Much of the same rhetoric ensued when Dan Cathy, owner of Chik-Fil-A, expressed his beliefs.
Both men, high-profile types in business and entertainment, were asked about their views on homosexuality. Since both men are out-of-the-closet-Christians, their response was predictable. Both were persecuted for holding such views.
Then the debates began on FaceBook and Twitter and in the blogosphere. Some of the blogs contained astute and incisive insights, going deeper into the issue than FaceBook. Of course, FaceBook is deeper than Twitter due simply to the limited nature of Twitter.
Christians and libertarians are arguing for the right to Freedom Speech as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
Liberals and the LGBT community (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender) argue against hatred.
I also find it interesting that in the course of the meaningless, and often vitriolic debates, someone with a Christian slant will say, "Christians must stand up for what they believe."
That is the oft-repeated comment that finally lit the fire under this writer.
I have been told more than once that "unless you stand for something, you will fall for anything."
While that appears to contain a certain amount of wisdom, it is hardly ever used as spoken. It is usually practiced as, "you've got to stand against something, or you'll fall for anything."
The original quote is most often attributed to Malcolm X, with some pointing to Thomas Jefferson, and others to Bonnie Hunt. It has only been quoted 'at' me by Christians promoting one form of division or another.
What does it mean to Stand Up For What You Believe?
In the current climate, Christians are using it to imply that we are to point out that homosexuality is a sin and that those who practice such a lifestyle will go to hell.
As a Bible-believing Christian who teaches others how to live the Christian life, I am opposed to that mentality. Jesus did not say, "Go therefore into all the world and point out the sinful behavior of others."
A quote on one of the streams of debate states: "Christians have to stand up for what they believe. God gave the Bible to teach us how we should live. The Bilble plainly states that homosexuality is wrong. The morals of society have decayed." The person got it right and applies it wrongly. "God gave us the Bible to teach us how to live" does not apply to unbelievers but to believers. It tells believers that homosexuality will get them in trouble.
(Someone will comment on here that I am ignoring Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33. Don't bother. I know well about warning the wicked. Whole 'nother discussion.)
However, ALL of the above is only by way of introduction.
The main purpose of this article is to offer a possible solution to help avoid the endless rounds of so-called debate that usually results in nothing more than a pissing contest.
I also hope to show this in such a way as to avoid the accusation of "not standing for something," or of "watering down the truth."
13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to TRAP him in his talk. 14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances,cbut truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denariusd and let me look at it.” 16And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17Jesus said to them,“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. (ESV) [emphasis added]
While I do not propose that the questioners of today have that as their intention, that is certainly what happens to most Christians. They feel trapped and go on the defensive.
Instead, why not respond as Jesus did--with a question.
(Yes. His wisdom far exceeds mine on my best day, but that is not the point here.)
Why not, rather, learn to ask a question in return for the question or accusation?
QUESTION: Do you believe that homosexuality (or, sin du jour) is wrong?
ANSWER: Why is that important to you?
STATEMENT: I can't see how any rational human being with an ounce of intellect can believe that there is a God, or that He created the universe.
ANSWER: And why is that?
The rationale here is three-fold:
- it puts you on the offensive rather than the defensive
- it gives you time to gather your thoughts
- you get to find out the interrogator's true intent
Whenever we immediately respond with, "The Bible says..." we have lost. They don't believe the Bible. It is not an authority that they recognize.
Instead, we should attempt to engage them in their thinking process to discover what is at the root of their question.
Whichever party tells the other that they are wrong has decided that conversation about the matter is not important. Dialogue is no longer possible.
I encourage you to begin to practice the skill of asking questions rather than spouting your opinion as your default mode.
Here is an example of what can happen if understanding is the goal:
It is not often that people with deeply held and completely opposing viewpoints actually risk sitting down and listening to one another. We see this failure to listen and learn in our government, in our communities and in our own families. Dan Cathy and I would, together, try to do better than each of us had experienced before. (Shane L. Windmeyer, Nationally recognized LGBT leader in higher education; bestselling author; executive director, Campus Pride in The Huffington Post)
All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.
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