Why is it problematic to say someone is phobic of a position? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One way many people shut down a message today that they don’t like is to impugn the speaker in some way. A great way to do this for them is to say that someone is phobic. One example of this was back in the presidential race of 2016 when Hillary Clinton made her “Basket of Deplorables” statement.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
So what’s wrong with this statement?
First off, ask anyone who has a phobia and it’s something entirely different. When I went to ETS one year, I got in an elevator that was a glass elevator and someone pushed a button that took us all the way to the top. I’m terrified of heights. I crouched in the corner, covered my head, looked away, and prayed it would end quickly. By the way, I think the top floor was the 47th floor. I get scared just thinking about it.
Also, as a small child, I was with my family at the beach once and in the ocean when I went straight under. That was the day I learned about the undertow. The undertow has always scared me ever since and being in water like that is still terrifying to me, one of the reasons I can’t swim to this day.
These are real phobias.
We can find some phobias strange and not understand them, but that doesn’t mean that we should ever insult them or make fun of them for it. After all, a phobia is a real psychological condition that can be very hard to get under control. What kind of person makes fun of someone else for that?
Yet when a person is accused of being homophobic, it really isn’t true. It’s often been said that such a person is really struggling with homosexual temptations themselves and doesn’t want to admit it. Could this be true? Yes. Is it always true? No. It would be very hard to verify such a claim.
And even if the person you are speaking to about the issue were someone who was secretly struggling with homosexual temptations, what of it? The parent who tells their kid to not start smoking while puffing away at a cigarette could be a hypocrite (Could be. They could be saying “I’m addicted to these things and I hate it so please don’t start), but it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. The real issue would be “Is there something wrong with homosexual behavior?” That’s not the point of this blog.
To turn this around, let’s suppose someone objects to the way Christians act on this issue. Would we say that they are Christophobic? Maybe they have secret desires to be Christians and don’t want to admit it. You see, if phobic just means “Disagreeing with a position” then we are all phobic of something.
But yet, here I think is the main goal in saying this every time. It’s sadly a way of shutting down discussion. It could be because too many people today are unequipped to handle it if someone disagrees with them or thinks that they’re doing something wrong.
You need to be informed of this. If you live in the real world, you’re going to meet people like this. If your happiness and personal well-being depends on what every single person thinks of you, you will always be a victim. You will never get everyone to agree with you. You will never get everyone to like everything about you.
For the last one, there’s an obvious example of that. Look in the mirror. Do you like everything about you? Do you think you’re just perfect in every way? If you’re a real person with an ounce of humility, you’ll say there are things about you that you don’t like. That’s okay. There should be. We’re not perfect, and yet we should strive to get along with ourselves. (And if you can’t, you need to get psychological help seriously)
Here’s a real shocker for some of you. Someone can think you live a lifestyle that is wrong and disagree with it, but they can like you anyway and value you as a person and treat you with kindness. Really! They can!
Oh. Let’s say something for my readers who are fellow Christians. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to love like Jesus. That person is still someone made in the image of God that Jesus Christ loves and died for. Sinners weren’t scared to come to Jesus in His earthly ministry and really, they shouldn’t be scared to come to Him in His heavenly ministry. (That includes us. He’s still the same Jesus and if we think Jesus is peace and love but God is ready to smite us for anything, then we’re guilty of a sort of Marcionism then) If people are scared to come to us, perhaps we’re not being like Jesus.
If you are using this kind of tactic, stop it. It’s rude and shuts down discussion on important topics and is really making fun of someone for what you say is a psychological condition. If you are having this used on you, be the better person. A kind answer will turn away wrath in this case.