Book Plunge: The Joy of Hate

Has tolerance gone too far? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Normally, I wouldn’t review a book that I think is political, but I think in this case I will make an exception. Recently, Greg Gutfeld came to town to sign copies of his book “The Joy of Hate.” I went with my friend who was the best man at my wedding and had said to him “I hope Gutfeld says something in this book about tolerance.”

I was pleasantly rewarded. Practically everything he says in the book is about tolerance.

Before you start off thinking the wrong thing, keep in mind that on page xiii, Gutfeld says tolerance is a good thing. The problem he tells us is that tolerance has been morphed to something else. It is not the idea any more that while we disagree, you are allowed to have your opinion and voice it. It is that if you have an opinion that is contrary to the desires of the “tolerati” as Gutfeld calls them, you deserve to be shut down. You will be silenced. Your opinion should not be given. The consequences are huge. You will be seen as intolerant.

As I have said before, modern tolerance is a one-way street. For instance, if you are opposed to capitalism, you are someone whose voice should be heard. If you are someone who is opposed to socialism, you do not have a right to speak. You are to be mocked.

It’s noteworthy that while my viewpoints always come from my Christian worldview, I cannot say for sure if Gutfeld shares that same worldview. If I had to guess, I would say no. For instance, Gutfeld is not really opposed to redefining marriage for the homosexual community and eliminating the gender requirement. Here’s the important difference. I oppose redefining marriage and I have numerous people who are ready to call me a bigot, a homophobe, etc. I have no doubt instead that if I was on Gutfeld’s program, he would welcome me to come and make my case and even if we still disagreed at the end, we would still be able to go out and get a pizza together at the end. Gutfeld would not see me as a bigot for my views. He’d see me as wrong and realize that crying out “Bigot” makes the issue be about the person holding the view instead of, well, the view itself.

Gutfeld tells us that this tolerance has got us to the point where we are not allowed to offend anyone. People live with highly delicate feelings and how dare you go after those. Of course, religious Christians like myself are the noted exception of this, especially if you add in that I’m a conservative. It’s quite alright to say what you want to about us and make fun of us. Just don’t do it to others of a different persuasion.

Consider for instance that when the Book of Mormon musical came out, Hillary Clinton cheered for it. When the “Innocence of Muslims” video was shown, Hillary condemned it. What are the differences between these videos? A big one could be we know that today, the Mormon hurch is not likely to rise up and cause a riot based on a musical. Sure. You can say it’s disrespectful and tasteless, but the Mormon Church does not consider it worth fighting. You can have a crucifix in a jar of urine and call it art and that’s okay. We dare not insult Islam. Could it be because we know Muslims could kill us if we do?

Unfortunately, the Muslim world will not respond to this by sending us a friend request on Facebook. Show those who are wanting to destroy you that you’ll bow down to them and don’t wish to offend them and they’ll keep going.

Another aspect of this is the constant use of terms like “haters” and “hate” as if all hate was ipso facto wrong. Let’s state this clearly. If there is nothing in this world that you hate, there is something wrong with you. If you see injustice, you ought to hate it. If you see evil, you ought to hate it. If you see children being abused, you ought to hate that. If there is nothing that you hate, then there is really nothing that you love either. If you really love something, you will hate that which opposes it.

Recently, my Mrs. found a group called “We Stop Hate” and was asking me if we should join it since it opposed bullying. Now Gutfeld and I agree on this. Bullies are horrible. No one should support bullying. Still, I am concerned about where I see the anti-bullying movement going. I have a concern that before too long, making a statement such as “I think homosexual practice is immoral” will be seen as hate speech and bullying and since I am a “hater” I deserve to be shut down.

What will not be discussed in this? The issue of homosexuality. What will be discussed in this? My person instead. I do not go to a debate to discuss who I am. I go to one to discuss an issue. Tolerance talk makes conversations not be about issues but about feelings. It is the result of a kind of moral relativism. (Tolerance seems to be the one virtue that moral relativists believe in.) It is the case that the case is already closed and people like myself just don’t deserve to be heard because we don’t walk in lockstep.

What’s to be done?

Gutfeld says we need to grow a thicker skin in many cases. Some statements are just offensive and don’t result in actions. An example is jokes. Many of us need to lighten up with jokes and not make a big deal and if a joke is tasteless, instead feel sorry for the person making it that they have no real humor left. Of course, there are some exceptions, and he includes talk about threats as an example. These should not be taken lightly.

In the end, we, who believe in true tolerance and let others have the right to speak, should keep doing what we’re doing and letting people speak. If we are sure we are correct, we should not hesitate to enter into a debate and discuss the facts. It is more likely that the person who does not want to discuss the facts but would rather hide behind the shield of tolerance is the one who fears the facts are against him.

I realize many of my readers could be liberal unlike myself in their politics. I still recommend they read this, mainly because of concern over the tolerance movement. The path we are going down is one we do not wish to continue and only by refusing to give the tolerati the kind of tolerance they want can we do so. We should always practice true tolerance, but certainly not the kind of tolerance the tolerati recommends.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Religious Excuse

Does it matter if an opinion is religious? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Last night on Bill O’Reilly, Greg Gutfeld filled in for O’Reilly and had as his last guest a lawyer from the ACLU. They were discussing abortion and in the midst of it John Flannery, the lawyer, says “You see by inches how people have made the religious notion that conception is the beginning of personhood as the standard which challenges both contraception and a woman’s right of choice to have an abortion.”

Did you notice it? Let’s take a look at it, except this time I’m going to take out one word. Try not to look back and see if you notice the difference.

“You see by inches how people have made the notion that conception is the beginning of personhood as the standard which challenges both contraception and a woman’s right of choice to have an abortion.”

What’s the difference?

The difference is that in the second one, I left out the word religious. Go back and look if you have to. How does that change it?

In the second one, you see a notion has been made and this is believed then to be a notion that can be challenged by the evidence. If you don’t know the source, you will study the claim or you will give arguments against the claim if you already believe that the claim is false. You will point to scientific arguments if you have them or philosophical and metaphysical arguments. This is a point that can be debated.

What happens when it’s made a religious notion?

Because of this, we have something called poisoning the well taking place. At this point, one does not need to challenge the claim then. One needs to just point out that the source is supposedly biased and therefore cannot be trusted. A huge number of people that oppose abortion in this country are religious. Of course, there are people who oppose abortion who are not. I do know of atheists who oppose abortion and I thank God for them. Still, even they I’m sure would agree most of the opposition comes from people of faith.

What do you do then? Simply. You just disregard them all at once.

The religious people don’t have any real reasons after all for thinking abortion is wrong other than that their holy book says so. Since we no longer take that as an authority in the public square today, then we can dismiss with that. Now if they don’t want to follow just what the Bible says, well that is their choice, but the problem is that a large number of people who are religious do not use just the Bible. We also have scientific, philosophical, and metaphysical arguments for why we believe what we believe about what is in the womb.

How do you know if the argument is religious or not? It’s simple. You just ask if you can take it out of the mouth of the religious person and put it in the mouth of an atheist and see if it is the exact same argument. Suppose I give scientific data for why I believe life begins at conception. Could an atheist not give the exact same data? If so, then the argument is not religious. It is scientific.

Of course, someone could reply that the reason someone wants to ban abortion is because of a religious reason. Certainly that could be the case, but that is also irrelevant to the argument. Let us suppose that someone committed a crime against some that I love, such as my wife. I give a testimony at a trial on why this person should be locked up and have the key thrown away. Will it damage the data I present to just say “Well of course you want that. It was your wife that was victimized?” No. The data stands or falls on its own. If you think i have bias that is causing me to misread the data, you must show that by looking at the data itself. If there is a misreading taking place, it can be demonstrated.

This is taking place in many of our debates today including the debate on redefining marriage. It is just assumed that the data that is presented cannot be correct. Why? Because it is being made by people of religion and we all know that because they are biased, they are to be discounted.

This allows the person who holds the position opposed to the person of faith to ignore the only question that matters. That question is “Is the position true?” There is no mention of the reason behind it any more. There is no mention of the data. There is no talk about having an argument. All that needs to be said is that the person who holds to the position is religious and automatically, it is assumed to be fallacious. (Do note this all fellow people who hold to a religion. This is also an insult as it implies the only reason you believe X is because your holy book says so and if it said otherwise, you would say otherwise.)

When a person brings up religion then, tell them to get on the subject. When you argue against abortion or against redefining marriage, you are not arguing to convert someone to your worldview concerning religion. You are arguing for an ethical position. Of course, those of us who are Christians will have no objections to someone becoming a Christian, but let’s be clear each time on what battle it is that we are fighting.

In Christ,
Nick Peters