbor" involve? Did he advocate stewardship over your fellow man? Becoming thy brother's keeper?

Chris Thomas said...

The concept of loving your neighbor is not a complicated one, and yet it's hard to actually do.

I'm not sure I understand how you translated "...what do you think would be his top priority?" into "Who Would Jesus Hate?" Is that your spin? Do you believe Jesus hated people?

Freedonian said...

I'm not sure I understand how you translated "...what do you think would be his top priority?" into "Who Would Jesus Hate?" Is that your spin? Do you believe Jesus hated people?

Not even close. I think a lot of people who claim to speak on His behalf do. I tend to think of them as the "hypocrites" He railed against so often.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23:27-28

Blinders Off said...

Christians-by Maya Angelou


"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean living'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain..
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

karrde said...

Freedonian,

perhaps you misinterpreted the motives of those who said "Jesus would have homosexuality or abortion as his top priority."

After all, they could have interpreted that as raising awareness about the need for acceptance of such things...

I think Jesus wouldn't accept the limiting set of choices offered to him by CNN's pollsters. I think He would talk, as always, about His Kingdom, which is not of this world.

Of course, Jesus might also echo the prophet whose work he claimed to fulfill--Moses had some pretty harsh things to say about homosexual behavior. He could also update some of his teachings to give us a better understanding of how to apply His Word (living and active, sharper than any sword, etc.) to modern dilemmas like abortion, contraception, etc.

Right now, we have the wisdom of spiritual leaders, not the direct Word of the Lord, on those things. The leaders may be wrong, in part or in full. We don't know, and our recourse is usually to either the Spirit of the Age or the Spirit of God. I know which I trust; I also know that I am an imperfect listener on that front.

I, myself, have a hard time associating preaching about homosexual behavior with hate. It can come with or without hate; just as sermons about murder, theft, rape, adultery, fornication, lying, and pride can come with or without hate.

Perhaps you're being judgemental to automatically diagnose hate.

Freedonian said...

Karrde,

Thank you for the thought-provoking comment.

It's possible that it is as you say, and those who voted are voting to raise awareness and increase acceptance--- But I don't know anyone who would describe it under such terms. Those who believe homosexuals should be accepted, including my own bishop, wouldn't make it a top priority.

Moses also had harsh things to say about growing two crops in the same field, so there's a great deal to question about the usefulness of his laws. I do burn a bull every once in a while, but not for sacrifice as he insisted.

I think Jesus wouldn't accept the limiting set of choices offered to him by CNN's pollsters. I think He would talk, as always, about His Kingdom, which is not of this world.

But the Kingdom is the reward for a life lived well. The eternal struggle is defining just what "living well" involves. I don't think He plans to send my gay friends to hell for living as He made them.

I, myself, have a hard time associating preaching about homosexual behavior with hate. It can come with or without hate; just as sermons about murder, theft, rape, adultery, fornication, lying, and pride can come with or without hate.


It CAN come without hate--- But listen to most evangelicals, and it's hard not to find the hatred underneath the surface.

Perhaps you're being judgemental to automatically diagnose hate.

Perhaps. Or perhaps you're being naive. It comes from a good place--- Don't worry. I suspect that since you feel no hatred yourself, you don't see it in others. Perhaps we're both wrong and the answer is somewhere in between.

Freedonian said...

Blinders, I love that poem. Thank you.

karrde said...

You're rather kind, also.

(Actually, I live and move among a large number of evangelical-types; I have only rarely met such hatred. But I'll keep my eyes out for it.)

I know many people who have many opinions about homosexual behavior. I have also observed that most opinions on the subject are unthinking opinions, opinions that can't be altered by reason.

This is equally true of arguments along the lines of "hateful and homophobic" as it is of arguments along the lines of "unnatural and hateful to God."

Perhaps the largest question is whether gays are made that way, and have any choice in their sexual behavior. Admittedly, our culture tells them to follow their feelings, and hypes any indication of any possible genetic source for the behavior.

Since genetic science is in its infancy (we can't switch a gene to turn off, say, heart attacks or obesity--even identification of the genes involved there is still an ongoing process), I will remain a skeptic on that front.

There are also claims, both secular and religious, about people who have altered their sexual preference with outside help. Even among
those who accept and enjoy a level of same-sex attraction
, there are people who live a life of chastity as defined by the strict sexual ethics of the Catholic Church.

Simply put, I suspect the "hate/resist" and the "love/accept" dichotomy is a false dichotomy.

I notice that the abortion part has been left alone, too....what are your thoughts on that?

Freedonian said...

Perhaps the largest question is whether gays are made that way, and have any choice in their sexual behavior. Admittedly, our culture tells them to follow their feelings, and hypes any indication of any possible genetic source for the behavior.

Trying to figure out if it is a learned behavior or a genetic "defect" pre-assumes that there is something wrong with them, rather than that they are living as God made them. It's an effective means for those who wish to not accept their fellow man as God made them to neatly avoid doing so--- "Sorry, we're just trying to find out if you're sick first".

There are also claims, both secular and religious, about people who have altered their sexual preference with outside help.

There is no such thing. You can shame someone into suppressing an urge, but you cannot change who or what they are genuinely attracted to. I'm a heterosexual male; There is nothing anyone could say or do that would change my mind about that. Assuming that gay people can be "changed" preassumes that their love is a lesser one than mine, and I think that's a dangeous road for Christians to travel.

Simply put, I suspect the "hate/resist" and the "love/accept" dichotomy is a false dichotomy.

No, it's not. You either believe in accepting your fellow human beings as God made them, or you do not. Jesus was pretty clear on what side of that particular fence he came down on.

I notice that the abortion part has been left alone, too....what are your thoughts on that?

I believe in a woman's right to choose. Until there is something inside her that can breathe on its own if exposed to the outside world, then the choice is about her body and what she wishes to do with it. Once that mass inside of her is actually viable as a human being, I believe in protecting it.

So I believe in a woman's right to choose. That does put me at odds with my own church--- I'm Catholic too. But what I've found is that the Vatican is increasingly out of touch with the wishes of its parishioners on this and many other matters.

karrde said...

Well, I see that I either take your opinions about the nature of homosexual desires on faith in their correctness, or I take the opinions of those I linked on faith in their correctness.

I will stick with my skepticism about the settled nature of such claims.

I also realize that I failed to mention the other reason I am hesitant to jump on that bandwagon. I know from my studies of church history that there have been many times when the believers of the world espoused certain moral behaviors (often with Scripture to back them up!), yet the believers of the next generation (or century) repudiate that claim. Each such generation had their reason clouded by the spirit of the age. The only advantage that this generation has is that our minds are not clouded by the spirits of past ages; our minds are clouded by the spirit of the current age.

I am a strong proponent of the use of reason to sort out the details of such issues, but I hesitate to elevate the moral sensibilities of any age above the eternal moral sensibilities of Christ, to the best that I understand them. Thus, I fully agree with you when you say that a response to homoseuxal driven by hate and prejudice (the kind of response that ended the artistic career of Oscar Wilde, as well as the scientific career of Alan Turing) is wrong.

However, in knowing that past generations have only seen through a glass darkly, I also note that this generation does also. Thus, I agree with Moses (and a nutty converted Pharisee who took up the name Paul) when they say that homosexual behavior is an abomination before God--like adultery, fornication, lying, thieving, blasphemy, and a host of other sins.

Some men are born with a predilection towards great physical courage, coupled with the ability to do fearsome deeds of violence. They can use that in the role of a sheepdog, protecting society from predators--or they can use it in the role of the wolf, preying on the defenseless.

Likewise, some men are born with a predilection to be attracted to other men. I do not hold that his means I must encourage any sexual behavior that they wish to engage in. (Just as I do not hold that my significant attraction for many members of the fairer sex gives me the right to engage in any sexual act I wish with any of them. Nay, even my enjoyment of their beauty must not engage in lust--and I have that straight from the mouth of Jesus.)

We are all as God made--and some of us are worse, in that we use these gifts to serve the self rather than to serve God.

Freedonian said...

The only advantage that this generation has is that our minds are not clouded by the spirits of past ages; our minds are clouded by the spirit of the current age.

That's certainly true.

However, in knowing that past generations have only seen through a glass darkly, I also note that this generation does also. Thus, I agree with Moses (and a nutty converted Pharisee who took up the name Paul) when they say that homosexual behavior is an abomination before God--like adultery, fornication, lying, thieving, blasphemy, and a host of other sins.

The problem I have with that is that Moses made more than a few laws that made Pat Buchanan sound sane by comparison. I've mentioned a few already.

Whether it was a custom of the time or not, I have a difficult time believing in the moral superiority of a man who claimed to speak for God, yet condemned homosexuality while saying nothing against slaveowners other than an admonition not to mistreat the slaves. That tells me he did not speak for God. God would surely speak out on the inherent cruelty and indignity heaped upon an individual that is owned (And it is cruel whether the slave is beaten or not) before speaking out on the acts of two consenting adults, would He not?

Likewise, some men are born with a predilection to be attracted to other men. I do not hold that his means I must encourage any sexual behavior that they wish to engage in. (Just as I do not hold that my significant attraction for many members of the fairer sex gives me the right to engage in any sexual act I wish with any of them. Nay, even my enjoyment of their beauty must not engage in lust--and I have that straight from the mouth of Jesus.)

The verse you quoted was of adultery. I take it that you are married?

I often find that the greatest challenge of religion is separating the rules set forth by God from the rules set forth by men claiming to speak for Him.A

debbie said...

Jesus IS alive today and I believe that His top priority would be the same as it was when His ministry first began ... "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."