Yesterday, a friend of mine asked for my input on a discussion taking place on Facebook. Someone had written a note about the Phil Robertson debate and asked for input from those tagged in the post (with a wide range of worldviews). The following is a private message I sent to my friend detailing my thoughts on what I saw in the comments and in the note itself. I asked for permission to edit the names out, but the heart of the message remains in tact.
So, having read all the comments, it’s very sad to see what happens when people are given free reign to criticize Christianity. I see in the discussion exactly what Paul writes in Romans 1: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Most of the people who commented held to a progressive view when it comes to homosexuality. In other words, the way for mankind to progress in the best possible way, includes the acceptance of homosexuality as a lifestyle. Throw in some twisting the words of Phil Robertson- which, to be fair, is a result (in part) of not knowing what Christians believe or about what the Bible teaches, and you have the perfect concoction for false statements. This is a gospel issue…without the gospel in view, unbelievers will say that Christianity claims homosexuals are sinners who are despised by God (and homosexuals, it seems, are believed to be painted in a worse light than other sinners).
There are logical fallacies all over the place in the comments, but keep in mind, the natural man (unconverted) cannot understand the things of God, they are “foolishness to him” (1 Cor. 1), Therefore, there is no way you could convert someone by logical means. The Spirit uses truth and reason, but, as the Theologian Francis Turretin writes, faith is above reason, not contrary to it.
That being said, here are some logical issues I found in the comments. There were three overarching problems I encountered…you might even call them “false presuppositions.”
1) The “straw-man” error: One guy criticized a blogger for being a tea party member who was just as offended with Christian persecution “in a grocery store” as much a Christian being persecuted in “North Korea.” Other people were characterizing Christians as being either loving (accepting of gay rights) or bigots (stating homosexual behavior is a sin). However, they never mentioned how in order to be those kind of Christians (accepting of homosexual activity), they’d have to negate the Bible. Their definition of a Christian appears to be derived from anywhere but the Bible. Hence, why I wrote awhile back (in my notes) that the greatest misconception is not who is Jesus, but what is a Christian. They have no idea what a Christian is.
There was a woman who constantly called you a, “bigot” and other people were calling “some” Christians out for “hate speech” by quoting a book that is an “antique (the Bible)” So, taking their beliefs into account, forget about reading the constitution, or Charles Dickens, or Plato or Aristotle, you know? Previous societies weren’t as valuable as we are. Their writings are just “antiques,” clearly we have nothing to learn from them…we all know that logic is wrong. Of course, they wouldn’t denounce those books, just the “religious” ones. Clearly, we can’t know if there is a god, they might say….but they can know what love is and that homosexuality is right, that makes sense! Not really.
The argument usually follows that the Bible is primitive…I’ll complete that thought under point three.
One final note on this subject: Where do they get this stuff (various name callings, attacking the Bible)? Bill Maher?
2) Elitist thinking stuck out like a sore thumb. [The blogger] said that Christians are not “with the times”- which is a progressive mentality, that comes straight out of enlightenment thinking. Do we really know better with each generation? You know, I think Hitler and Stalin knew better than the generations before them. Osama Bin Laden, boy, he really knew how to get attention! See the silliness? They might say that those were mistakes and we learned from them, but not all humanity is “bad” like them….hold on, there’s a pattern developing!
How do we know if we progress to a better state with each generation? This leads us to point number 3, and the key issue…
3) The absence of standards. How can they speak of “love,” when they don’t have a standard for love? The Apostle John writes, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8)” If God loves mankind and desires their salvation, (1 Tim. 2:4. John 3:10-17), then any love we Christians show descends from that love. John is a saying that there is no such thing as genuine love apart from God.
How can they say the God of the Bible is hateful or that some Christians are bigots or evil when they don’t have a standard of good and evil? This is the key problem of Atheism. If God existed before everything, and He Himself is the standard of good, then any judgement He makes is good. You can’t call the God of the Bible evil, when, if He exists the way Scripture says He does, then He alone is good. The Apostle Paul writes, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:20 ESV)
Their ideas of good and evil were shaped in part by a culture with some resemblance to Christian morality. Romans 2 says that God writes His law on man’s hearts and gives them a conscience to make them aware of this law. If you remember the time before you became a Christian, did you ever feel bad for doing something you knew was wrong? That’s what Paul was talking about. In the end, they can’t call anything bad without having a standard of good.
They don’t have a right to call the Bible primitive and nonsense, unless their views are approved as modern and full of sense by someone higher than themselves…chances are they could have googled for “Bible errors”and never read the Bible. In other words, the only option they have is that humanity determines what is right and wrong, problem is, what part of humanity? The majority? The majority of which nation? How can we call someone a “bad” person or a “good” person if, like one commentator said, truth is a “matter of perception.” If we perceive differently, then that must mean we have a common object we can see objectively, which means there has to be a standard that we perceive differently. Yet, another fallacy.
In the end, this is about standards. They don’t have a definition for love or sin or good, but you do. You have the Scriptures, you appealed to God’s word. They need to deal with the fact that if God has spoken, then they have a standard they cannot keep and need a righteousness that isn’t their own. You have a standard, therefore in that standard is the possibility to diverge from it. If we have a Designer then we were designed for something. You left the word of God on their minds, and that’s the best thing you could have done.
If only they could see the beauty of the gospel. Jesus redeems us not only from our sins but also from our old way of living; He will one day restore all things to be the way they were meant to be. The baby in the manger would grow up to become the sacrifice for our sins and the gateway to peace with God, and wishes for our lives to be set in an entirely new direction. Our obedience as Christians leads us to a new life as God desires..to flourish in the way He intends, and no one who obeys Christ regrets it or thinks they were designed differently. He is the Designer! Let’s ask Him (in His word) what His design is about. Let’s pray for God to open their eyes to the true meaning of life: the gospel. 🙂