The previous post regarding Marriage Equality was prompted by my brother who shared the link to the article I was rebutting with me on Facebook. He’s also the brother who commented on my previous post. After posting that comment, we discussed the issue further on our Facebook wall. Here is a re-production of the salient points:
Brother: I left you a comment….
You’re gonna love this one hahaha. (Posts link to When Did Idolatry Become Compatible With Christianity? A full analysis and discussion of this article is beyond the scope of this post.)
Me: Oh man… I’ll have to get to this later….
Brother: Yeah you should…and by the way, I feel vindicated in pointing out that I knew all along that Rob Bell was a heretic (it’ll make sense when you read the article) (Beyond the scope of this post.)
Me: I’ll have to suffice it to answer it this way. His premise question “When did it become acceptable for Christians to embrace and endorse homosexual behavior?” is irrelevant for our discussion. I don’t embrace and endorse homosexual behavior any more than I embrace or endorse smoking cigarettes, overeating, smoking pot, or worshiping Buddha or Mohammed. I just don’t use the sword of government as my tool to censure these things. I would rather speak the truth in love.
Brother: Yeah…I know haha. Later on he attacks libertarian political thought from christians…thought you would enjoy that haha
Me: I’ll have to check that out, but I can probably guess what he’ll have to say. He’ll either incorrectly equate Libertarianism with moral License, or he’ll misinterpret it to mean a call for violent rebellion, or he’ll attack the principle of self-ownership as unbiblical, which is invalid – it’s just a misunderstanding of terms, or he’ll try to argue some sort of “freedom only means anything in context of morality”. That’s fine. Character matters, but it can’t be coerced. In the end, he’ll probably slap Romans 13 down and think his point is made having completely ignored Romans 12.
(after reading a bit because I couldn’t resist…) Yeah this is going to require a rebuttal…
Essentially he’s doing the first one, equating Libertarianism with Moral License. Rob Bell is not a Libertarian. He’s a Liberal. Libertarianism is a political ideology only which is only concerned with what the government can do with its power and putting limits on it so as to avoid tyranny – that sword Romans 13 talks about. Libertarianism is not concerned with morality and is not incompatible with moral standards, but rather allows the freedom to choose whether the person will be moral or not. Libertarianism neither requires nor precludes Christians “taking a stand” against homosexuality, so long as we do not do it using the coercive power of the state – that whole sword thing again…. It requires that we do the much more difficult and much more God honoring task of speaking the truth in love, building relationships and discipling.
Brother: Right. He seems to indicate that if you don’t oppose marriage equality by means of government legislation, you are encouraging you neighbor to sin. This is not necessarily the case.
Me: It’s not the case at all. I don’t encourage my neighbor to nail a board to his head just because there isn’t a law against it. If I saw my neighbor doing it, I would tell him to stop, not call the police. And if he got offended, I would try to patiently, lovingly discuss the dangers of doing such a thing so as to help him avoid damaging his own body. Homosexuality is basically the same thing, only the damage is done to the soul.
Your comment (the one he posted on the blog) about a culture descending into moral degradation…. do you not realize that the attack on marriage is not the cause, but the symptom here? The degradation has already been done. We will not turn back the tide by digging our heels in. We can only center our lives around the Gospel and allow it to be the light.
Brother: That is true. But what about the societal impacts allowing such degradation could produce? (anachronistic… we were typing/posting simultaneously as happens in chats…)
From a purely pragmatic viewpoint, the survival of a society depends on certain institutions and societal bonds… (He’s right, though I didn’t address it in this conversation. The survival of society requires that the rights to life, liberty and property be upheld.)
Me: Again, hasn’t the degradation already been done? What can the government do to stop it? Prohibition is an excellent study. You should watch the Ken Burns documentary on it. The whole reason for Prohibition was that the culture had become concerned about the societal degradation caused by alcohol. So they banned it. What happened? Things got worse! Drinking went up! Normal people became criminals overnight. And the true criminals were empowered!
Degradation can only be undone by the Gospel and a Spiritual Great Awakening. We should pray for revival, not fight against flesh and blood.
And pragmatism is not a worthy pursuit. Should we throw out what is right just to do what is “effective”? We should stand for what is right and only do what accords with it. Our concern should not be to preserve society as though that’s a worthy goal. Societies rise and fall. If we want to preserve this Saddam and Gomorrah, we should be the 10 righteous people that will stay God’s hand!
I think it was a good discussion. We got to the heart of some of the key issues.