Friday, July 27, 2012

Four Ridiculous Myths Perpetuated By Popular Culture

1. Disapproval equals hate.

Publicly express your disapproval of nearly anything and you will quickly be chastised for your “hatemongering”. However, disapproval and hate are really entirely different things. Growing up I found many activities that met with my parents’ disapproval – lying, stealing, cheating, etc. Were I to engage in one of these activities, then my parents would have very quickly expressed that disapproval in whatever ways they felt would have the most lasting impact. However, their disapproval of an activity in no way indicated that they hated me. Quite the opposite really! If they did not LOVE me, then they would not care enough to correct me.

2. The only thing that’s wrong is to say something is wrong. An intolerant voice cannot be tolerated.

Nothing seems to bring about a more rapid barrage of venomous words, condescension, and generally hate-filled speech than expressing an “intolerant” view of the lifestyle or beliefs of others. Just ask Kirk Cameron or Dan Cathy. It is unbelievably hypocritical for preachers of absolute tolerance to be so unwilling to tolerate the voicing of an opposing point of view.

3. Sexual orientation, like race and gender, is not a choice. It is simply how you are born and cannot be changed.

That is certainly not what the Bible teaches. You’ve often heard 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 invoked in discussions about the sinfulness of homosexuality. That passage does list homosexuality as being among the sins that would keep you from the kingdom of God. However the best part of the passage comes in the next verse, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Some of the Corinthians had formerly been homosexuals, but CHANGED when they were washed, sanctified, and justified.

There are countless people who have changed their sexual orientation over the years – both ways. It can be done. The truth becomes obscured when the definition of terms in the discussion puts sexual orientation in the same class as race and gender.

4. It is inconsiderate, arrogant, and hateful to seek to change someone else’s sincerely held beliefs.

Recently I read a blog comment by an individual identified as “Phrenia” that said,

“…sometimes I just don't see how it is any of our business and if we don't like it, we should stick to not doing it ourselves. I don't understand this need to control other people and their personal preferences/beliefs/opinions. The worst part is that when we are being intolerant of others for something, it's completely selfish. We don't stop to think, "Oh, this is their belief and this belief is true for them" but instead we think "Their belief is not right. Ours is. Their belief should mirror ours". It's like we don't stop to think that as strongly we believe in our belief, they believe in theirs.”
Phrenia’s comments reflect the views of a great many people. What this poster, and many like-minded people, fail to consider is that if I sincerely believe that another person’s lifestyle will result in their soul being lost, then abstaining from trying to change them is the most inconsiderate, arrogant, and hateful thing that I could possibly do! It would imply that I don’t think they are worth saving, or even worse, that I don’t want them to be saved. The effort to change the thinking of others is not an attempt to “control” them, but rather it is an effort to save them.

Of course, this should be done in a loving and civil way. It should be done without malice or haughtiness. But it should be done. G.K. Chesterton famously said, “Tolerance is the virtue of people who do not believe in anything.” Or to put it another way, to believe that all beliefs are equal is to hold no beliefs at all.

These discussions frequently remind me of Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” It seems to me that our popular culture has done a great deal of mislabeling evil and good.