Monday, December 05, 2005

Porn for Scriptures and the Great Commandment

Boing Boing clued me into an article that talks about how an Atheist Group at University of Texas San Antonio staged a "Porn for Scriptures" event. They had a table for people to exchange their religious scripture for porn.

According to an article by the Athiest Agenda at UTSA, they are "a social gathering for like-minded students who feel very strong about religion and our society." They say, "Our campus is full of religious groups, but there weren't any free-thought or Atheist groups. We felt there should be a group to counter all religious groups. During our meetings we discuss relevant topics concerning the existence of god and teaching others about various religions and how to defend the idea of Atheism better."

The site goes on to say, "This project was partly to have fun on campus before finals, but also proclaim that we find religious text to be smut. To set pornography and religious texts as equal forms of smut."

So what would your response be if you were walking past this table? Would you walk by getting angry at the people behind the table? Would you tell them off? Would you simply call them fools?

News 4 in San Antonio reported that some religious leaders were "angry." Pastor Hawkins is reported to have stated in an interview, "In my opinion, there are no athiest. There are fools. So that would be foolish propaganda."

Ryan Walker, a student who is a apart of the Athiest Agenda group stated, "We consider the Bible to be a very negative force in the history of the world."

What would be the best way to respond to such an event?
Who knows, but for me when I just look at the faces behind the table my heart is sad, not mad. I'm sad that they have come to see the Bible as a negative force in the world. The first thing that I would want to do would be to listen to them. I would want to ask them, "In what ways do you think the Bible has been a negative force in the history of the world?" My first response would be to listen to them and to learn how they have come to such conclusions, and to find out how deep they really felt that was true. I would want to really get to know them as people. I would do my best to put myself in their shoes to find out what events or ideas have shaped their current perceptions.

My guess is that there would be a number of things that I may very well agree with them on. Because if we are honest with Christian history, it hasn't always been very pretty. As a friend of mine said the other day, the church is both messy and a mystery. My guess is that they would probably talk about the crusades, the lack of respect of creation, the hate toward gay people, etc...

So I would probably find out what I agreed with them about and share my same concern. Why would this be my first response? Because Paul calls us to "become all things to all people in order to win them to Christ." To the atheists we are called to be an athiest, so that they might better see Christ.

In my personal experience, most people I meet don't reject the Christ (or God) that is actually presented in the scripture, but rather a wrong charaterization of Christ, often propounded by Christians themselves. After taking a long time to listen and really understand, then depending on the sense of the Spirit and their desire to dialogue, I might talk about the difference between the true Christ and a wrong characterization of Christ, by talking about Athiest and the often wrong characterizations that people have of them.

I think that if Christ was willing to lay his life down for athiests then I could at least do my best to love them and help them felt heard. For in my experience people aren't moved to understanding by our anger or arguments but by our love and respect. Responding in love may provoke them to ask "Why aren't you angry like the other religious people?" And if they wanted to know, I would share with them why. I think our basic job description is to love people until they ask us why. Isn't that what the great commandment all about?


1 Comments:

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Ariel said...

I appreciate your response, and agree. The incoherency on this event's surface reveals a more troubling incoherency in the soul. Sorrow and concern, not anger, is a fitting rejoinder to such confusion.

 

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