Is there a problem with being nice? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
A follower of the blog commented recently wanting to get my thoughts in a blog on political correctness. I mainly want to look at the ways it affects us as Christians. Is there a danger in playing along with the whole song and dance of our culture and what does it say about our culture?
I have been of the opinion for a long time that we are making ourselves into a nation of victims. This is not to say that victimization never happens. It does. The problem with this victim culture is that we hold everyone else responsible for our own personal decisions. We also hold them responsible for our feelings.
Thus, if someone writes something criticizing Muhammad and Muslims get upset, it is not the fault of the Muslims. It is the fault of the person who did the criticism. Now does this mean that some forms of criticism are not crossing a line? No. It does mean that all criticism is not ipso facto wrong. To say they are is to get us closer to the thought police.
From a Christian perspective, I see insulting remarks to Jesus on a regular basis. There are actions we can all take when things like this happen. One can boycott an industry if they want to. That’s fine. One can give support to opposing industries or ones that support one’s own belief. That’s fine. The method we have now more often is to accuse the people who insult instead of the worst crime someone can be guilty of. “Intolerance!”
Tolerance has become a code word to identify the greatest virtue of all supposedly. It no longer just means something along the traditional meaning, such as that everyone has a right to their own opinion. It means that you are not allowed to disagree with anyone else’s opinion. If you dare say the Muslim is wrong, you are intolerant. If you say a woman should not get an abortion, you are intolerant. If you question the homosexual lifestyle, you are intolerant. If you dare say Jesus is the only way to Heaven, you are intolerant.
When this happens, something is lost sight of. That would be the argument. Suppose someone thinks that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. I don’t think he’s intolerant for saying that. He could be in how he presents it and how he deals with opposition, but that is his view. He has all right to hold it. It is also up to him to give the reasons why he holds that view and I am then allowed to look at that view and critique those reasons.
When the tolerance card is played, we get away from objective discussions, such as the facts of the matter, and move towards subjective ideas, such as how someone feels. I am not responsible for how someone else feels. I am a happily married man, but I cannot control how my wife feels. After all, wouldn’t a lot of my fellow men live differently if we could control how our wives feel? Wouldn’t a lot of women live differently if they could do the same with their husbands?
There is only one person responsible for how you feel.
If you want to know who that is, go look in the mirror.
Now other people can be catalysts in getting you to think a certain way producing a feeling, but the feeling is dependent on you. You can get control of your mind. You can get control of your emotions. Is this an easy skill? No. I wouldn’t even claim to have it mastered in my own life. It’s better than being a victim.
After all, how many of us want to live our lives in surrender to what other people think? How many of us would want our feelings to be dependent on the surrounding culture? Alas, this is exactly what we have. We are not allowed to do or say anything that might offend someone since that could “hurt their feelings.”
Note also, the only exception to this is evangelical Christians. You can do whatever you want to them.
Believe it or not, there are worse things than being offended. Believe it or not, you can actually bounce back from offenses done to you by others. The more you live your life as a victim, the more you are giving them power. That’s something that concerns me about bullying groups. We should stop bullying, but the way to do this is to focus on having the actions of bullies be of no effect since people know who they are.
As it stands, there can be no dialogue in the public square as long as we are constantly worried about offending someone. It’s even nowadays seen as a refutation of an argument to say “That offends me.” How many times have I read someone say that the idea of people going to Hell is offensive. Okay. So what? That doesn’t make it false. Truth does not have to and rarely will line up with your personal tastes. The first question to ask about a claim is not “Does it offend me?” but “Is it true?” If it’s not true, so what if it offends you? If it’s true, then so what again? You have to deal with it.
I don’t know how many times in the debate on marriage I’ve been just told “You’re a bigot!” over and over. It seems unthinkable to people that there could be reasons that are actually worth discussing. Fortunately, I know some people on the other side who can have discussions. Instead, I’m too often told I’m a homophobic bigot and see the arguments that are given don’t even touch my reasoning.
For Christians, my advice is to stop being doormats. First off, don’t be living in fear of offending someone. If Christ had lived a nice and friendly life, chances are he wouldn’t have been crucified. Jesus was an offense. Paul was an offense. Christianity itself is an offense. Expect to offend people. That doesn’t mean everything is fair game, but it does mean that you will offend people. Deal with it.
Next, if you want people to cease being victims, cease being them yourselves. Too often, we have played the persecution card all too easily. If we want to see real persecution, we need to go to China and Sudan and see what happens to Christians over there. We’ve got it good here. We consider it persecution when someone makes fun of us. That’s bothersome, yes, but nowhere near the level of real persecution.
To do this, we must not look at ourselves and how we are, but look to Christ and who He is. We must place our whole identity in Him, something we will spend the rest of our lives learning. It is also an example of why knowledge is so essential. We MUST know who Jesus is and this goes beyond saying “He’s Lord and God and Messiah.” We must know Him as He has revealed Himself. We must know His personality and learn to walk in like manner.
We cannot force the world to be anyway, but we can influence. They cannot force us either. Just because they play the tune, we are not obligated to dance to it.
Tags: political correctness