By James Moylan
I dislike Christians. However this is not bigotry. It is not an irrational dislike. Rather it is a dislike that is born out of a perfectly rational appraisal of what Christians generally say they believe and from watching what Christians do in our society.
If anyone asks me what I believe about a particular social issue, and why I believe what I do, then I can and will provide a ready answer. This is because, as a secular humanist, I feel that it is important that I not only advocate on behalf of the issues that I feel strongly about, but also that I am able to back up my arguments with logically justified and rationally thought-out propositions.
For example; I feel that every citizen should have the right to marry whomever they wish regardless of the gender or sex of the individuals involved. This is because it is fairly well documented that humans don’t really get much of a choice about their sexual orientation (unlike their religious views). So to refuse gays the right to marry is to deny them the right to do what comes naturally. That is inequitable. And the imposition of arbitrary inequity is harmful to both individuals within a society and to a society as a whole.
Whereas I think that it is obvious that allowing gays to marry will actually strengthen the bonds of attachment that exist between members of the community – and so will be good for the society as a whole. So, as far as I am concerned, gays can bang like dunny doors (anywhere that they won’t scare the horses) and should also be allowed to get married and divorced to their hearts content.
However, for many of the Christians amongst us, gay marriage seems to be a problem. At least it is a problem for all of the Christians who have actually read their own holy book. In fact: if you believe half of what the Bible has to say then you are simply obliged to be an intolerant bigot. Jesus was not big on tolerance. Moreover his ‘family values’ are simply repugnant.
Jesus repeatedly told his followers that: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34)
This is not an isolated instance of intolerance. It simply reiterates one of the core teachings of Jesus that is oft repeated in all of the Gospels. Jesus taught that either you are with him or against him. Either you believe in what he had to say, and then do what he tells you to do, or you are not only deserving of death in this life, but that you will and should burn in hellfire eternal for daring to refuse his kind offer to be an eternal dictator.
I know that this message seems to run counter to what most incurious bystanders usually think about Christianity but then most people who profess to be a ‘Christians’ seem to know very little about Christianity. If most of them actually read their Bible they would very soon stop calling themselves Christians. It is a manual specifically advocating on behalf of gross intolerance.
The only people who are likely to argue about this interpretation of what Jesus had to say are wishy-washy social Christians. Evangelical Christians (who know their bible backwards) understand very well that the Bible says repeatedly and unequivocally that anyone who refuses to accept ‘the Lord’ will burn forever in a fiery pit. Evangelical Christians know that the bible consistently advises them to actively discriminate against non-Christians wherever and whenever they can. Evangelical Christians read the Bible and believe it – that is why they are bigots.
This is also why whenever Christianity actually does get the upper hand in politics then we see something like the ‘dark ages’ emerge. In a ‘Christian state’ people get sentenced to death for daring to be different. Women become chattel. Foreigners are vilified. Unbelievers are burnt at the stake. Sexual activity is described as being ‘dirty’, unauthorized sexual activity is deemed to be a crime, and anyone who is not heterosexual is described as being a pervert and will likely be gaoled (or worse).
As a secular humanist I actively encourage everyone in our society to read the bible and get very well acquainted with it. The Bible itself is the best advertising available for a secular life.
This is because there is no doubt that the Jesus featured in the Bible is a jealous and intolerant fellow. For example (in Matthew 11) he revels in the idea that all the inhabitants of several cities will burn in hellfire for all of eternity. In other parts of the Gospels this ‘holy man’ advocates on behalf of putting to death any children who are not obedient to their parents, abandoning those who refuse to believe, and beating slaves and wives.
Which brings me to the point of this essay: namely the lack of honesty being displayed by the Christian advocates who are currently campaigning on behalf of bigotry and homophobia.
Of course Jesus hated queers. He hated anyone who was different and not a Christian and instructed his followers to do the same. Christians hate queers because their god hates queers. But they know they can’t say that out loud in public because it sounds sick, stupid, and loopy (because it is sick, stupid, and loopy).
So while I can explain exactly what I believe and why I believe it – most Christians who are involved in politics or social advocacy simply cannot. They can tell you what they believe but they cannot back it up with anything but nebulous waffle. They are afraid to spell out in simple terms why they believe what they believe because what they actually believe sounds profoundly insane, unjust, and palpably inequitable.
So they turn to pursuing straw men arguments that are utterly silly and entirely beside the point. And they know it.
Evangelical Christians say that they are against the idea of allowing gay marriage because it somehow debases the ‘institution of marriage’. When you challenge them to justify this assertion they are likely to respond by saying that marriage is traditionally between a man and a women. They will then say that this is the way it has always been and so this is the way it should stay.
If you point out that this is simply incorrect and then demonstrate that in many parts of the world ‘traditional marriage’ can be between one man and many women (or between a man and his sister, or a first cousin) they will say ‘not in good white, Anglo, Christian countries.’
If you ask if we should uphold all of the other good white, Anglo, Christian, traditions like slavery, treating women as chattel, and burning witches at the stake, they will likely change the topic or refuse to argue any further. This is because these individuals are not arguing for or on behalf of a rationally considered and supported proposition. They are arguing on behalf of intolerance and bigotry. Their God has told them that they have to be intolerant and bigoted if they want to live forever in paradise. But of course they can’t say that; so they lie by omission. Instead of telling (Gods own) truth they argue about a whole bunch of stuff that they do not really believe in and which they know does not really matter or even make sense.
So the next time you are arguing with a Christian ‘activist’ then pin them down. Ask them if their God thinks that gay marriage is acceptable. Then ask them if they think that anyone who does not believe in what they believe will go to hell.
If they answer ‘yes’ then simply walk away; you might as well be arguing with a brick wall.
The Christians who are advocating against the adoption of equitable treatment for everyone in our society are not arguing on behalf of a position but rather on behalf of a religion.
So since religion has no place in a civil democratic discussion – neither should they.