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Friday, July 21, 2017

Difference of Opinion

There are those who refer to me as a "fundamentalist", and not in the good sense. (That's a joke. I know of very few who would ever use that word to refer to anything good.) I can see why. I do hold to fundamentals. I believe there is a God. I believe that Jesus is His Son and is, in truth, God. I believe in His death and His resurrection. I believe the Bible is the God-breathed Word of God and, therefore, true and reliable. I believe a lot of those things that are basic, bedrock -- fundamentals. But when those people refer to me as "fundamentalist", I don't think that's what they have in mind. I think they have the "raving lunatic with crazy ideas like all the other fundamentalists I imagine" idea. And I would beg to differ.

Take, for instance, the topic of "same-sex marriage" (using the term loosely). I am opposed, yes, but not for the same reason that so many other Bible-believing, God-fearing, right-thinking people are. They see it as a moral issue. I, at the first of it, see it as a rational issue. At no time in history has "marriage" meant anything that could include "same-sex". No matter what the word or what the culture, the concept has, throughout history, been the same. There have been different practices, different morays, different means, but always the same basic definition -- one man and one woman for the purposes of mutual support and for procreation. That has always been the core. So today we see that marriage means X, but society believes that everyone has a right to Y. And we want to call Y "marriage". It isn't, but now we'll go to war to make sure it is. That, dear reader, is not rational. It doesn't expand marriage; it eliminates X as a meaning to the word "marriage". (If you read the left side of the argument, you will actually find those who argue that this is precisely the aim of the exercise. Change "marriage" to include "same-sex" in order to eliminate "marriage".) Do I think that's immoral? I do, but my first objection is not a moral one; it's a rational one.

Take, for instance, this whole transgender thing. I know that most Christians who care about God's Word are morally outraged. I'm not. I don't actually see it as a big issue in Scripture. It is lightly addressed -- don't cross dress and the like -- but nothing like what we're seeing today. No, I'm not up in moral arms; I am completely baffled. We have, for reasons that don't appear to actually exist, decided that anyone who wants to can decide which gender they are. Science has nothing to say about it. (Note: Science actually has nothing to say about it. There are no tests, no measurements, no means of determining gender by medical means.) No chromosomes, no body parts, no physical functions have anything at all to do with the question. "I feel" trumps every modicum of reality. Oh, but only in gender. "I feel like I'm a black person trapped in a Caucasian body" won't work. "I feel like I'm a 6'6" guy trapped in a 5'4" body" won't matter to anyone. So the girl who believes she's a 7' black basketball player trapped in a 5'4" white girl's body will not be encouraged; she will be treated. But if she thinks she's a guy, then by all means let's do all we can to make her feel warmly about it. Some think that's sin; I think it's crazy. And then our society argues that gender is a social construct, that men and women are not merely equal if value, but in skills, abilities, everything. How dare you think there is a difference! But when one of these misguided people decides they're the wrong gender, they will invariably assume the "false" gender characteristics of the gender they think they are instead of simply "being equal". Insanity. Not moral outrage.

Or consider the question of homosexuals. Do I think, like so many others, that this is a moral question? Well, okay, in this case, yes, I do. But hold on. I'm not thinking "This is the ultimate evil." I'm not thinking "Dirty, rotten homosexuals." In fact, I'm not thinking "homosexuals" at all, let alone "dirty, rotten". I'm thinking that the behavior is a sin, not the condition. And I'm thinking that those who engage in sin -- all types, not just "homosexual" -- without repentance are in danger. So I'm thinking that it would be in their best interest if I do not encourage them to incur God's wrath. No moral outrage. No disgust. Genuine concern for their ultimate well-being. Yeah, yeah, you may say I'm mistaken, but if I actually believe that God loves us and actually believe that His Word is reliable and I actually believe that it clearly states that those who engage in such things will not inherit the kingdom, then it is not moral outrage I would feel; it is abiding concern.

These are just some examples. I know that people like to pigeon-hole me. "He believes in the fundamentals" (read "He's a dirty, rotten fundamentalist") "so he is just like all the rest." I would beg to differ. I would argue that a biblical worldview will cause some to hold the same types of positions without the same types of opinions. We would agree that marriage means the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of mutual support and procreation, but we wouldn't necessarily share the same feelings. We would concur that the transgender thing doesn't work, but not necessarily for the same reasons. We would affirm each others' belief that homosexual behavior is a sin without sharing the same moral outrage. We are not all the same ... any more than all those who disagree with us are.

1 comment:

Marshal Art said...

I would suggest that there are few who do not see these issues in very much the same way as do you...and as do I. However, what you describe is a very accurate description of how non-"fundamentalists" see "fundamentalist" responses to them.