I happened across the blog Militant Chrisitianity which, as you can tell from the name, comes from a somewhat extreme evangelical viewpoint.
Take, for instance, a post on that blog entitled “We Cannot Coexist“. I’ve spoken about how divisive and exclusive religious belief can be, and this is a prime example.
However, the main point I’d like to make here is how examples of unkind and immoral behavior in the Bible are sometimes used to justify the same sort of behavior in its readers.
In the above-mentioned post, the author provides us with a perfect summary of this theme. Speaking about his disdain for coexisting with other faiths, he says
On its face, this sounds intolerant but it’s biblical.
That’s right, folks. As long as it’s biblical, it’s OK.
From the secular perspective, this is obviously an horrific prospect: the Bible, being a relic of the morally unenlightened past, is hardly the most sensible choice of ethical guidance in the 21st century.
The intolerance expressed at Militant Christianity stems, I think, from a failure of empathy. If the author of that blog were able to place himself in the shoes of a Buddhist, say, or a Muslim, or even an atheist, he would see that the conviction of these people’s beliefs is just as strong as his. And they, too, consider themselves to have good reasons for believing what they do. What gives him the right to deny them the same expression of their convictions that he himself enjoys?
Instead of intolerance, then, we should be celebrating religious and ethnic diversity. It’s what helps to make our country (and others) strong. And while we may not always agree with one other, we can still acknowledge that everyone is entitled to hold (and practice) their own beliefs – it’s a simple matter of respect.
I recoil at the message preached at blogs like Militant Christianity, and I hope this message does not cause anyone harm. But I’m happy to coexist with it.