God is a touchy subject. We often discretely avoid it in polite (or politically correct) conversation.
But in today’s current culture war, God and religion are both appropriate, even necessary points of conversation. They inform countless Americans’ view of the world—to disregard their religious perspectives would be foolish.
And, as this PragerU video expertly points out, God is far from dead. Indeed, when you examine the arguments, it might seem that it’s atheism that’s in trouble.
Still, most religious folks feel like they’re on the wrong side of the fence. Certain religious and biblical convictions aren’t popular in today’s social climate—belief in traditional marriage, in two genders, pro-life, etc. Although these principles stem from an honest interpretation of the Bible, our secular society often condemns religious folks as insensitive, discriminatory, or even downright hateful.
And while organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church perpetuate this false narrative, the reality is that the vast majority of Christians and other religious Americans AREN’T hateful bigots. Simply, holding the firm religious conviction that homosexuality is a sin doesn’t empirically make you a gay-hating homophobe.
Robert George (McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions) offered some interesting comments about this situation. He wrote back in 2014, but his words are more than applicable today. Regardless of your religious persuasion (or lack thereof) they provide an interesting perspective—an interesting approach—to the religious vs. secular debate in modern America. He writes:
“Powerful forces tell us that our defeat in the causes of marriage and human life are inevitable. They warn us that we are on the ‘wrong side of history.’ They insist that we will be judged by future generations the way we today judge those who championed racial injustice in the Jim Crow south.”
“But history does not have sides. It is an impersonal and contingent sequence of events, events that are determined in decisive ways by human deliberation, judgment, choice, and action. The future of marriage and of countless human lives can and will be determined by our judgments and choices — our willingness or unwillingness to bear faithful witness, our acts of courage or cowardice. Nor is history, or future generations, a judge invested with god-like powers to decide, much less dictate, who was right and who was wrong. The idea of a ‘judgment of history’ is secularism’s vain, meaningless, hopeless, and pathetic attempt to devise a substitute for the final judgment of Almighty God. History is not God. God is God. History is not our judge. God is our judge.”
George’s words ring true: history truly never ‘takes sides.’ It’s simply a series of past events that people interpret. Because people inevitably carry their own biases and viewpoints, our interpretations of history will thus be inherently and unavoidably subjective.
And so we ought not to so hastily condemn certain religious perspectives that seemingly fall on the ‘wrong side’ of history. Instead, we ought to seek to understand how and why people come to believe what they believe. Such an understanding doesn’t always lead to agreement, but will inevitably lead to empathy, compassion, and the ability to coexist in an increasingly polarized society.
(originally published on AllRight Media)