Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm So Confused

Why have the remarks of one reality TV star become a media circus, with millions of people reacting and thousands of columns and blog posts devoted to it?  I'm not even remotely a fan of the show, and know next to nothing about it, but I stumbled across an episode back in August when I was in Toronto.  I've seen maybe as much as 15 minutes of it.    

Goober over at Nothing About Everything has a good piece on this, including direct quotes of what Robertson said.  I've read Phil's remarks and he repeatedly says stuff like "but that's just me".  I don't see a whiff of him personally hating people or advocating hate and Goober reaches the same conclusion.   Yet acres of print (including millions of characters online) have been devoted to it, and the amount of butt hurt is epic.  To borrow from Goober:
Notice how he says homosexuality is a sin, and then lists other sins, including bestiality, and the homosexual movement says “ZoMG! He just compared homosexuality to bestiality!” but they totally miss out on the entire message.  By that metric, he compared adultery to bestiality.  Or drunkenness.  Or theft.  Because all he did was list off a bunch of sins, and called them all sin.  He didn’t compare homosexuality to bestiality, and to make that claim is specious at best, and downright dishonest at worst; which is  sin, just like bestiality…  ZoMG!  Now I’M doing it!  I just compared dishonesty to bestiality! 

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.  Anyone who isn’t an idiot can see that all I did was say that they are both sins.  So that argument for making it hateful falls flat.
As I've said many times (even in this space, I think): is homosexuality a sin?  Absolutely; but so is cheating on your taxes, or weighing out a sale with a thumb on the scale.  None of them is worse than any other.  Something that annoys me no end is people getting all upset about a homosexual teacher but not that Mrs. Crabapple and the (also married) Coach DeFense are fooling around on the side.  Phil Robertson specifically mentioned this, "sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men", so he specifically said heterosexual people fooling around are sinning too, which is even more evidence it wasn't a hateful tirade against gays. 

It seems to me the logical problem the groups freaking out are having is saying since behavior A = sin and behavior B = sin, therefore A=B.  I think the better analogy isn't thinking algebra, it's set theory.  Set theory says A is an element of S, and B is an element of S, but nothing about how else A and B relate to each other.  They're not the same, they just belong to the same set; the same class of things - behaviors, in this case. 

But even that avoids the biggest confusion.  The thing I really just don't get is that if people don't believe the Bible is really true or that "the Kingdom of Heaven" exists, why do they get upset when someone tells them a book they don't believe says they can't get something they don't believe exists?  Why does it even matter to them?  If they don't believe the Bible is true, then there's no such thing as sin; so why would being labeled "a sinner" bother them?  With the amount of bacon I eat, I'm sure Muslims think I'm a sinner.  Can't say that bothers me even a little bit; not even a nano bit. 

I personally don't know more than one or two words from the Harry Potter universe, but I sure wouldn't get upset if someone totally wrapped up in Harry Potter told me if I did something wrong, I couldn't get into Hogwarts.  Maybe that's a weak analogy, but non-believers getting upset when a Christian tells them what the Bible says makes zero sense to me.

Consider two situations.  In the first, a friend starts telling you about a new restaurant they've been to or maybe a new hobby they've picked up or some other new thing they've recently discovered that they really enjoyed and they got a lot of happiness out of.  Chances are that whether you thought it sounded good or not, you'd be polite and thank them and then either let it drop or go look into it.  In the second situation a friend tells you about a new church they've been to, or perhaps a new pastor/teacher they've heard that they really enjoyed and they got a lot of happiness out of.  In the second case, way too many people (most?) react completely differently, yet the motivation of the friend is the same in both cases.  They found something they really enjoyed and that they got a lot of happiness from and they're sharing it with you because they like you and want you to have the same enjoyment they're having.

Now, I can tell you the scriptural way to explain the difference in reactions - that one recommendation from the friend is politely accepted while the other is angrily rejected - is that the Holy Spirit is "convicting you" - telling you that there is a God: He's right and you're not.  If you don't believe that explanation, if you think I'm nuts for suggesting it, why should you be offended in the least?  If you don't believe there is a Holy Spirit, no one can be telling you that except yourself.  If you're talking to yourself, I guess they say that's not troublesome as long as you don't argue with yourself.  And lose those arguments.

Breaking Change:  I see A&E just announced they will resume Duck Dynasty with Phil and the full family.  I'm sure that will suck up another few barrels of ink.


  1. One reason they get upset is that all too often people get it in their heads to do God's job for him.

  2. " I'm sure that will suck up another few barrels of ink."

    Haven't mentioned it even obliquely in nine days. (Just checked.) Not really intending to.

    The people who say they aren't spun up about it sure still seem spun up about it, though.