Posts Tagged Human rights
When I was much younger I knew it all, or at least I thought I did. I took all the classes and read all the books I needed to form the most infamous weapon ever to be used against mankind, the opinion. It was like a logic puzzle, all I had to do was find the right ways to shape the right scriptures and support the right views to make myself feel right (read superior). There wasn’t a subject I wouldn’t tackle because I had all the information I needed in the bible. It was simply a matter of how I used it. I cant claim I was alone in doing this or even that I was the best. I was taught well by many before me but I was quite good at it. If an argument against God came my way it had to go through both barrels of my baseball bat theology (I know I mixed my metaphors but it made about as much sense and some of the arguments I would use). It is almost as if the book itself was a cacophony of magic spells that I just needed to decipher to defeat evil (read anyone who disagreed with me). The world was my battleground and all who disagreed with my God were my target, and frankly my soul has been paying the toll ever since.
This was how “witnessing” was taught and this is why it has become malodorous in today’s world. I am not owning that responsibility but I certainly played my role. So many years later and many miles wiser (hopefully) I am sickened when I see my younger self in people today. How can we ever believe we are honoring the Creator of the universe by dishonoring his creations so entirely? A persons voice or view is an extension of who they are. It may be right at times and wrong at times and somewhere in between at times but it is always part of who they are. Dishonoring that dishonors God.
This happened within the church as well as without and still happens unfortunately. It seems like the epitome of Christian growth is the ability to understand (read control) the text. That then leads to instructing (read control) others within the church body and directing (read control) the church body and where it focuses its attention. All of this happens under the umbrella of being lead by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately I have heard far too many things that he would he not take credit for and he shouldn’t be blamed for either.
The real problem is not so much that this makes us look like arrogant fools (which many times we deserve) but also effectively removes the ability to speak cogently on issues that are truly facing the world. Here is a perfect case in point. Ellen Page recently came out of the closet and announced to the world that she is gay. This brought almost immediate support from many celebrities and thankfully Christian groups have not said anything stupid yet. Here however is the concern. I watched her speech and was genuinely moved by her view and experience when dealing with gender and role expectations and the hypocrisy and atrocities associated with that. Of which the church has historically been part of and I feel the issues she raised are large value points we should address. She said “If we could take just 5 minutes to recognize each others beauty instead of attacking each other for our difference…..ultimately it would save lives”. I think that is brilliant and something the church should spearhead instead of attack. At the same time I couldn’t care less what gender Ellen Page wants to have sex with or couple with. I was never on the short list for that role so my opinion on the fact is irrelevant. (Ellen, if I was and I missed your calls, I have really screwed the pooch on this and am sorry) As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyones opinion on that is relevant beyond her and her partner. I think that this personal choice of hers should be private and not something that should be seen as a badge of courage for proclaiming. Why does sexual choice have anything to do with human rights. The two things are not linked unless we make them so.
Christians however have almost lost the ability to speak on this because we have been the major voice in linking these things. We have abused human rights because of our opinions and now we are seen as the villains instead of the voice of reason. People are far less willing to listen to a view if they don’t understand we respect them for listening and see the beauty in them that God created. Why do we think so negatively about people when God spent so much effort building them for positive things?
If we do not change out tactics, our message is going to be heard less and less and eventually maybe not at all. I am not a pessimist who believes the church will cease to exist, but I do think we are in danger of ceasing to be relevant on the most important topic ever. God loves us and wants us in relationship with him. How can we ever believe that any other message could be more important than that?
My wife and I were buying a digital camera a few years ago at Best Buy. The salesman was very knowledge and answered all of our questions about the camera and what it was capable of doing. We purchased it and took it home and almost immediately found it did not have the majority of features that were promised. We took it back and there was a different salesperson working. We explained what we were told and what features we expected and the salesperson explained this model did not have those, as a matter of fact, the models that did started at twice the price we paid. He asked who helped us and when we told him, he advised that person doesn’t work in the area and should not have told us those things. It was clear to us he was just trying to make a sale. We were lied to.
There is possibly nothing more infuriating than being lied to. It is not an attack on our physical bodies that we can protect against, it is much worse. It is an attack on our minds and center of value. A lie proclaims dominion over you and determines what should and should not be known by you. It tells you that you are not intelligent enough to handle or would not respond well to the truth. It sets you up to be stolen from or have you hurt in other ways. Lies are egregious evil that can hurt worse than weapons. So why do we accept them as part of our daily lives?
You are being lied to.
The information process in our world has a lie factor built into it. It is almost a form of philosophical entropy. We allow ourselves to be lied to regularly and accept it as common course. We even begin to find value in it and establish it as a different truth. We then create a level of social protection around it and defend it as acceptable because it is someone’s version of truth. Human willingness to accept lies is ingrained in our social DNA so we have begun to form rights for practitioners giving them special status. We forget something though that is paramount to the subject.
We are being lied to.
Issues that affect our social constructs are given life by compassion and then petrified by dogma filled with perspective and viewpoints. Some of these views and perspectives are built on foundations that crumble when challenged but are still given credence. Human rights are a perfect example. The concept of natural law and the fairness to all dates back to Aristotle and describes an expectation that equality stems from a genetic level not a social order. This is supported by things such as the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights which states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” I whole heartedly agree and support this along with most of modern culture. The lie however becomes visible when we realize that our modern culture does not really practice this. We remove these rights from an unborn child by redefining them to “fetus”, as if somehow the medical term magically changes these beings to a non human status. In reality we want to support human rights where it is convenient and practical but not at the expense of our current legal rights. The statement is intended to support all human’s rights, the actions however only support some human’s rights. Legal rights are not necessarily human rights, in between them the difference lies.
We are being lied to.
Sexuality is another example. Human sexuality has evolved over the last millennia, not so much is specific practice, but in social understanding. It has walked hand and hand through social evolution from a restricted practice monitored by social mores and customs to the forefront of the civil rights debates. Anthropological studies show the transformation of sexual practice from its roots as a survival mechanism for procreation to a more involved social custom and contract. Alternative sexual practices such as homosexuality are now addressed within the cultural norms and have validity in social settings. The issues quickly cross questions and rather than merely social acceptance, the questions move to individual rights. However, sexuality is not a right, it is a privilege. Whether the intention is for procreation or the intention is for pure pleasure, there are no guarantees because it is not a human rights issue. It is a social contract and not something that can be mandated or regulated. Creating legal rights does not create human rights.
We are being lied to.
Advertising and commercialism are two of the bigger offenders. When you see an ad for a car, you are not given the value involved in the features contained so you can make a decision of personal value verses monetary value. You are given the image of a perfect life with all the rewards and desires a person could seek. None of these things will be in the trunk of the car, but you are sold on the idea they are included. Your wisdom and intelligence are questioned if you do not purchase certain brands and your chance of finding the right mate get less if you don’t where the right cologne.
We are being lied to.
What would happen if we stopped listening to the lies, and started telling and expecting the truth? What would our society look like if we were honest with people about their sexual and moral choices? What would our economy look like if we stopped buying the dream and purchased items based upon actual value?
Are you tired of being lied to?
Christianity is based on the honest reaction of a God telling his people they did not pass muster and needed a scapegoat to take his wrath. He then provided his son as that scapegoat. Honestly, this makes little sense to me. I don’t see how that God can or needs to require this type of sacrifice. I do however see I am not being lied to. He is not selling me his brand or trying to prove his point and he never asked me to sign off on his plan. He is being utterly clear. I think that is where the confusion exists. We are expecting a lie and instead are told what we need to do. I for one can accept not understanding far easier than I can accept being lied to. I can accept a hard truth much easier than a gentle lie.
Stop being lied to, demand truth. Who knows, maybe the world will change one last time.