What is a bigot?

What does it mean if someone is called a bigot? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

According to dictionary.com, the following is what is meant by a bigot.

bigot is “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.”

Nowadays, a bigot is seen more often as anyone who disagrees with a belief or doesn’t accept it. The irony is that so many people who are using this term are the ones who are the bigots themselves. Someone who is a bigot is so utterly intolerant that they are not open to changing their mind.

There are some beliefs in my life I would say I do not think I could possibly be wrong on and this even if I have no easy way of verification. I consider it absolutely certain that my parents are my biological parents. I have never done a test and I have never had to. I have accepted their word and lifestyle and the surrounding testimony of the community I grew up in. It’s possible everyone around me is involved in a massive conspiracy, but this is not likely and not something worth considering.

That being said, if you wanted to offer evidence to the contrary, I would be open to it. I would be skeptical, but I have no reason to not listen at all. Note that that is something important. I would be very unlikely to change my mind, but if the evidence was good enough, I would.

I get concerned when I meet people who say that they are Christian and that they will never change their mind. Now I certainly hope that they don’t, but I don’t want you to be in it in such a way that if there was ever given absolutely evidence to the contrary that you would still say, “Nope. Not changing my mind.” As a devout Christian, I have no real concerns I will ever find such evidence, but I also know that I don’t know everything.

If that seems problematic to you, keep in mind that if you do evangelism, you are asking people to do just that. You are asking them to change their mind and whole worldview entirely based on the evidence that you present to them. Why should they need to be open but you don’t? Because your belief is true?  They think the exact same thing about their belief.

In debates today, such as issues like homosexuality and abortion, many who are more conservative are often called bigots. The idea implicitly is that this is a done debate and there’s really no need to listen to the other side. If that is what you think, then that is actually being utterly intolerant of a creed different from yours which makes you the bigot in that case.

Yesterday, I wrote about charges like homophobia. What was rightly said in a comment on my Facebook is that this is a way of just shutting down debate. That’s entirely correct. The problem is that means that you really don’t care to know if you’re wrong on an issue if you go that route. Now I have no problem if you think it’s highly unlikely that you are wrong. All that’s recommended is to listen to the other side.

If someone opposes XYZ, it’s good to always ask why they oppose it. It’s easy to say something like “Republicans just want to see poor people die!” or “Democrats just only want to spread sinfulness!” Now both of those could be true, but you don’t know someone’s reason for opposing something until you ask them. I saw someone share something today about Republicans voting against a certain act. I wanted to look and see why they did so and find it in their own words. Too many articles I wrote were on the other side saying “Republicans hate XYZ!” I kept looking and found reasons that on the surface at least left me thinking, “That makes sense.” If I wanted to argue they were right, I would want to look more, but I at least decided I should see what was said first.

Ultimately, if you think it highly unlike you are wrong, that’s one thing, and that’s fine, but still listen to see what your opponent has to say and if it’s something new and you consider it important to your thinking, look into it. If you are convinced that you cannot possibly be wrong, then you are just a dogmatist and essentially you’re holding to a religious creed of sorts. If I meet someone who does not think they can be wrong in anything, I wonder why I should think they are right in anything. Ironically, as was said about, such a person is truly a bigot.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Charges Like Homophobia

Does it really make a difference to say such claims? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about the failure of the movie BrosOne claim brought up by Billy Eichner who was behind the movie was that it failed because of homophobia. I could talk about just that claim today, but there are plenty of others.

Let’s go back in time and consider Hillary Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” quote. She had said that half of Trump supporters could be placed in this basket. How did she describe these people? “They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.”

The sad thing is sometimes, techniques like this work. People get scared because they don’t want to be labeled this way and seen this way. Nowadays, the same people that used to tell us about how totes awesome tolerance was, are the ones that will go scouring through someone’s Twitter history and seeing if just one time a decade ago they said something mildly offensive to ruin their lives.

For my part, when I hear the claim about racism, sexism, or even a counterpart such as white supremacist, I tend to disregard it immediately. Why? Because I have heard it so many times that I just can’t take it seriously. It has become a story of the boy who cried wolf.

Homophobia is a particularly odd one to me. Consider if I came up to you and said “So have you given any thought lately to having sex with your mother?” Now if you act repulsed at that, could I go and say “Oh! You must be an incestophobe!” (My spell check is saying that word is not real, but give it time.) Are we going to move soon from an age where we talk more about pedophobes than we do about pedophiles? (The former is a word that doesn’t exist yet in spell check, but I suspect it could be there within a decade.)

If anything, consider that you are accusing someone of having a phobia, which is a mental condition, and your reply is to make fun of them for it? Phobias are incredibly serious things when they are real that can severely limit someone’s life. Somehow, many more often on the left have chosen to use this term regularly.

Tolerance is no longer totes awesome.

Disagreement with a position doesn’t mean that you are afraid of it, unless we want to say every non-Christian is a Christophobe. If anything, you could have a positive attitude towards something and still choose to avoid it. Consider someone who is recovering from addiction. You can find plenty of people in an Alcoholics Anonymous group who somewhere would likely still love to have alcohol. They’re not alcoholphobes either. They just know it’s not good for them and they have to avoid it because the effects of it on them are not good.

Right now, looking at racism, I live in a city where it is very much a melting pot of various cultures. At many of the businesses around here, I am a minority. Does this cause me any trouble? Nope. I’m still a Christian and everyone around me is still in the image of God.

Another problem with the approach of crying something like racism or homophobe is that it really doesn’t require you actually listen to the other person. If you did not, for example, want Obama to be president, it is possible it could be because you are a racist, but it could also be because of other reasons, such as you didn’t like his policies and approach.

If someone is called a homophobe, it could be they find homosexuality disgusting, but it could also be that they have a view of the family that doesn’t allow for that. They think, and I agree, that a man-woman monogamous unit is the foundation of a society and raising up the next generation. Now someone like myself could be wrong on that, but just throwing out homophobe doesn’t allow us to even discuss the issue.

Every time something like this is said, what is no longer being discussed is the issue, but rather the person. For someone who receives this charge, defending yourself is not really the way to go, at least primarily. That distracts from the issue. What really needs to be discussed is the belief in question.

So for those of us who have heard this, the ideal goal is really to just not pay attention to this unless there’s serious evidence behind it. For those who do use this kind of claim, really try something better. You might be further convincing the choir, but you really just cause the rest of us to roll our eyes and not take you seriously.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Failure of Bros

Is this due to “homophobia”? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve seen on YouTube today a lot of talk about the failure of a movie called Bros. If you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, but the lovers in this are a pair of men. This was the first of its kind and its fail was tremendous.

Billy Eichner, who is behind the movie, has sadly taken the lower path in handling this. Instead of looking at himself and looking at his movie and seeing why it is no one went to see it, he is instead blaming the audience. Why did it fail? It is because YOU must be a homophobe.

However, if that is the case, then even assuming everyone who saw the movie in America is gay, a lot of them even didn’t see it, so does that mean someone in the homosexual community is a homophobe? Eichner has also been on Twitter sending out regular tweets about this. Little tip here. If you want your audience to listen to you, it’s probably not a good idea to call them homophobes and anything else at the same time.

Well here are a lot of reasons most people didn’t go see this movie.

First, romcoms are normally meant for women. For the most part, men do not go to see romcoms unless their girlfriends or wives insist on it. Men would rather see an action flick of some kind. They want to see some fights, car chases, shootings, and something getting blown up. If they do go see a romcom, they want to at least see a beautiful woman in that movie.

A gay romcom has neither. No straight guy I know of wants to see two dudes getting it on together. Add in there are supposedly multiple orgies in this and we’re even less interested.

While men will go see action flicks wanting to be the man in the films, women go see romcoms because for the most part, they want to be romanced. They like the love story and it’s their kind of fairy tale. They are not interested in seeing two dudes either.

If you’re wanting men to go see your film, don’t make it a romcom.

Second, people don’t want to see something if they think they’re being preached to. Most people do not go to church for entertainment value and there’s a reason we’ve called a long message we don’t want to hear a sermon. There’s a reason we refer to a negative onslaught of what we ought to do as preaching. When people see a system they don’t want regularly put in their face, they lose interest. It’s the whole “Go woke, go broke.”

Consider how it is in superhero comics. Most people I know wouldn’t really care too much if someone wanted to make a gay superhero. What they don’t want is to take a traditional superhero who has never shown any inkling of being gay and then turning them gay to appeal to diversity. People go to comics for entertainment. They don’t go for politics.

Third, yes, a lot of people don’t agree with homosexuality, including myself, but it doesn’t do anything to call us all homophobes any more than calling non-Christians Christophobes is going to get them to repent or seriously examine Christianity. Instead of having any debate on the topic, instead, it is easier to just shout an insult at someone. It doesn’t help your side any.

That means when we go see a movie, we don’t want to see an orgy with a bunch of guys in it. That might appeal to the homosexual community, but not to heterosexual community. We also don’t care for a movie that tells us that we had a good run. You don’t tell us our time is done and then respond negatively when we choose to not show interest in you.

Ultimately, if people don’t like your work, no matter how passionate you are about it, you need to look to yourself. You will never have something that pleases everyone, but I have to do the same thing here. If people aren’t interacting with my content or taking it seriously, I have to look at myself mostly. Now there’s no harm in looking at my audience and asking what they want. I wrote about divorce for quite awhile, for instance, because I saw views were up on my blog when I did that. Give the people what they want.

If someone isn’t interested in my content, I can ask what I can do to make it interesting to them. I could look at my writing style or website presentation or anything else. The first place to start if someone doesn’t like my work is always with me. It is not with the audience.

So Billy, take a look at yourself. How passionate you are about the work doesn’t matter a bit. I can be super-passionate about selling overcoats, but it won’t work if I’m talking to people in the Middle East most likely. I can be super passionate about pork products, but it won’t work with Muslims or Orthodox Jews. Passion doesn’t equal success. Having a good product or service and then knowing your audience well and what they want does.

We just don’t want Bros. Time to accept that and move on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Slow To Judge

What do I think about David Capes’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Slow To Judge is not your typical book on Christian apologetics. If you’re wanting to get an answer on a question like if Jesus rose from the dead or dealing with the problem of evil, this is not the book for you. If you’re wanting a book on how to approach the debates on those kinds of topics, then this is the book for you. This is a book more akin to Greg Koukl’s Tactics. Capes throughout the book is encouraging you to not be too quick to judge. At the same time, he doesn’t want you to back down for a moment on your convictions, but make sure you’re doing something to promote honest debate.

You might be wondering why someone who is a New Testament scholar would be qualified to write a work like this. Capes has an advantage that he has been a regular host of a radio show where he appeared alongside a Jew and a priest to discuss various issues and take phone calls. (We have received no word if they ever went to a bar after the show.) Because of this, Capes learned how to have interfaith dialogues. He disagrees strongly with his co-hosts, but he also considers them good friends. As much as people know me to be firm in my debates with unbelievers many times, I much more prefer the ones I can have an honest discussion with rather than the ones that come with a strong chip on their shoulder.

And throughout the book, Capes takes a look at a number of ways real discussion is being hampered today. One such way is by the use of terms that end in phobia, something I’ve been surprised to see even Peter Boghossian agrees with. Too often in our culture, someone can be labeled a name like a homophobe or accused of homophobia and the person is immediately on the defensive for anything they have to say. It’s a good rhetorical play to make, but it’s not one that really adds any substance and most of us on the other side immediately realize what kind of mindset we’re dealing with.

Also, when it comes to judging too quickly, there’s one group that often gets left out that is judged too quickly and I speak as a member of that group, the disabled. My wife and I both have Aspergers and it’s amazing how because you don’t immediately understand and follow social protocol that people will often assume the worst of you. I can actually very well understand the world of someone like Sheldon Cooper even if I do find it humorous at times. There are many times I have to send an email to the people I know who are neurotypicals about a situation and ask if I am missing something. Too often when people see me, they can think that I’m rude or something of that sort when it really isn’t my intention to be.

The discussion on tolerance is also extremely helpful. Tolerance has been used as a weapon by those who claim to hold to it the most. For all the time they have spent preaching this Gospel of tolerance, you think they’d be willing to practice it. In fact, I have often said that the best way to spot an intolerant person is to find someone who is a champion of tolerance and then disagree with them on one of their chief virtues.

I also think the discussion on recognizing differences in other religions is quite helpful, although some in the Christian community will be shocked to learn that the early church didn’t really have a problem adopting certain literary and artistic forms from the pagans around them. Indeed, why should everything be invented wholesale? Too often the idea is the Christians could have nothing to gain from the pagans who were around them or else the Christians had everything to gain. The simple reality is that the Christians wrote their New Testament in the Greek language and last I checked, that wasn’t some heavenly language.

The book ends with a look at two figures. Fethullah Gulen is the first and C.S. Lewis is the second. Most of us have heard of the second, but I’d never heard of the former, which is a shame. He’s apparently a Muslim leader who is quite moderate and very condemning of acts of terrorism and sees Islam in more spiritual terms. Would I disagree with some stances on this? Yep. I would. I have my own opinions of Islam, but I do wish this guy was more well-known and more Muslims were listening to him. C.S. Lewis meanwhile definitely knew about the pagan world around him and interacted with it and is a model we can all learn from.

Again, I do not agree with everything in Capes book, but he’s absolutely right on the importance of wisdom. Ultimately, that’s what the book is all about. Wisdom. There are too many people with a lot of knowledge, but they don’t have any wisdom and do great harm to the body of Christ because of that. There are two extremes I think can be made. If you only have a hammer, everything will look like a nail. If you only have a hug, everything will look like a kitten. We need wisdom to know which is which. Reading this book is a good start for the quest for wisdom.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Letters To A Young Progressive

What do I think of Mike S. Adams’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’ve often said it’s good to read people you disagree with. It’s also good to read from people you hate, and like many of you, I hate Mike S. Adams. Who doesn’t? It’s the national pastime after all. It’s also why I was thrilled to receive his book as a Christmas gift.

This had been a book I’d been wanting for a long time. I check Adams’s facebook page everyday to see what he puts up and I get a kick out of a lot of it. He’s a blunt and in your face type who’s not afraid to offend those who disagree with him. Good for him. The cause of Christ needs more like that.

The format of the book is Adams writing letters to a student in his class who he has noticed, particularly after a remark made in the class by the student. The student, Zach, is actually a conglomerate of several kinds of students that Adams has seen in his classes.

Adams also writes from experience, having once been on the side of an atheist liberal progressive who came to Christ and began to renounce his past positions. He is writing then hoping that Zach, and all students represented by Zach, will learn from his experience.

Throughout the book, you will find writing on many issues, though the most prevalent one is likely abortion, and who can blame Adams for this one? Adams is disgusted by the thought of women killing their own children in the womb and frankly, we should all be disgusted by that.

You’ll also find other topics dealt with such as handling of crime, gun control, capitalism, claims of homophobia, antagonism towards Fox News, and a modern work ethic. While Adams is often blunt with his opponents, one does not see any hostility in the letters to Zach. One instead sees a sort of kind father figure wanting to come and guide a young man on the path that he should go.

The letters are also very short which means one can easily go through them and have something to think about. Of course, this means one cannot expect to find the most total answer in every one, but one can find satisfactory starting points and the willing student is one who can search further on his own and Adams rightly recommends using books and journal articles more than internet sources and cable news programs.

There are some areas I would like to have seen more on.

First, I wouldn’t mind seeing more pushback. I did not note much resistance on the part of Zach. The reader only sees one side of the dialogue. It would have been interesting to have seen something like Greg and Ed Boyd’s “Letters From a Skeptic.”

The other aspect is that I understand letters don’t come with footnotes or endnotes, but I would have liked to have had us have some of that anyway for the sake of we on the outside. Adams makes some great points and while he does mention books, it would be nice to see more referencing of where the claims come from in case one is ever asked.

Still, this is a great book. It’s going to give the reader enough to think about and it can be read quickly. I started one day and finished the next. I got halfway through it on the first day just enjoying everything I was reading.

If this is the kind of field you’re interested in, I do recommend it.

Oh, by the way, I just want to remind everyone that I hate Mike S. Adams.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

%d bloggers like this: