I figured I would head off some of the key criticisms that many Christians will have of me. Having spent more than half of my life either in the Christian blogosphere or social media spaces, I have pretty much heard them all.
- You are a heretic. Understood. This is probably true. So are you. Have a nice day.
- Why do you want to kill babies. Theologically, I believe the most compelling evidence is that life begins at first breath, so technically they aren’t babies when in the womb. Scientifically, if we have to draw a line at when a fetus becomes a “baby,” viability isn’t a bad one, as that’s about when brain development kicks in as well. And in a non-theocracy, we can’t just go with one religion’s beliefs to make policy. Different religions, and those of no religion at all, differ on when a fetus becomes a “life.” So why not let people make their own moral decisions, especially when you, evangelical, are making a Biblically weak case that wasn’t even your tradition’s position until you weren’t allowed to segregate your schools anymore.
- You’re wrong. I will never convince you otherwise, so I won’t even try. And the reason I don’t have comments on this blog is because I really don’t need trolls to block like I would have to do on social media.
- You’re making Jesus look bad by criticizing the church. Sorry, honey, but that would be the church that is making Jesus look bad. I’m just calling balls and strikes.
- Didn’t Jesus talk about church unity? True! I also assumed that he didn’t expect that the church would decide to ignore his comments about not taking up the sword, turning the other cheek, setting up an alternate kingdom to Caesar’s, and loving everyone – no exceptions. Not sure what to do with that one. Maybe the people ignoring these teachings aren’t really the church and therefore there’s no unity needed?
- You’re a sinner because you affirm the LGBTQIA+ community without making them change. I think Jesus reiterated that the Greatest Commandment was to “love God” and “love your neighbor.” This is what I’m seeking to do here. Oh, and I think a) even if you take the Bible “literally,” the evidence for condemning LGBTQIA+ people is weak and misunderstood, and b) it is a folly to take the cultural worldview of 2000+ year-old society and make that normative for all time. If you don’t agree, then I hope all the hat-wearing men and women without head coverings at church on Sunday repent quickly. And don’t even get me started about shrimp. You would be much better served trying to find out what the core values of God as revealed in Jesus are, and, shocker, those kind of boil down to “love God” and “love your neighbor.”
- But the Bible is clear! The Bible is about as clear as the California sky in the summer and fall due to its annual global warming-driven fires. It evolves and contradicts itself and it a delightful mess. It’s the voices of people who knew God through time, filtered through their particular cultural norms. So don’t even try to proof-text me, because I don’t read the Bible that way. It’s nonsensical.
- You’re going to hell. Probably not. Neither are you. First of all, Gehenna was generally understood in Jesus’ time as a place more like the Catholic concept of purgatory, where people would go to get cleansed of their sins for up to a year. Second of all, our modern conception of hell was much more informed by Greek philosophy and Dante than Jesus. Third of all, the Bible is hilariously universalist if you dig into it. Even Paul says that “as all died in Adam” so “all will be made alive in Christ.” And people like to quote Paul about sending people to hell, a lot! Apparently even he didn’t believe it. Finally, in Revelation, Jesus in John the Revelator’s vision talked about making “all things new,” not just some of them.
I will add to this list if I hear something new that feels particularly relevant. Which I’m sure at some point someone will provide.