Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A sad interpretation of love

A link to an interview between Christian apologist Ray “banana-man” comfort and an atheist blogger:

Ray asserts in the interview that all he has shown atheists is love, and has received hatred in return.

If what Ray show’s atheists is his definition of “love”, it is a sad indictment of his moral understanding.

It seems to me that Christians who think they are showing “love” are quite often showing judgment, patronization and general trashing of others’ viewpoints (and quite often people's deepest understandings of themselves). Quite often they add into this veiled threats (disguised as “it’s not me saying it, it’s God, I’m just warning you”), and that cop-out of all cop-outs, “we love the sinner but hate the sin”. Perhaps the reasons for Christians seeing these behaviours as “loving” are because they have been indoctrinated into thinking that they have a divine right and responsibility to be morally superior and ram their beliefs down everyone’s throat.

However, these behaviours are not loving, and are not morally acceptable.

And the results are all too often tragic.

I was reading the other day a forum that I stumbled on through a link, run for and by Christians. (No, I didn’t comment on it – it’s not my place – what they say to each other within their community is their business). But a couple of the comments shocked and dismayed me, and fit well with this discussion. They were made by people thinking they were acting “lovingly” but completely misunderstanding the damage that their abhorrent actions were doing.

The first was by a Christian girl complaining that she was being discriminated against because of her faith, having been expelled from her school. Her expulsion followed from her finding out that a girl in her class was wiccan. The young Christian Lass told the wiccan girl that she had better repent of her evil ways or wind up in Hell, and was promptly dragged before the principal, who let her know that that kind of behavior wasn’t acceptable and an apology was required. Incensed at being forced to apologise to this pagan witch (and stating that she didn’t mean the apology), said follower of Jesus placed in the other girls locker tracts on how Wicca leads to “murder, rape and other horrible things because it lets the devil get inside of you”, along with a note saying that the girl was going to hell.

The poor misguided indoctrinated child was then shocked and dismayed when the police showed up and the school expelled her for harassment. I say poor misguided child because she was obviously not able to recognise due to what she had always been told to believe and not question, that her actions were in no way loving, and such actions are seen by those to whom they are directed as intimidating, judgmental and hateful.

The second example is much sadder.

A mother writes that her son had been depressed and withdrawn, and was seeing a therapist. Eventually he came to her to let her know that he was gay, and that he had been keeping it inside, thus affecting his mental health, due to fear that she would not understand.

The mother responded with what she obviously thought was the classic “love the sinner hate the sin” response. Something to the effect that she loved him and God loved him, but his feelings were evil in God’s sight, and that he needed to pray about it or be celibate for his entire life. The boy, understandably, burst into tears and said that he knew she would not understand. The woman states that she can’t see what she did wrong. She went to see her son’s therapist, and was outraged that he told her that her boy’s sexual orientation was not something he could change, and that she needed to accept and support him, so she pulled him out of therapy. She finishes her story by asking if it is too late for her to “save” her son, but the post then goes on with the tragic epilogue.

In the following months, the boy ended his life.

If this is a person’s definition of love, then their definition is morally bankrupt in the highest degree.

I have had these conversations with members of my fundamentalist Christian family, with regards to their attitudes towards homosexuality that I can see hurting people that are dear to me who are gay. It seems that my family are unable to comprehend the damage that these twisted views of love are doing, based on the close minded understanding that an absolute morality, as defined by their version of religion, and then wonder why the rest of the world does not take their moral proclamations seriously.