Monday, May 10, 2010

Grotivate your Church - Funny Spoof!

This is a brilliant send up of 'contemporary' church culture! Short video will have you chuckling for ages. If you get it!

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What does Toleration Actually mean today?

I thought I would write this brief article on Toleration. Mainly I will quote something I read in a much bigger article that can be found here. The quote I want to look at is below.

The new toleration

The definition of "toleration" has been inverted in recent years. Historically, toleration implied disagreement. The powerful would tolerate ideas that they disagreed with or found unpleasant; they might argue against them or condemn them, but they did not suppress the ideas through violence or the courts.

Today, toleration means agreeing that selected categories—typically race, gender, and sexual orientation—are value-neutral, that is, that they have no significant bearing on human worth, moral standing, etc. To suggest otherwise is to commit the one unforgivable sin of being intolerant, judgmental or bigoted.

In other words, toleration has changed from referring to ideas to referring to people, and from learning to live with disagreement to agreeing that [specific] differences don't matter.

In my previous post on why we should vote in the election I mentioned the issue of ‘Toleration’ and quoted a book title by D.A Carson called The Intolerance of Tolerance. I think that title sums up the current view of what Toleration actually means. When you strictly narrow the categories by which you define what tolerance means it inherently becomes intolerant of anything outside of it. Now for those inside those categories this is not seen as an issue and seems entirely reasonable. However for those pushed to the boundaries or who are fully excluded this becomes a major concern and problem.

The outrageous witch hunt against the Conservative candidate for Sutton, Philippa Stroud, is a prime example of this inversion of what society defines as Toleration (click HERE for good article on Christians in the media spotlight and Adrian Warnock’s take on it). The recent court case for Gary McFarlane is another example that highlights the shift on the way society views what is in or out of that category. Excellent article by Former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali shows that Religious conviction is no longer viewed on a level playing field with such things as Sexual orientation or Gender identity. Therefore one set of beliefs/values subjugates another in the name of equality and tolerance in the law.

That effective inequality is the main problem with all this legislation that the Labour government and lobby groups have pushed through. In the attempt to stop discrimination against people on the grounds of Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, Age and Religion they have inadvertently (or purposefully if you want to be cynical) created a clash between those categories. In this post-modern, post-Christian, secular, humanistic society we call Britain, Religious conviction is trumped by all the other categories.

I had a debate with someone on Twitter around if Philippa Stroud was a bigot and what that actually meant. The tactic most anti-Christian or Atheist people use is to simply dismiss the Bible completely and thus to try and prevent a Christian from arguing from that point of view. A Christians whole frame of reference is Biblical so it can be effective, especially over such things as Social Media as there is so little space to actually engage and debate a person.

The main contention I have is that by a person saying ‘your view is bigoted or Intolerant’ they are effectively saying my belief trumps your belief. I am right and you are wrong. So by the Oxford English Dictionary definition of Bigot are in fact being exactly that and are being Intolerant themselves.

Bigot: a person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinions of others

We all bring our beliefs and world view to the table and to say one person is being Intolerant is simply to impose your worldview as the correct one and exclude another's. The very definition of Intolerance in the old definition above.

However generally the person is unwilling or unable to see or accept this. To do so would open debate and allow alternative viewpoints. As far as the person I debated with on twitter was concerned I was a homophobic hateful bigot simply because I was a Christian and held to Biblical authority and they could not accept they were being Intolerant or bigoted themselves. Because of the difference of interpretation of what it means to Tolerate or be Intolerant of something.

I truly believe this will only get worse in Britain in the coming years. It has already happened on more than one occasion that a person has been arrested under hate laws or breach of peace laws for simply repeating what the Bible says, specifically on the subject of Homosexuality. In a recent incident because the Police officer was themselves gay. It can be seen that Christians in public are targeted specifically on this subject because it will get them in trouble in Britain. Even if the laws were not instigated to do this the end result is that they are being used to suppress free speech by those that will not tolerate a moral world view that differs or clashes with their own.

Sadly these stories tend to misrepresent the Biblical world view and focus them solely on the Homosexuality issue making it more of a focus than the Bible actually places on it. Making Christians ‘sound’ like homophobes when in fact a true Christian is nothing of the sort in reality, though may be seen as one by the new definitions.

In my view Bigot, Intolerance or phobe has fear and hate fuelling it. Religious, self righteous types can be bigots and intolerant as much as Atheist humanistic types can be. A true Christian however will not, as they recognise that every one of us on this planet is justly heading for an eternity in hell unless God plucks them from the precipice. Thanks to Jesus Christ's supreme act Love and sacrifice the way is open for just that to happen. A Christian knows that it is only by Grace they are saved through no merit in them at all. Therefore they have no grounds to be self righteous towards anyone and are free to Love and serve others. Christianity defines what it is to have true equality and treat all people with love and respect.

But this does not mean it will agree with your world view. If you are not a Christian I cannot tell you that you are living in immoral life and expect you to change. I can only point you to Christ and if you give your life to Him then change will inevitably be the result as he changes your heart from the inside. But I can tell you that God has a better way to live, that if you live outside of that framework then things will not be as good as they could be and may in fact cause you harm. I cannot expect you to change or agree but I can point the way and this is not Bigoted or Intolerant or hateful because it disagrees with how you currently choose to live. A Christian is motivated by the Love of God for them which naturally wants the best for you.

But don’t expect Christians to be perfect and get it right all the time. We don’t and are on a journey ourselves of being changed. Take the time to understand who it is you are labelling and what they actually stand for before you judge them, you may be surprised by what you find.