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Monday, April 30, 2012

Dan Savage, The Bible, And A Call To Action

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The most unsettling thing about evil is its ability to take many forms, some we recognize and some we don't.

In fact, the Scriptures even exhort us to abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22, ESV ).

However, I have found that one thing is characteristic about all forms evil: its inherent duty of detracting from the living God.

I want to show you a very short video of evil doing what it does best: turning people against God. 

This is a keynote speaker at a high school journalist conference. Be warned this video contains inappropriate language:




 When I heard about this incident on the news, I was not surprised that the perpetrator was strident atheist, liberal pundit, and "gay rights" activist Dan Savage.

I had long suspected that Savage (who pioneered the anti-bullying "It Gets Better" initiative) was a fake "anti bullying" hack, who only cared about those people who accepted his world-view paradigm, but I was taken aback at the gall and hubris of his evisceration of the Bible, given the fact that only a fool would assume that there would be no Bible-believing Christians in the audience.

Remember this was at the National High School Journalist Conference, not an American Atheist's Convention or a bar, where such sentiments would be expected.

Dan Savage knew that there would be Christians in attendance, he simply didn't care.

Listen to how Dan justifies his invective by saying "as a someone who's on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible...".

In my opinion, what Dan lacks in charity and decency, he certainly makes up for in consistency, for I have seldom heard an outspoken liberal who didn't consider himself a victim in some way.

I do want to quickly note a certain part of the video that made me sit up a little straighter.

If you weren't aware, the people in the video walking out of the conference were Christians who felt that Savage's comments were inappropriate.

First, a lone girl in the view of the camera walked out.

Then a brother and sister left .

After that, a large of group of teens (and what looked like an adult) followed lastly by a young black woman, also left the room.

They were respectful and humble, quietly exiting the auditorium.

In other words, they were a model of Christ and the antithesis of fundamentalist atheism.

Some people, including Dan, decried the students for getting up and leaving, rather than sitting trough his diatribe, so let's get a couple things straight:

 This was not a debate, and there would be no chance for a rebuttal by any Christian in attendance.

The dissenters would have had to sit through and listen to Dan's commentary on the Bible for however long he felt like going on, all the while having their faith assaulted with cuss words and slander without any chance to rebut his claims, or offer an alternative viewpoint.

Those who walked out were not expressing cowardice, but were making a bold statement that they believe in the Bible and Dan's words were neither true or appropriate.

To be honest, I like to think that there were non-Christians who left along with their believing friends, understanding that just because the recipients of bullying are Christians doesn't make the bullying okay.

Heaven knows that not all atheists, liberals, or homosexuals are like Dan Savage.

But the question for all Christians in the U.S, is what does Dan Savage represent and what should be our response to him and other like him.

It seems to me that for at least the past 5 or 6 year since the advent of the "New Atheists", we are seeing more atheists like Dan who, rather than constructing well-thought out arguments against theism (like many of their past atheists counterparts did), have decided that it is much easier to bias a person against religion and God by appealing to emotions, purporting themselves at the intelligentsia among us, and caricaturing their opponents arguments.

As you can see from the whoops and cheers of the other teens in attendance, this strategy can be very effective.

So if Dan Savage represents a more militant and ruthless type of atheism, what does that mean to the average Christian sitting at home?

What should be our response?

We Must Love-

I had to rewrite this blog post several times because I felt like I was meeting Dan Savage at his level with unwarranted attacks and a hostile spirit.

That is not how Christians wage war. (2 Corinthians 2:3-5)

When we are insulted, we love; when we are persecuted, we love; when people falsely say all kinds of evil against us because of the Name we bear, we love.  (see Matthew 5:11)

For Scripture says:


"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:45

and

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven". - Matthew 5:43-45

Whenever we respond to attacks, our words should be spoken in love, so that when we speak it will not be our words, but the words of God speaking through us.


 We Must Pray-

Direct personal access to the God of our salvation, is an untapped resource in the life of many Christians.

If you have questions or doubts, pray to God.

If you are frustrated or discouraged, pray to God.

If you are burdened for those who are living without Jesus, pray to God.

The Bible tells us:

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

God, in His goodness, has given us a gift that is prayer, by which we can appeal to him without an intermediary.

We neglect this gift at our own peril


 We Must Study-

Why do you believe in Bible?
 How do you know God exists?

Who was Jesus of Nazareth?

These are the very basics of what a Christian should know, and there are many more questions that we should be able to answer, given a sufficient amount of study in the various areas related to our faith.

To be willfully ignorant of these questions and answers is to give the enemy a great advantage, especially in a society like ours where everyone fancies himself an intellectual.

We have a reasonable faith and it is our job to show the world just that.

If you don't know where to start, check out these resources: 
 http://www.reasonablefaith.org/  http://www.apologetics315.com/
  
We Must Reach Out-

Gone are the days when we can quietly and timidly wait for someone to approach us with questions about our faith. 

We must gird ourselves with prayer, love, and study, so that we can go with confidence and share our faith and hope with others and defend that faith from those who would seek to destroy it.

Read the words of Scripture:
   
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15

In summation, we must understand that people like Dan Savage have come and people like him will go, but the Word of God stands forever.

And it is our job as Christians to give a vigorous defense of God and His word, so that we can remove the veil of surface level objections to God and faith and address the real issues of sin and salvation.

The only question left is will you, like those brave guys and girls in the video, refuse to simply listen to the enemy's attacks, but choose to act?

Will you stand up and be counted?


*(look for a forthcoming blog post critiquing the content of Dan Savage's claims about the Bible.)



8 comments:

  1. Well said. Thanks for sharing Eric!

    - Britain

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  2. Thank you for your bravery Eric! I wish I had as much courage to stand up for my beliefs during all of these crazy politics! This blog is a beacon of hope, and I very much appreciate your thoughtful and dignified way of responding to disagreeing viewpoints. Hate is running rampant these days, and reading your insights was like a breath of fresh air from all the negativity.

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    1. I appreciate that, Shelley! Thanks!

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  3. In a way, the bible often provides all sort of drama for Christians, especially the old testement. I've always thought that Jesus' life was almost hypocritical of the old testement in itself and that is the point - a new way of life, of love and compassion. Without the old, we wouldn't be able to appreciate the wonder of the new. As a modern woman, I cringe at quite a bit of the old testements writings about the place of women. But in the new testement, Jesus relied on women for so much ministry, as equals to his male followers. Anyhoo, I hate when people throw the baby out with the bathwater and base the uselessness of faith and the good news because of a few outdated ideas in the old testement. Totally missing the big picture... thanks for phrasing your reply in a kind way. That doesn't always happen.

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  4. The thing that most bothered me was the lack understanding of how Christians view Leviticus. Saying we "ignore" the inconvenient stuff in totally inaccurate. Dan Savage failed to realize how Jesus changed the rules. He insulted them without understanding them. Which is pretty offensive.

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  5. I agree, Chris. Thanks for stopping by!

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