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Hate & Debate

11/20/08

This piece is a response to a family member who took very strong umbrage at my comments about some religions being wrong, etc. 


Dear ....
        I do not know what your definition of hate might be.  You might spell it out for me.

        My dictionary reads: "extremely hostile toward..."   I want to be hateful toward no human being, none at all.

        But I am against deliberate subversion of public discussion which we see all around us.  I am against a behavior, not a person.  I am against false religion, false politics, false philosophies -- because falsehood destroys the very people who are to be loved.  Without truth, love cannot survive -- just as without love, truth will not survive.  They need each other.  All those issues require honest discussion to sort out, requiring people of different minds to agree to let each other speak their piece, and then look at the differing and conflicting views for the evidence in favor or against.

        If disagreeing with other religions etc is what you mean by hate, then you are far off the mark of honest open discussion, and are using the word "hate" in a very destructive manner.  Are you not disagreeing with me and with my religion?  Are you being hateful toward me?  Hardly.  You have a perfect right to question me -- as I you.  Your use of "hate" becomes self-contradictory, does it not?

        What I suspect you are "tired of" is -- being asked to think clearly about issues vital to all of us, and taking the risk that you just might be wrong.  Yes, I could also be wrong.  But I am willing to take the risk.  If I am wrong, I want to know.   If  you were wrong, would you not want to know?  Are you not willing to take the risk? 

        And if your answer is yes, how would you go about finding out -- other than to have that honest discussion?  The way to find out who is right or wrong is to have precisely that open discussion which you seem to want to call hateful.  Failure to have that discussion will always lead eventually to a totalitarian society.  We in the West are, I think, well on our way.   Where truth is not  honored, there is nothing left but power struggle and mind-control to settle issues.

        We are all one human race -- that is a biological fact.  But we are not "all one people", if that means that we form a united community.  Is that not obvious?  We are killing each other at a furious rate, with no end in sight.  We are not all one religion, and not of all one philosophy, or one politics.  We are severely divided on all those issues.

        Some will say that the reason we are killing each other is that some of us "think we are right" and believe in "objective truth".  No, the reason we are killing each other is that some of us think we are right but are not willing to have an open, mutually respectful discussion about who might be right.

        ALL of us think we are right at some level.  It is either naive or dishonest to say otherwise.  You think you are right about your view of religion, and are challenging me.  That is fine -- IF we can have that good discussion about it, not calling each other names just because we disagree.  Where is the mutual respect on your part?  Where is the love?

        And, yes, God loves us all, but He does not pamper us, and does not put up with falsehood.  Honest love is tough, and asks the highest of us.  God's kind of love.  What is revelation about, if not revealing the truth and condemning falsehood?  As Jesus said, "the truth will set us free..." because  falsehood clearly will not.   There is a prior part of that sentence which people seldom quote.  It is a conditional sentence.  "If... you keep my word, you are truly my disciples, and (then) you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  (John 8:31 ff.)

        Is Jesus hateful for suggesting that people had to be his disciples to know the truth?  That is the consistent message all through the Bible.  You are free to disagree with Jesus or anyone else.  That is God's way of meeting us (as in "Come, let us reason together...").  But objective truth is the foundation of the Biblical and Christian message.  How else can we reason together? 

        It does NOT mean that no Hindu/Muslim/atheist/etc. will make it to heaven.   Read Matthew 24:31 ff. That is how, according to Jesus, the pagan/secular world, along with Christians and Jews, will be judged.  But he will be doing the judging.

        This Sunday, November 23rd, is the last day of the Church year, leading into Advent and the coming of the King (Christmas).  Most of the Christian world this Sunday will be celebrating the feast of Christ the King.  If the Christians are right, there is no King but Jesus.  King of kings and Lord of lords.  Can you think of anyone else you would rather have?  Do you know of any other possible King who would be willing to show up and die for you?

        Keeping open the arena of honest, candid, and mutually respectful (loving) public discussion (beginning right in the family) is The Most Important Issue confronting the world.  If we do that, if we become truth-seekers and truth-speakers at any cost to ourselves, the rest will pretty much take care of itself.  That is exactly what our American Constitution was written to support -- truth-seeking and truth-speaking in government affairs.  I hope you will join in that effort -- to keep wide open that public arena.

Blessings, Earle

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Date Posted -  11/20/2008   -   Date Last Edited - 09/15/2012