LOVE, TRUTH AND MARTYRDOM

Stoning of St Stephen (circa 1660) by Pietro da Cortona (from here)

Over the years I have noticed something mildly distressing. I receive the most compliments when I point my readers to other people’s blogs. So it is I have begun to understand why some writers become critics. Even if we cannot think and write as well as others, we can still criticize and receive praise for doing it. We just have to select better writers.  So here are some pointers.

On Friday, I read this in the newspaper.

Conservatives have come to expect that they might be protested, ridiculed and disinvited when they venture to speak on college campuses, but the penalty for telling students something they disagree with has taken a more violent turn.

Buttressed by an ideology that views “hate speech” as violence and its suppression as self-defense, students increasingly are resorting to the destruction of property and assault to keep conservative speakers quiet. (continued here)

That news article went on to discuss an editorial in , Free speech is not violated at Wellesley. That editorial contains this self-contradictory paragraph.

This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted. If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others, then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions. It is important to note that our preference for education over beration regards students who may have not been given the chance to learn. Rather, we are not referring to those who have already had the incentive to learn and should have taken the opportunities to do so. Paid professional lecturers and politicians are among those who should know better. (from here)

Fortunately, many (like that article in the newspaper) have begun pointing out that this excuse for hostility is just that, an excuse.

So how does that relate to some blogs I have read lately?

dpatrickcollins has written a couple of my favorite posts on this subject: A Social Justice Warrior Meets Jesus and A Social Justice Warrior Meets Jesus, Part 2. These posts provide a fictional account of irate students stifling free speech. Unfortunately, reality is stranger than fiction. posts stresses the inability of student Social Justice Warriors to argue their case, but this on only partly true. Because their instructors have taught them to be almost totally intolerant of  “hate speech”, few students have practiced debating those they self-righteously hate. Yet there are those who have been, and we kid ourselves when we forget that. Therefore, when we read ‘s posts, we must not forget that the students protesting “hate speech” actually do possess a coherent ideology. However, because the mainstream news media supports and does not challenge the social justice ideology, relatively few students think deeply about it. So relatively few have the capacity to articulate what they believe. Most have been indoctrinated, but only a few have been educated.

From where did the social justice ideology originate? Oddly enough, I think it has its roots in a distorted version of Christianity. The Social Justice Warriors have made a fetish out being “nice”. It is love, love, love…. The great sin is offending or hurting anybody’s feelings. After all — goes the thought — Jesus would not do that. Jesus is not hateful. Jesus would not make anyone unhappy.

Are the Social Justice Warriors wrong? I think so. Jesus hated sin, and He angrily criticized the conduct of those He saw sinning. Rather than be silenced, He died on a cross.

Yet what is true Christianity? I have some definite ideas, but I don’t claim to have the one true vision of TRUTH that stands out above all the others. What is the problem? How would we know the TRUTH? We can each point to Jesus, but we don’t all see the same Jesus.

Some will say the TRUTH is the Bible. However, it is not quite that simple. We have to “interpret” the Bible. Consider, for example, Subversive Jesus by Mel Wild. reminds us that God is love. stresses how we must set aside our excuses and strive to love God and each other. Subversive Jesus (and the posts to which it links) focuses upon the fact God is love, and He expects us to be loving.

Does deal with the subject of God’s hatred for sin? That Jesus was not just about how we are supposed to be nice to each other? Yes. God said what?! – Part One begins a six-part series on the wrathful God of the Old Testament. However, does not accept what he calls the hidden underbelly of Scripture at face value. Instead, what his six-part series provides is a justification for interpreting scripture in a particular way.

In the series that begins with God said what?! – Part One, uses as his example God’s command to the Hebrews to exterminate the Canaanites. He quotes this verse.

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. (Deut. 7:1-2 NKJV) (from here)

finds such statements from the God of the Old Testament incompatible with the Jesus of the New Testament. So he is anxious to resolve the conflict, and he has adopted a method of biblical exegesis that allows Him to do that.

Is ‘s method of biblical exegesis correct? He has put much thought into it, but I have my doubts.  When I read Romans 9:14-29, it occurs to me I am no position either to judge God or Scripture. Like I cannot help but wonder why God did some of the things He did. Nevertheless, God is the potter. In His Hands, we are only clay. So I am somewhat more inclined to swallow my pride, accept my ignorance, and be thankful God has chosen to be merciful to me.

Would agree with the student Social Justice Warriors? No. What ‘s posts illustrate is how we can develop a scheme for interpreting scripture that leaves us considerable leeway. As explains, each of us seek ways around the complex difficulties the Bible poses. Nonetheless, there is a profound difference between and the Social Justice Warriors.  Whereas questions God’s call for violence in the Old Testament, the Social Justice Warriors seek an excuse for unjustified violence. What the Social Justice Warriors are looking for is anybody guess, but ‘s posts call for us to seek the narrow gate.

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15 thoughts on “LOVE, TRUTH AND MARTYRDOM

  1. Hey Tom. Thanks for the links to my posts. 🙂 No, I would not agree at all with the “Social Justice Warriors” at all. Their “justice” is rather hypocritical. It’s really just the flip side of what they’re against, ironically enough. Just another angry mob, only the flipside of what they’re against.

    To clarify my position, Jesus was more critical of the religious people who thought they were behaving themselves than the sinners. He never got angry with sinners. He showed them grace and forgiveness. The Pharisees did not receive grace from Jesus because they didn’t give any. That should be instructive to us. The heart is what matters.

    Taking up our cross is living in other-centered, self-giving love instead of fear and self-interest (our default). That’s anything but easy! It’s a real death to our narcissistic ego and self-preservation. Anyone can be violent and angry, but they just end up being hypocritical. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). A coward can be angry and rage against what he or she disagrees with in a crowd. But it takes real courage to go against the crowd and follow Jesus and love our enemies, etc. The whole of Scripture is summed up in loving God and loving others as our ourselves, which is what all my posts are really about. Nothing takes more courage than this.

    Thanks again. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Tom! I will have to check out the other ones you link too as well. Funny I was just reading about the free speech issue at Wellesley this morning too and was thinking how to make a post of of it. Truly some unsettling times we live in.

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    1. Tom I meant to add that while a distorted version of Christianity probably plays a role in the birth of the SJW, I believe it involves more the need for control and the fear of being wrong more than anything else. Ironically though the atheist ones point to Jesus saying this is what he would do even though they don’t believe in him and the religious ones point away from the things Jesus actually said and towards things they wish he had.

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  3. Interesting post, Tom! It occurs to me you’ve managed to capture the entire essence of my life, trying to walk between the Lion and the Lamb, embracing all the paradoxes within faith. Love is a good thing for example, but it can also be kind of scary and fierce, in the best way, but sure to hurt someone’s feelings.

    We people can be so linear in our thinking, we like things cut and dry and clearly labeled, so there is never any moral ambiguity and we don’t have to actually think. You see this in politics too, we like a clearly defined Left and Right, so you throw something like a Rino into the mix and it throws us for a loop. So people like the SJW, pretty foolish and misguided, and yet they have a group in opposition to them, the red pills, the far right, that is wrapped up in a lot of white supremacy and farther perversions of faith, almost like a caricature of what the SJW claim to be against. In truth however you look at the way these two groups think, they are just like flip sides of the same coin,extreme hysterics actually sharing the same kind of ideology and flawed thinking.

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    1. @insanitybytes22

      I am grateful you found what I wrote meaningful.

      I agree about the similarities between extreme groups. As a practical matter, the labels “left” and “right” don’t mean anything. We use these labels as if as if they do mean something, but the differences between the Nazis and Communists were minuscule. Both sought unrestrained power. Both sought to exterminate their enemies. Both killed millions of people for no good reason.

      There are basically two ideas about government.
      1. Government exists to protect the rights of the people from each other.
      2. Government exists to force the people to accept some sort of Utopia.

      For most of human history those with the capacity to do so have abused the power of government to try to create their own Utopias. Such people love themselves, but they don’t care very much about their neighbors. When we love our neighbors as we love our self, we respect the rights of our neighbors.

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  4. The. way I judge protesters is whether. they wear a mask or show their face on an issue. And if they demonstrate peacrfully without intent to destroy.

    There are aways two sides to every issue that need to be heard before you judge or decide to protest.
    Anyone who wears a mask will muffle both his sound snd his cause in my opinion.

    No one wore a mask in the Bible to demonstrate their love, hate, or martyerdom
    that I can recall

    Same as truth needs no mask.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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