The Politics of Religion (Responses to Hoenig/MisterE)

Now, I must say that I was very surprised by the response I received after penning, “The Politics of Religion.” First and foremost:

Amusingly, Billy once again uses the old “I’ll respond in full when I have more time,” statement, which seems to be a pattern. – Carol Hoenig

I’m actually quite confused, considering the fact that I typically do respond (I’m doing so right now, aren’t I?). At any rate, there were some excellent comments and intriguing dialog that went along with my words. I find it so intriguing that I am attacked most often (by liberals) when I claim that those with differences should get along and make an effort to better understand one another.

For some reason, this just doesn’t sit well with them. Consider Nick’s words after reading that Nina, a girl I mentioned in my previous entry, is a lesbian who I spend a great deal of time with:

You may be swimming in De Nile here… the overwhelming majority of Christians would frown significantly on your friendship with Nina… unless of course, you are marketing your wares to her (i.e., evangelizing). – Nick

Actually, it was quite interesting to see Nina’s reaction when she read the comments present in my piece. She said, “You’re right” and we discussed how absurd it is that individuals choose to separate themselves from those who are different from them. And, just for the record: I don’t go around demanding that each person listen to my faith. Rather, I try to do my best to live the way God would want me to. After all, this is the best testament.

Do I discuss Christ with the people who cross my path? Absolutely, mostly when the topic arises or when someone asks me to weigh in. I do believe it is important to share my faith, but I am not sure that those who do not share it should criticize me without knowing exactly how I feel and the methods my which I operate. It’s a bit unfair, no?

I also find it increasingly amusing when people look at Christians and instantly assume that we all share some sort of “bigotry.” If you take a trip on over the “The Politics of Religion” and read the article and comments, you’ll see me – a conservative – remaining radically open to those who embrace different ideals or who live different lifestyle than my own. Then, you’ll see Nick and Carol (and MisterE of course) – liberals, ripping me to shreds, claiming that my friendship with Nina is based on evangelizing her (which it simply is not) and avoiding any and all of the ideals that I’ve always thought the liberal heart wholeheartedly embraced.

But, that’s their choice. I respect their inability to accept my openness, but I’m not sure that I understand it.

Then, in classic proof-text style, Carol provides verses and utilizes them to try and derail my outlook on life. She uses 2 Corinthians 6:14, but neglects to acknowledge the verse’s context. Here is only one brief commentary on the verse:

Certainly not all contact with unbelievers is excluded. Paul corrects just such a misconstrual in 1 Corinthians, when he tells the church that to have nothing to do with immoral people would necessitate removing themselves entirely from the world (5:9-10). It is a particular kind of contact with unbelievers that is in view. What kind, though? Paul’s quotation of Isaiah 52:11, where Israel is commanded to come out from them and be separate suggests contact of a compromising nature (v. 17).

We then branch into the follow commentary:

What is curious is that Paul contradicts the teachings of Jesus, who went among the sinners. (Of course, everyone was a sinner compared to Jesus, if one takes Scripture as gospel.) Nevertheless, if Christians are given the power of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t they be able to go among the sinners as well? – Carol Hoenig

There are a number of problems with this statement. First, Paul never contradicted Christ (considering the full context of the verse, not simply the proof-text that was presented). Second, even if he had made such a statement (which I do not believe he did in the way Carol has utilized it), Christ was sinless. The Holy Spirit never claimed to make humans sinless, rather it connects us to our Creator and guides us. At the end of the day, we are still sinful, so comparing our own ability to act wholeheartedly as Christ did (in every single way) isn’t really valid, although we can try our hardest to be like Him (which, as Christians, we should). But, that’s a conversation for a more elongated entry. For now, I wanted to clear the air on the primary misconceptions.

In addition, if Billy were to follow the Bible’s instruction, he must witness to Nina and anyone else who crosses his path: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. –2 Timothy 4:2.

I’ve already addressed this above.

And then there’s MisterE:

This is cherry picking faith, deciding what you think is true and what isn’t based upon what you REALLY want to believe. You if you want to believe that women who act independently and make decisions for themselves are bad, then you’ll find reasons to validity that using the bible or whatever. – MisterE

Actually, this was cherry-picking nothin’. It’s my philosophy – always has been. I think that women are human beings – that they are equal to men. Please do show me verses (with context) in the New Testament that show us that women are “bad” when they make decisions for themselves or act independently. Please, enlighten me.

In a sense, Billy is right, religion doesn’t make people do anything except wander aimlessly and question nothing. – MisterE

No comment.

It is when people use the bible as ‘evidence’ for ridiculous mystical claims such as; God created human life, homosexuality is wrong, abortion is wrong but the death penalty is great, and such that causes our problems. – MisterE

It’s funny. Eleven simultaneously existing dimensions and an explosion resulting from “nothing” that led to the creation of human beings complete with complexities such as the brain and heart seems a bit more mystical to me, but I digress. Both abortion and the death penalty are horrific. So, where’s your argument?

If were were all brought up to think critically and logically there might be no ban on abortion, ban on gay marriage, extermination of Jews, invasions in Iraq for oil, controversy over sex, problems with stem cells, and other ridiculous dents in progress. – MisterE

It’s ironic how you’ve paired apples, oranges and watermelons into a grouping of “ridiculous dents in progress.” Abortion is legalized genocide – on both life and the potentialities that stem from it. Stem cells are great – as long as scientists quit touting the “benefits” of embryonic cells. It’s widely known that these are the most ineffective. Anyone who studies the subject and comes away thinking that embryonic cells are the most applicable clearly hasn’t exercised any of his or her critical thinking skills. Clearly.

Of course, there is no way to know that because most people are not brought up to think critically and logically, most people are raised religiously, so the world may never know, as Nick says, what would have happened if we had taken the left instead of the right at the fork in the road. – MisterE

Do you have evidence to back up these claims, since you’re clearly such a (fair-minded) and critical thinker?

That’s all for now. I suppose responding to every detail would be pretty redundant. But, please do read for yourself.

“Enjoy.” - MisterE