Friday, October 08, 2010

Random Question

... Okay, less than random if you're me. And if you were following my Facebook activity today.

One of my friends (who's quite clever and hilarious) had posted a video about how the Patriot Guard Riders deal with the Westboro Baptist Church.
I think it's pretty brilliant.

It's not my favorite. That would be how San Franciscans handled the matter when the WBC came to protest a production of Fiddler on the Roof.

In the comments about the video that my friend, K, posted, one of his friends remarked that the WBC was a bunch of Christian nutbags.


This was my response:
Not to sound pedantic, but wouldn't referring to this group (the WBC) as Christian infer that they follow and practice the teachings of Christ? Like, say, "turn the other cheek," "love one another," "do not judge," "do unto others as ye would have them do unto you," etc?

Because, honestly, I cannot consider these people Christians when their behavior is as demonstrated, considering the whole "by their fruits ye shall know them."
In my opinion, preaching hate and intolerance goes against Christ's teachings.

Put another way, (from "Shindig" in Firefly, in regards to another character)
Sir Warwick Harrow: I know him, and I think he's a psychotic lowlife.
Mal: And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community.

That might just be me. *shrugs*

Truly, I'm just waiting for the day when the IRS rescinds the WBC's tax-exempt status. *cue evil laughter* (Yes, I need to be more charitable. I know.)

And K mentioned:
Stimulating thoughts, all! I believe Gandhi summed it up well with regard to these hate groups wrapping themselves in a "Christian" mantle when he observed how "much of what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount."

And the other guy said:
Allanna anyone who calls themselves a Christian is one no matter how far they fall short of Christ's teachings. Joseph Kony and Desmond Tutu are equally Christian. Being a member of one or another religion tells you nothing about how moral an individual of this or that faith is.

And ... well ... is that really correct? I mean ... is just calling oneself a Christian all it takes to be a Christian?

I mean, to be a Christian, doesn't one have to take upon themselves the name of Christ? To actually learn and follow His teachings? Or is it really enough to just wake up and say, "I'm a Christian," and then go out and do whatever one wants?

My first reaction is that if I decide to call my cat a duck, she's still not going to start swimming and quacking.

Am I being very uncharitable in this?


Maybe it's because of all that Latter-Day Saints have to deal with ... because we're Mormons, people from other religions/denominations tell us that we're not Christians.

However, according to Wikipedia, a Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, that the broad definition is anyone who sincerely believes him/herself to be a Christian.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that one only has to profess a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

... So, I suppose I'm really asking if one honestly and truly believes that he or she believes that he or she is a Christian, wouldn't they ... you know ... try to follow and live His teachings?

I'm not asking about anything except what teachings are written in the New Testament. You know, things like:

  • Don't judge others (Matther 7:1-2)
  • The Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have others do to you." (Matthew 7:12)
  • Be an example to others (Matthew 5:14-16)
  • Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-40)
  • Forgive others and God will forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • Love your enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)
I'm not saying that people who don't practice these commandments (or any others) PERFECTLY aren't really Christians.
All I'm asking is ... well, if you really believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, that He is the one who makes salvation possible; that He is the way, the truth, and the light ... wouldn't you want to try to follow what he's asked?

Last I checked, He never said anything about HATING people.
Even the saying of "hate the sin, love the sinner" was never preached by Jesus Christ. (I had to look it up. It actually was in the teachings of St. Augustine, in The City of God.)

(Although, I like to think of it more like "Do not condone the sin. Love the person who has made/is making undesirable choices regardless ... because s/he is a precious soul. And it's not your place to judge whether or not s/he is a good person. Because, face it, darling, you're not perfect. Nor do you know everything.")

So ... yeah. That's what I think about that.

Churches are there to facilitate salvation, to support their members and to lead others to what is good ... right?

I know that I am probably being judgmental and narrow-minded ... but I cannot see how picketing with signs that read about how "God Hates [Soldiers/Other Religions/Other Sexualities/YOU]" is at all helpful in spreading Christianity or love.
It just seems like spreading hate ... and hate isn't a godly virtue. It's not any kind of a virtue.

Of course, I could be bitter that Fred Phelps (leader of the WBC) is of the stance that Gordon B. Hinckley (our prophet before Thomas S. Monson) is destined for hellfire because he wasn't harsher towards gay people.
(To that I say, the Lord loves them just as much. He may not approve of their choices -- just like He doesn't approve of fornication or adultery between heterosexual people, but He STILL. LOVES. THEM.)

(And I know that He loves the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, too.)

(And, really, I am sure that they are probably, individually, lovely people with very different ideas of how the world/religion should be run. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. And, even if they prove themselves to be quite repugnant, I will love them, individually, anyway. Because, heaven knows, they NEED some love.) 

Anyone want to share their opinions?
(Make sure to keep it kind. This is a safe place. Differences of opinion are expected. Because that's how we are. We're not all alike. And this is why I'm asking your opinions.  ... You can tell me that I'm WRONG, WRONG, WRONG ... and I'll do my best to not cry. :P ... But be nice to any other commentors. I mean it. ^_^)


Anonymous said...

I can't believe nobody has commented on this yet! This post has stuck with me all week.

This is not a random question, it's a valid one. I'd love to talk about you in person on this topic.

Also, I 100% agree with everything you said. Very well spoken, love.

Allanna said...

I'm glad that you commented.

And not just because you agree with me (which dies help me feel validated). ^_^

Let me know when you want to get together!! ^_^ I'm open!!

Anonymous said...

I was all set to write back to you that, "Hey, how can someone be so liberal in their definition of Christian, when most Christians I talk to don't think we are Christians?" and then you addressed that.

And as far as Christ never teaching the "hate the sin, love the sinner" doctrine: he may not have taught it, but he exampled it. He ate with publicans, conversed with (and healed) lepers, saved the woman caught in adultery, and forgave the harlot.

The thing I would like to do, if the WBC ever comes to my neck of the woods, is to organize a group to sing hymns louder (and in greater numbers) than the WBC can muster. Heck, or even some camp songs. Anyone up for some "Do Your Ears Hang Low"?

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