The Rush To Hate

Is the word used too easily? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Something I tire of in the world today is the quick rush to hate and the condemnation of hate. If there is disagreement against someone, it is assumed that the hatred of the person must be the cause. Accusations of moral turpitude are too easily thrown out there. (Hint to my leftist friends, and even enemies: I have heard the terms racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, bigot, etc. that nowadays I no longer take them seriously.)

Unfortunately for an age where we talk about unity and tolerance, immediately jumping to hate is not going to help us in discussions. How can you have an honest discussion with someone if you think they hate you? Now in all fairness, maybe they do, but shouldn’t that be checked on and not just assumed?

If all we are judging someone on is isolated actions without a context, we could be making really poor judgments. Suppose at my workplace I see a parent snap off to their child. Now i could be assuming that this person is a horrible parent and doesn’t really care about their child. I could be right. However, it could also be that they’ve had an extremely stressful time recently or gone through a personal crisis and their kid is just on their last nerve and they will regret the way they snapped at their kid later.

Here’s a good rule to consider. Always consider that it’s more likely that the other person’s motives are more pure than you think they are. Always also consider that your motives are less pure than you think they are.

Along those lines also, keep in mind good motives don’t always mean good actions and good results. It could be like the boy wanting to set the butterfly free without realizing his breaking the butterfly out is killing it. The butterfly needs to break free on its own so it will be strong enough to fly.

There are also people in fiction known as antiheroes who do good things, but do them for the wrong reasons. We just often don’t have enough information. That’s why accusations of moral turpitude are always serious.

Also, not all hate is bad. There are some things you ought to hate. Why is it that it’s not a good thing to be called a Nazi? Because you ought to hate Nazism. If you don’t hate Nazism, there’s something wrong with you. That doesn’t mean you will always feel hatred, and I hope you don’t, but you know who the bad guys are. At the same time, you shouldn’t hate Nazis. You should love them. You should love them so much you want them to see the error of their ways.

You should hate plenty of other things. You should hate sex trafficking. You should hate child abuse. You should hate rape. You should hate people unwillingly living in poverty. You should hate disease. The list could go on and on.

I also know conservatives do this as well. You won’t find me doing it. Hate is a word that describes something real, but I don’t use it as much as others do. I could on my own personal opinions of something, but I don’t generally express them.

Tomorrow, I plan on looking at an accusation of hate and see if it holds up.

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

Book Plunge: Paul Behaving Badly

What do I think of Randy Richards’s and Brandon O’Brien’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Paul can be a very polarizing figure today. Some Christians have the idea that Jesus is really awesome (And they’re right), but we don’t know about that Paul guy. He wasn’t even one of the original twelve. He didn’t meet Jesus in person. Why should we listen to him? Some skeptics will claim that it was Paul who really invented Christianity and took the good message of Jesus and turned Him into a deity and lost sight of His message.

For those of us who do like Paul, we do have to admit there can be difficulties. As the authors ask “Was Paul a jerk?” Sometimes, it looks like he was. They bring this up in a number of areas. First, the general question of if he was a jerk. Then they ask if he was a killjoy, a racist, a supporter of slavery, a chauvinist, a homophobe, a hypocrite, and finally a twister of Scripture.

Each chapter starts with the charges against Paul and they do bring forward an excellent case. You can look at the claims and if you are not familiar with the debates it is easy to ask “How is Paul going to get out of this one?” The authors also grant that Paul is not one behaving according to 21st century Western standards, but he was still just as much behaving badly to his own culture as he was just as radical to them. Paul is kind of in an in-between spot sometimes. Many times he’ll push the envelope further and leave it to us to keep pushing it. The question is are we going to do that.

Many of these questions need to be addressed for the sake of many people you will encounter who raise these objections. (Why didn’t Paul just demand the¬†immediate release of slaves?) I enjoyed particularly the chapter on Paul being a killjoy. O’Brien gives his story in this one on how anything wasn’t to be done because we are to abstain from the appearance of evil so let’s make sure we all go see only G-rated movies and are teetotallers. (While I personally abstain from alcoholic beverages, I don’t condemn those who drink and control their alcohol.)

Some insights I thought were interesting and added perspective. Why did Paul seem to take contradictory stances on meat offered to idols? Why did he have Timothy circumcised when Timothy was from the area of Galatia and Paul had made it clear that if you let yourself be circumcised, then you are denying the Gospel. (If you want the answers to those questions, you know what you need to do.)

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more on the honor and shame aspect of the culture of the time. There is some touching on this, such as talk also about the client/patron system, but a quick refresher would have been good for those who don’t know it. Of course, I definitely recommend that anyone pick up their excellent book¬†Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes.

This book is a great blessing that we need today. Paul, like I said, is one of the most controversial figures even among Christians. To deal with his critics and to help those who would like to support him, you need to read this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters