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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Throwing tantrums part 2

Please read the post "Throwing tantrums" before reading this. You will find it right underneath this post. I went ahead and posted this conversation from the comments section of my last post because I think it is relevant to the discussion. Feel free to weigh in on the discussion.



Pete said...

Aaron,
I have two thoughts on what you posted.
1. I always oppose bills for hate crimes. To hate is a right, no matter how wrong, so the the crime is what we punish. The whole idea weirds me out.
Prosecutor-"I intend to prove that this man killed John.."
Court- [murmurs]
Prosecutor- " and I will also prove that it was a hate crime!"
Court- [ entire crowd gasps and somewhere a baby starts crying ]

Is the murder of the person not enough to put someone behind bars for life. What an insult to the victim!

2. There are two main classes of people who are against these kind of challenges to Christianity- The Simple and the Scared.
The Simple are those who got saved because it sounded good and they want to be on the winning team. They feel good being called a christian and haven't really studied it for themselves and this is the level that is comfortable for them. They stand against anything that challenges their faith because it is inconvenient for them and causes them to have to get out of their comfort zone in order to maintain their faith.
The Scared are those who have studied Christianity and want to believe it so bad that they may go their whole life saying that they do, but have never felt God move in their life because they are unwilling to give up certain sins. These people know that their faith hangs by a thread and are scared of anything that will challenge it, because they are hoping that eventually their life will change based on the fact that they proclaim to be a christian. They are convinced of the reality of God, but what they aren't convinced about is that they will ever have a relationship with him. If someone shows them something that challenges their knowledge then they may stop claiming their christianity and just give up because they know that they will never be able to get themselves to stop sinning with all of the knowledge that they have. Therefore it is easier for these people to simply stamp out anything that may possibly challenge their religious knowledge before it ever meets with their eyes or ears. These people live very tortured lives because they are proud of their knowledge yet are caught in a lie about who they really are/aren't in Christ.

People who truly believe in the Bible and have studied it meet these challenges head on with glee because it usually stands to strengthen their faith.

Wow, I can see my house from on top of this soap box!
Pete

10:09 AM
Delete
Aaron D. Taylor said...

Pete,

Thank you for your comment. I think what you said was well thought out.

Let me give you some food for thought on the hate crime issue. I understand exactly what you are saying and have thought the same things before. I agree that murder is murder and we shouldn't make it a crime to hate someone. Having said that, I do understand the logic behind hate crime legislation. Someone who kills for ideological reasons (like neo-nazis and klansmen) are far more dangerous to society than someone who kills because of a personal vendetta. I think that those who kill just because they hate black people or homosexuals are more likely to kill again for the same reasons. This is why I feel that hate crimes should receive harsher punishement , for the protection of would be targets of hate crime. I think there can be sane standards to determine what is a hate crime and what is not.

Having said all that, I certainly understand those who take your position. That is not what disturbed me about the e-mail from the American Family Association. What disturbed me was the hypocrisy. The same bill that the American Family Association said would supposedly make homosexuals a special class with special rights applied equally to Christians. No concern was displayed in the e-mail about making Christians a special class, only homosexuals. It's like they were saying, "We don't mind if we get special rights. We just don't want anyone else to have them."

Even if you disagree with hate crimes legislation, the question still remains. If Jesus were around today, would He be spending His time bombarding people's e-mails trying to lobby the government against protecting gays?

11 comments:

Pete said...

Aaron,
Wow! Good reply.
First and foremost let me apologize for hijacking the thread with the whole hate crime thing. I couldn't resist.
As far as your thoughts in reply go, I agree that groups that murder out of hate are dangerous. In my view though, those groups are allowed to exist and hate, but murder is against the law. If we punished murder with the severity it deserved, the hate crime part wouldn't be needed, but therein lies the rub.
The hypocrisy is ugly and selfish in this case.
As far as your actual question, I don't like bullying for any reason. It is using people's emotions to get what you want and that's not right. It happens in schoolrooms, back seats, churches, and everywhere else when people are made to comply through emotions. Jesus would certainly condemn it and I do as well (because what I say matters to a lot of folks you know).
Pete

Aaron D. Taylor said...

I think your replies have been excellent on these matters as well. I can definitely see both sides on the hate crimes issue. I wrote the post partially out of guilt knowing that I have actually signed a lot of petitions that could be considered bully petitions. I guess what I am trying to say is that we should be more selective about the issues we identify with.

DoubtingThomas said...

I've lurked at this site for about a month. This is my first post.

I am an atheist. And contrary to what you might have heard, this atheist only eats babies for breakfast on alternate Sundays. (jk) I freely admit that I cannot explain the resurrection.

The reason for the hate-crime legislation is so that the murderer can't get a reduced sentence through plea bargaining or for "putting the victim on trial." And really, why should a murderer who targeted a total stranger, just because the stranger was a drag queen or a Hasidic Jew, get the same sentence as a murderer who knew his victim?

I see a lot of Christian bullying, and I applaud Aaron for speaking up against it. (In fact, I suspect that, if Aaron were not already an evangelist with many frequent-flyer miles, there would be "Christians" questioning his salvation and demanding that he be drummed out of the church.) The whole Terry Schiavo circus left me very angry.

The New Testament says that Satan offered Jesus the chance to rule the whole earth. Jesus said no. Why do Christian think that they should do what Jesus refused to do?

Actually, the Christians sending out these petitions lack the courage of their convictions. Were they really and truly trying to pass laws in conformity with "Christian priciples," they'd demand --

1) that homosexuals be subject to immediate public execution without appeal, not just being denied the right to marry; ditto for Muslims;

2) that slavery of "dark-skinned" people be again legalized -- overnight this would solve the illegal Mexican immigrant problem; and

3) only white, born-again Christians who are members of fundamentalist denominations be given the right to vote and to hold public office.
Atheists, Episcopalians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, pro-choicers, evolutionists, and all Democrats would be disenfranchised.

Pete said...

Are you familiar with the term troll? With extreme comments like that...well you could have hid it a little better. Then maybe I would have bit.

DoubtingThomas said...

One more comment about Christians' trying to silence the Discovery Channel show --

Remember a year or two ago, when that Danish newspaper published that cartoon showing Mohammed, with his turban turned into a bomb? The Muslims jumped up and down and screamed, demanding that the copies of the newspaper be confiscated and that the Danish editors issue an apology to offended Muslims worldwide. When somebody mentioned "freedom of the press," the Muslim answer was "The press does not have freedom when they go against any part of our religion."

The Western press at the time painted the Muslim concerns as baseless, and the angry Muslims as yahoos.

So why are the Muslims who demanded a press blackout yahoos, and the Christians now demanding censorship of the Discovery Channel show not yahoos as well?

(And yes, I am deliberately likening some Christian fundamentalists to Moslem extremists.)

doubtingthomas said...

I am no troll. But I'm sorry, was there a notice that I missed stating that only those in the Lamb's Book of Life could post here?

Or is "Bible Answers for Seekers" a total misnomer, and actually it's just another clubhouse for Fundies?

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Doubting Thomas,

Thank you for reading my blog. You are welcome to post comments at any time. I think it would be helpful for both Christians and atheists to not characterize each other by the extremes on either side. This precludes reasonable discussion and, even worse, it usually leads to a lack of self-reflection, something I think all of us should do from time to time.

toby said...

pete,

great use of blog lingo. i never knew that term until i read your post. i agree, good comments by both you and aaron lately.

thomas,

forgive me if you already know what pete meant when he asked you about the term troll. if you think that he was calling you a troll, type "define: troll" in a google search box and look at the first definition. not trying to belittle you, but i didn't want to assume either way that you knew what he meant.

but if you did know what he meant when he used that term, and you disagree, then i would ask you if you really do believe those 3 points? i would definitely agree with pete in that those statements are rather extreme; so extreme, that one could easily conclude that they were at best very misguided regarding real christian principles and at worst deliberate attempts to start some trouble (see troll).

i think it's cool that you're reading the blog and posting. and no, it's not a club just for christians. but for pete's sake (no pun intended), put a little thought into your posts.

as a disclaimer, i will say that there may be some self-proclaimed christians out there who fit the profile that you presented in your post. but please understand that these people are misguided. if you have read the new testament, surely you would know values and morals of jesus do not match up with the behavior of these people.

by the way, i'd like to throw out something that i got from a friend. he was telling me how he found a niche in certain evangelical circles because they were the first group of people he had ever hung out with that admitted to being screwed up and hypocrites. why does that matter? well, i'm no exception. you may think that i think i have it all together, but we both know that's not right. a christian view is that no one has it all together and that's why we need jesus as a savior.

maybe i've said enough. i hope that you will continue to read and post. if you are truly seeking christ, you won't be disappointed by what you find. i highly recommend the bible as well as a way to get to know about jesus and christianity; seriously, it's not a joke or sarcastic; it's a great place to start.

toby said...

thomas,

i do agree with the point that you make about freedom of the press regarding islam and christianity. there should not be a double standard for press regarding the two religions.

both aaron and pete had some good ideas with regard to the christians who were so vehemently against the documentary airing. but what they were getting at was that these people are basically yahoos, embarrassing to thoughtful christians and not secure in their faith.

ps i may have partly misread your first post. obviously there's plenty of people out there who say they are acting as christians who are not acting very christ-like. but even for those people, i doubt they want any or all of the three terms you mentioned.

marhaban said...

This might be a little off topic...

When I was in FCA in college, it seemed like everytime anyone recieved an email calling Christians to battle per say, (prayer in chools, bills in congress, etc.) there would be panicked fowards galore.

One guy would consistently speak up with links to snopes and other sites to discredit the panic. I remember that he once suggested that as Christians we should be a little less gullible, do a little more research, and double check the facts more often. If we could do this, maybe more people would take our faith seriously.

In regards to Christian bullying, I personally think that right-wing propoganda goes out of its way to twist things into a religious issue. I don't really associate them with Christianity.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Thank you Marhaban for your comments. Welcome to the discussion. I hope to hear from you more.